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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 9 Hansard (21 August) . . Page.. 2596 ..

MR HARGREAVES (continuing):

We have seen the decriminalisation. I am not happy about that, but this seems to be the prevailing opinion of our legislature. So be it.

Now we need to move on, and it is up to us to make sure that we sincerely support every single woman who is faced with this decision. We should have minimum standards for the information they receive. They have a right to receive information to enable them to make a decision. The information should canvass all of the options. We should provide information to partners who might want to continue a loving relationship, so they know what is going on as well.

I do not see what is wrong with that. I do not see that it requires removal from the statute book. I signal, however, that I will not be supporting the amendments that have been put forward. As I said, I believe Ms Gallagher's amendments stand on their own. The things that she has promoted ensure in the best way she knows the emotional and physical welfare of women facing this decision. That is to her credit, and I will back her as long as I draw breath.

I urge members not to remove this legislation from the statute book. Let us shake the panel. Reconstitute it a bit. Get them to put out a publication which sets the minimum standard, so that society says to the practitioners in this particular area that there is a heck of a big difference between putting in a statute minutiae about the axles of a motor vehicle or the height of a tree, which we are quite prepared to do, and providing information about something to do with people's lives.

My reasons for not supporting the repeal of this act centre on the quality of the information being given to women. I do not suggest that it has to be forced on them. I do not suggest that we have to say to practitioners, "You have to give it to them. Otherwise, you will be disbarred, fined or chucked in jail until you rot." I am saying that the information should be available to them. It should be unbiased and comprehensive. I do not believe that the official information being provided meets that test.

The additional information Ms Tucker provided tonight shook the foundations of what I felt was right. If that information were enshrined as the minimum standard, then I would be a happy man. I cannot support this legislation.

Mrs Dunne: I seek leave to speak again, Mr Deputy Speaker.

Leave not granted.

Mr Pratt: I seek leave also to raise another issue.

Leave not granted.

MR DEPUTY SPEAKER: I am in the hands of the Assembly. I am aware of who has spoken and who has not. I have been keeping a checklist. It is up to the Assembly whether or not you are allowed to speak again. Leave has been refused for Mrs Dunne and Mr Pratt.

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