Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 08 Hansard (Wednesday, 29 June 2005) . . Page.. 2435 ..
Mrs Burke: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: I am sorry; I am getting very distracted by the government members. They should give Mr Pratt the courtesy to wrap up. Discipline, Ms MacDonald, discipline.
MR SPEAKER: Order! Mr Pratt has the floor.
MR PRATT: Thank you, Mr Speaker, as I was saying, the 10 March 2004 announcement by the Chief Minister relative to the question of protection of the unborn, said:
… I will discuss with my department whether we might advance chapter 5 ahead of the other timetabled introductions of chapters of the model criminal code, to deal with the aggravation of assault offences as a result of the impact of an assault on a woman who is pregnant.
He said that on 10 March 2004. That was going to be an advancement of other initiatives being looked at. Fifteen months later the Chief Minister is here talking about it again today. Christmas might come!
Mrs Dunne: And hell might freeze over.
MR PRATT: That is right. The Chief Minister also talked about a human rights bill—a human rights bill that protects the rights of the woman. I do not even know why that was raised in relation to this issue. We have gone to great pains—and if he reads the legislation, logically he will understand—to stress that there is no separation out between the unborn and the mother; nor is there any impact on the mothers’ rights. Again, Chief Minister, I say to you, “What the hell is the worth of a human rights bull—
Opposition members interjecting—
MR PRATT: Sorry, that was a Freudian slip—a human rights bill that does not identify and determine the rights of the unborn, relative to the rights of the mother?” A human rights bill that does not identify and determine that is simply not worth the paper it is written on. But then again the Human Rights Bill probably is not anyway.
The new amendments to the Criminal Code are welcome but, as I say, Chief Minister, they have been a long time coming. It is three years now since those issues were raised. What about this issue that the Chief Minister has raised about the legal entity. The creation of a legal entity for the unborn is not an attempt, through some godlike intervention, as you would probably infer, to create a new type of being or to separate out the unborn from the mother. That assertion by the Chief Minister is too colourful to mention. Perhaps it exposes a certain sensitivity for defending his ideology at any cost. I would like to stress again that the creation of a legal entity is simply the development of a legal protection, a legal instrumentality, that allows a fuller and more realistic set of prosecutions of those who would seek to assault the unborn or to recklessly assault a pregnant woman.
If anybody is playing ideology it is the Chief Minister, who, I think, perhaps takes a rigidly narrow approach to the attempts that we are taking to define the unborn. I would like to see the Chief Minister take a broader approach. He has a duty of care. He has