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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 9 Hansard (21 August) . . Page.. 2620 ..

MR STANHOPE (Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for Health, Minister for Community Affairs and Minister for Women) (10.25): I must respond to that. I think that it is outrageous to suggest that without this amendment Calvary Hospital would be forced to do abortions. I reject that absolutely and I reject that interpretation absolutely. I reject any suggestion that Calvary Hospital would under any circumstances be forced to do abortions. That is an offensive suggestion. It is offensive to suggest that those of us that will not support this amendment are in some way supporting the possibility of Calvary Hospital being required to undertake abortions.

The provision as it currently stands says that no-one is under a duty. You are proposing to introduce the words "or no body or institution", so that it will read, "No-one or no body". There is no difference. There is no suggestion that an institution is not included institutionally in the terms of proposed new section 55E and it is not institutions that perform abortions; it is people. The section is quite clear. No-one-no person, no doctor-is required to carry out or assist in carrying out abortions. This amendment is completely unnecessary. It would not do what you suggest it would do. To suggest, as you will undoubtedly, that those of us that do not support it are in some way supporting the possibility of Calvary being required to carry out abortions is simply wrong.

MS DUNDAS (10.26): As has been stated, we have only had five minutes to look at this amendment; and, not only for that reason but as part of it, I do not believe that I can support the amendment. If I had had time to consider this amendment, I would have checked the Acts Interpretation Act, which I believe would have a broad definition for "no-one" and actually make this amendment redundant.

MS TUCKER (10.27): I will not be supporting the amendment, either. It is making a farce of the whole process to be having a scribbled amendment that I can hardly read and have only three minutes to look at it. I am sorry, this is being incredibly disrespectful of the whole process.

MRS CROSS (10.27): Ms Tucker makes a valid point; it is being done at very short notice. I have to say that I have just been advised that Calvary Hospital is a Catholic hospital. Is that right?

Mr Wood: You have just been advised of it! Where have you been?

MRS CROSS: I do not need a lecture. I am just saying that, if it is a hospital that has a particular doctrine, I do not think that we should force the hospital to do something that goes against its doctrine. I understand everyone's position on this matter, but I think that we have also to be reasonable and fair. I will probably support this amendment.

Question put:

That Mrs Dunne's amendment to proposed section 55E be agreed to.

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