Page 4162 - Week 13 - Tuesday, 15 November 2005

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MR PRATT (Brindabella) (5.27): Mr Speaker, I would like to respond to those very kind words by the Chief Minister.

MR SPEAKER: At the same time you should confine your comments, to the maximum extent possible, to the amendments that are before the house.

MR PRATT: Thank you, Mr Speaker. It needs to be said that we are delighted that the Chief Minister has found humility and indeed a human quality to be able to apologise to the opposition. We have waited for four years to see such human qualities come forth. Again, I do thank the Chief Minister for clarifying matters. I stress again that what I did say in my speech—and I will read it again—was: “We do not seek to deny abortion when it is needed.” I repeated that. I also said, “Do not mislead the community by saying that I or the opposition do not support necessary abortion.” Thank you very, very much, Chief Minister; it has taken you all this time to work this out.

Chief Minister, I do not want to make abortion an issue here today, but you certainly do. We are talking about sentencing legislation covering a broad range of issues, but you have sought to make abortion an issue by misleading the community on the opposition’s perspective on how we would like to see better protections put into law to support the pregnant woman and her child. You do not want to see that in there; clearly you have no interest in terms of your duty of care to ensure that sufficient provisions are put into law to protect the pregnant woman and the child. You are ideologically blind sighted, and all you can ever do is raise the abortion debate.

MR SPEAKER: Come back to the amendments before the house.

MR PRATT: Thank you, Mr Speaker. I just wanted to clarify the Chief Minister’s motives and his attitudes. For the record, let us get that down pat. Thank you.

MR STEFANIAK (Ginninderra) (5.29): I wish people would read amendments properly, particularly Dr Foskey and the Chief Minister. Dr Foskey, in her speech in relation to this, was far more rational than the Chief Minister. She did, however, misread, as did the Chief Minister of course—he has a habit of doing this—amendment No 5, which basically encapsulates remorse and the ability of a defendant to make reparation. Quite clearly, it is not dependent on some type of reparation.

There are the key words “in any other way”. That does not mean necessarily anything to do with reparation. But it does mean some tangible action to demonstrate remorse to a court. I stress that to members. That has got nothing to do with any monetary reparation or anything like that; it is just demonstrating to a court that there is some genuineness, there is something tangible to indicate the genuineness of remorse, because remorse is very, very important in terms of sentencing and in terms of bringing to a close injuries done to a victim.

The other thing I would mention, apart from the vitriolic speech by the Chief Minister in relation to all these draconian things, supposedly, the opposition is doing, is that in amendment 11 the court may have regard to any other matter the court considers appropriate. What we are doing here with these amendments is simply saying that some of these are not necessarily matters that the court must take into account, but a court will

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