Page 2434 - Week 08 - Wednesday, 29 June 2005

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That is the Queensland code. We are not going that far. But the legislation we are presenting here today provides different degrees of assault and separates the offences, based on whether the perpetrator had prior knowledge, or ought reasonably to have had the knowledge, that the woman was pregnant or whether the perpetrator had an intent to kill the unborn child.

I have just described the initiatives taken in the New South Wales parliament by a state Labor government. I have just described the law put in place some time ago by a Queensland state Labor government. Why cannot the Chief Minister at least look at those initiatives and take action himself? He has not. All he can do is sit here and call our intent to table this bill some sort of ideological attack.

If I could just refer to a couple of comments made: firstly, Dr Foskey said that this bill does not give the mother as much protection as the unborn child. I do not see how she comes to that point. The argument is that the mother’s protection is already looked after under the current legislation, the Crimes Act. This unborn legislation simply enhances the mother’s protection and her right to carry her child to term. So it builds on the protections that the mother currently has. It does not separate out mother and the unborn.

This is the smoke-and-mirrors comment we get—particularly from the Chief Minister, but not so much from Dr Foskey. She did express a concern. I would like to put her concern to bed so that she could perhaps revisit this issue and take a more constructive approach.

Dr Foskey’s comments about the sensitivity surrounding the abortion question are noted. However, again have a look at the proposed law and you will see the instrumentalities in place to ensure that existing abortion laws and rights and the rights of women are not interfered with by this law. I think there is perhaps too much nervousness about the question of abortion being expressed here today. It is simply being used as an excuse to blockade what is otherwise sensible legislation.

The Chief Minister has talked about the unnecessary debate and the matter being raised purely as an ideological attack. I find the hypocrisy and the irony breathtaking. It is he today who has launched an ideological attack on this piece of legislation, simply because there is an opportunity to launch an ideological attack. The Chief Minister has said that this bill, again, divides mother and child. That is an outrageously negative position to take. Indeed, the opposite is the case. It binds them; it binds the mother and child in terms of the protections to the mother and the protections to the unborn.

The Chief Minister has said that he will be introducing new elements to the Criminal Code. He said so in 2002. We have not seen any action taken yet. In fact, let me refer to a comment the Chief Minister made last year. On 10 March 2004, in relation to the Criminal Code and the issues surrounding the protection of the unborn, the Chief Minister said:

I will discuss with my department whether we might advance chapter 5—

Government members interjecting—

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