Page 2789 - Week 09 - Wednesday, 17 August 2005

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… if the child has a mental or physical disability this section does not prevent the recovery of any additional costs associated with rearing or maintaining the child that arise because of the disability.

We move amendments to the common law with great care. Common law, especially the law of torts, has served society well over hundreds of years. We are nonetheless satisfied that this is a public policy imperative, and that we should amend the common law on this occasion. A healthy child is not a commodity; it is a human being. It is, I suggest, a serious indictment of our society that people can even think of healthy children as being in some sense damage or loss. No matter what medical negligence may have been involved in an unwanted birth, no matter how inconvenient parents may consider their own children, there is a profound moral and legal principle at stake here. Once we start allowing the law to entrench the notion that some human beings, just by existence, are an unnecessary burden, we are on a slippery slope.

Mr Speaker, I ask members of the Assembly to follow the lead of the governments of Queensland, New South Wales and South Australia to rectify what I trust all present will agree is a serious anomaly and accept our proposed amendments.

Debate (on motion by Mr Stanhope) adjourned to the next sitting.

Canberra plan

MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella) (10.41): I move:

That this Assembly:

(1) notes the Government’s:

(a) commitment to the future of Canberra through the introduction of the Canberra Plan; and

(b) progress with implementation of the Plan; and

(2) commends the Government for its demonstrated commitment to the future of Canberra.

On 17 February this year I asked the Assembly to note the government’s commitment to the future of Canberra through the introduction of the Canberra plan, as well as the progress made to date in implementing key initiatives. I also asked the Assembly to commend the government for its demonstrated commitment to Canberra’s future.

In the Assembly today, I am pleased to be able to draw members’ attention to the significant progress made towards the major Canberra plan initiatives since its release in March 2003. The purpose of developing the Canberra plan was to guide the growth of the ACT in this generation and beyond, incrementally implementing services and programs to realise the plan’s overall vision that:

Canberra will be recognised throughout the world—not only as a beautiful city, uniquely designed in harmony with its environment, the seat of Australia’s

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