Page 4154 - Week 13 - Tuesday, 15 November 2005

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Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker, I again stress that Mr Stanhope is simply misleading the ACT community on what the opposition’s position is. He is doing that because he knows that he has put on the table here today inferior legislation in respect of the protection of the pregnant woman and the unborn child. Again, the opposition calls on the Chief Minister to be bigger than his ideology and grasp the legislation that we have put on the table twice in three years. At least he should take the best of it, rebadge it and put it in place. He has failed to show some mettle in respect of this law, as he has failed to provide the protections that we would like to see in place for our ACT police.

MR STANHOPE (Ginninderra—Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for the Environment and Minister for Arts, Heritage and Indigenous Affairs) (4.57): Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker, I just want to apologise to members of the opposition. I did not know and I was not aware that the Liberal Party had agreed to abortion, that they had embraced abortion, as Mr Pratt has just indicated. I did not know that was the position of the Liberal Party and I apologise to the opposition that I have been misrepresenting them. Mr Pratt has just informed us that the opposition, the Liberal Party, now embrace and endorse abortion in certain circumstances. I have to say I did not know that, and I apologise to Mr Pratt and to all members of the opposition for having misrepresented their position on abortion.

Mr Pratt—and the transcript, of course, will show this, Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker—has just indicated the Liberal Party’s position. His very words were, “You keep misrepresenting us. The Liberal Party supports abortion in appropriate circumstances.” I did not know that and I apologise to all seven members of the Liberal Party. I thought they were all opposed to abortion. It is news to me, from Mr Pratt’s statement just now, that in fact they all support abortion in appropriate circumstances. So I apologise. I beg your pardons.

MR PRATT (Brindabella) (4.58): Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker, I seek leave to make a further statement.

Leave granted.

MR PRATT: Thank you.

Mr Stanhope: Just accept the apology.

MR PRATT: Thank you very much, Chief Minister. It is the first time in four years that I have heard an apology from you in this place. What a remarkable demonstration! I stress again that the opposition is not against the entitlement of abortion when it is necessary. And that is what I said, Chief Minister.

MR STEFANIAK (Ginninderra) (4.59): Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker, the clause we are dealing with has absolutely nothing to do with the abortion issue. We are referring to a couple of bills that Mr Pratt introduced which, if I recall correctly—and I am sure I do—specifically contained clauses that had absolutely nothing to do with the issue of abortion. My attitude towards abortion is on the public record, and it has not changed, Chief Minister. So there.

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