Page 3849 - Week 10 - Wednesday, 27 August 2008

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It is a matter of the greatest importance. What a sensible expose of the position is Mr Pratt’s proposed amendment. Of course, you are not going to vote for it, but you can hardly criticise Mr Pratt for what seems to be a very sensible view. I think most people in the community would say, “Yes, that is fair enough. It recognises that people have different views. It is a sensible position.”

I am not going to say much more, except that I find it very strange that the government has brought on this motion and raised an issue that I thought had probably been put to bed over many, many years in this Assembly. Maybe it has not; maybe it will not be. But I think you are raising it for some weird—maybe crass—political gain, which is not going to work. There have been some extraordinary things said tonight in this debate, especially in relation to Moonies and God knows what. I find those sorts of comments to be somewhat bizarre.

My views have not changed. I reiterate that I do not believe that innocent life should be destroyed. I have known people who have experienced abortion. I have known people who have very strong views either way. I have known people who have been pleased they have gone through with it. I have known people who greatly regretted having an abortion and wished they had had a chance to have a bit more assistance—a bit more counselling, a bit more thought going into it, a bit more help and a bit more time perhaps to really appreciate just how huge the issue is and just what effect it can have.

I think it is ridiculous to try to portray people who do believe in the right to life as mad religious nutters. I think that just shows a great ignorance. It is like portraying people who believe in abortion as dreadful people. That is equally ridiculous. For government members to try to portray people in the Assembly as mad religious nutters I think shows a certain level of ignorance that actually is rather sad. This is an emotive issue; it always has been, but it has been brought up. I would urge members to consider Mr Pratt’s quite reasonable amendment.

MR MULCAHY (Molonglo) (9.41): Mr Speaker, I was impressed by what Mr Stefaniak said just then. I think it was one of the most useful contributions I have heard to the debate. I certainly will be speaking against the motion. My position on life issues is well known. I have not departed from that stance and I think I share that with the previous speaker in that I do believe in the protection of human life. I am not ashamed of that view and if that makes me some kind of a zealot, well, let others make that call.

I have a strong and consistent belief in the sanctity of life. I held that view long before I got into this place. I have had that view on the public record since being elected and have not been ashamed in any way to declare that position. As I said, I believe in the sanctity of life and, for that reason, I also oppose things such as capital punishment and euthanasia. I find it impossible to support anything where we seek to take the life of another individual.

I believe that the self-congratulatory points of this motion really are worthy of opposition. This motion—and I think Mr Stefaniak alluded to this—really is a waste of the Assembly’s time. We are asking staff to sit back here at this hour of the night for what is really a bit of a political stunt. It will not accomplish anything.

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