Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 10 Hansard (Wednesday, 27 August 2008) . . Page.. 3808 ..
pretty much any issue around social policy. It is about time that the Leader of the Opposition came down into this chamber and indicated his position on all of those social issues because so far in his brief term as leader he has ducked for cover every time—just like he did on radio this morning. He could not face a bit of tough questioning on the future of his party now that Mr Stefaniak has walked away.
This is yet another example of where the Leader of the Opposition fails to step up to the plate and say what he really stands for. His association with the Moonies and the sorts of values they espouse should be a worry to every Canberran who believes in a free, progressive and tolerant society.
MR PRATT (Brindabella) (5.32): Let me start by saying that the record will show that Mr Barr today has brought into disrepute a number of Christian organisations here and overseas. Let the record show that. Let the record show that in blurring a very important debate about a very important issue, he has taken the opportunity to bring into disrepute a number of Christian organisations across this country and internationally.
I personally do not support the criminalisation of abortion. I do not believe that criminalisation is the answer. Abortions are a sad reality in our society, but they are a reality. Therefore, it is a matter to be dealt with sensibly and sensitively on a case-by-case basis. I, like most people, have no idea about the data on abortions in the ACT because the government runs a closed shop on the issue.
While abortions are necessary, what I feel in my heart is that there are still far too many abortions carried out. Mr Assistant Speaker, are you really serious about reforms? You and your comrades over there are never really serious about reforms. The only thing you are ever concerned about is the consolidation of Labor power built on the concealment of the facts. If you are really serious about reform then you will seek greater transparency in keeping the community informed about what is happening in the ACT with abortions—the number of them, the cases and the demographics involved. Society has a right to know about these matters. They are very important issues. But, of course, driven by your ideology, you conceal these facts.
I present an amendment to the motion, which I now move:
Omit all words after “this Assembly”, substitute:
(1) the issue of abortion has traditionally been a conscience vote for members of all major parties in all Australian jurisdictions;
(2) Members of the Assembly and the community have a range of views on this subject;
(3) regardless of those views, the incidence of abortion in our society is a concern;
(4) the re-introduction of criminal sanctions is not the solution to this problem; and