Page 2426 - Week 08 - Wednesday, 29 June 2005
There may be other occasions when that intention is not as clear. There are the proposals put forward by the Chief Minister for aggravated offence. He has been gunna do that for as long as this has been the debate. I hope that we are not going to be holding our breath in October. I hope that in October we will see something.
Mr Seselja: Twenty-five per cent worse.
MRS DUNNE: But it is only going to be 25 per cent worse. When Phillip Nathan King pushed this woman to the ground and repeatedly stomped on her abdomen, if that happened here in the ACT under the Chief Minister’s and attorney’s regime, he would get possibly a 25 to 30 per cent higher sentence because of that, when his intention was clear. It was, in a sense, an unintended consequence, a concomitant consequence, that Kylie Flick was injured. His intention was clear. His intention was to do harm to another person who, quite rightly, as the Chief Minister says, has no legal entity, has no legal rights. Their legal rights, again today in this place, are being trampled on, in the same way as Phillip Nathan King trampled on his unborn baby and killed it.
Everyone in this place is very concerned about not transgressing too much into the abortion debate. I know that members opposite have been running away from this argument for a very long time. They think that, because of what was passed in 2001, we do not need to revisit this.
Mr Seselja: It is never to be discussed again.
MRS DUNNE: It is never to be discussed again. It does not matter what community opinion is, it is scripsi quod scripsi; it is all done; it is all over; and nothing else may be said about it. Really this is the cowardice of the Labor Party, running away from the argument. They are so committed to the idea that we cannot talk about abortion that they cannot countenance that babies in the womb are separate individuals and are worthy of support. The child of Phillip Nathan King and Kylie Flick was a separate individual, recognised by both parents, wanted by one and not by the other.
I have a bit of discomfort with Mr Pratt’s bill because, in a sense, what we are doing is bestowing humanity on a child on the basis of whether or not this child is wanted by the mother. If a child is wanted by the mother, what happens to this child, through this bill, is important; and, if the child is not wanted by the mother, what happens is not important. But what Mr Pratt’s bill does is very important. It addresses the issue. It address the issue brought about in a number of cases. There is the road rage case that brought about the discussion of Byron’s law, and there is this rather heinous crime that we have talked about today.
Mr Stanhope does not really want to address the issue because it would be inconvenient to him. It would be inconvenient that in any way there would be constructed, within the law, the notion—we all know it in our hearts, whether it is convenient to us or not—that when there is an embryo in the womb, whether or not there is a legal case or whether or not it is supported by law, that is a separate individual. The conflicting rights of those individuals are often inconvenient for us. Because things are inconvenient, and it means that we have to make hard decisions, it does not mean that we should shy away from those decisions.