Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 9 Hansard (21 August) . . Page.. 2603 ..
MR PRATT: Mr Deputy Speaker, if we are proceeding with Ms Gallagher's bill as a separate debate, I will sit down. But, if we are dealing with it cognately, I will speak now. What is your ruling?
MR DEPUTY SPEAKER: You may speak cognately in terms of the principle of the bill, but not the amendments or the detail stage of the bill.
MR PRATT: Thank you, Mr Deputy Speaker, for making that clear. I simply would like to table a letter going to the heart of the issue. I have a letter here from the Midwives and Nurses Ethical Concern-and I am going to table that now-which pretty much points out-
MR DEPUTY SPEAKER: You'll need leave to do that.
MR PRATT: I'm not ready to table it because I'm going to read it first.
MR DEPUTY SPEAKER: Very well.
MR PRATT: Thank you. This particular letter really illustrates why the proposal is flawed, in terms of the protection for medical practitioners which will be withdrawn, should the current legislation be overturned by this new legislation. It goes to the heart of the fact that nurses, midwives, students, counsellors and community officers will not be protected. It is a very fine letter, and I would like to have the professional technical expert voice speaking here rather than a political one for a change.
Ms Dundas: That's what we want as well.
MR PRATT: I thought you might say that. I think this letter eloquently argues the case. Amongst a number of issues that the Midwives and Nurses Ethical Concern points out, it raises this very, very important issue:
That our rights as health professionals to conscientiously object to participating in abortions will be seriously eroded.
It goes on to develop that argument. Mr Deputy Speaker, I will finish there, which no doubt my colleagues opposite will be pleased to hear me say, and I now seek leave to table this document.
MR PRATT: I present the following paper:
Medical Practitioners (Maternal Health) Amendment Bill 2002-Letter from Ana Christina Garufi, Convenor, Midwives & Nurses Ethical Concern to Mr Steve Pratt MLA, dated 31 May 2002.
MR BERRY(9.11), in reply: The first thing with this bill that I think we have to deal with is to discuss its origins. This bill had its origins in a move to block abortions in the ACT. It was eventually watered down through various stages, until it came to be the legislation that I seek to repeal now. The act that I seek to repeal was designed to