Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 12 Hansard (Thursday, 29 October 2015) . . Page.. 3906 ..
So the effect of Mr Hanson’s amendment, whilst it might be characterised as a balanced approach, is in fact to maintain the status quo. That is the effect of the amendment. It completely undermines the capacity for the bill to do what it is intended to do, which is to say that protests about abortion should not be directed at women accessing an abortion but should be directed here at law makers or staged in other places. That is the intent of the bill. Mr Hanson’s amendment completely guts that capacity from the bill and for that reason Labor government members cannot support the amendment.
MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (5.06): As I indicated in my earlier remarks, I will not be supporting this amendment either. Minister Corbell has just articulated very well the effect of this amendment. As I said earlier, it also opens up an entirely subjective area and really does defeat the intent of the way that I have sought to construct this bill.
MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Deputy Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for Health, Minister for the Environment and Minister for Capital Metro) (5.06): I seek leave to move an amendment circulated in my name which was not circulated according to standing order 178A.
MR CORBELL: I move amendment No 2 circulated in my name [See schedule 1 at page 3944]. This amendment to clause 5 of the bill is to insert a new section 86(2)(aa) to clarify that the minimum distance that can be declared by the minister for a protected area around an approved medical facility is not less than 50 metres. This amendment provides a minimum baseline for the setting of the protected area, which will be enshrined in legislation. However, the protected area can still be increased beyond this minimum prescribed area by a disallowable instrument as provided for in the bill.
The amendment ensures that the exclusion zone cannot be reduced below 50 metres by disallowable instrument. In particular, it prevents inappropriate determinations by a minister at some point in the future who may seek to undermine the intent of the bill by prescribing an exclusion zone area of such minimal distance as to make the bill ineffective.
Therefore the government is proposing this amendment to provide that safeguard and surety and the proposal to include a prescribed minimum distance has also been the subject of the advice of the Human Rights Commission, who again has provided advice as to the proportionate impact that such an amendment would have. I commend the amendment to the Assembly.
MR HANSON (Molonglo—Leader of the Opposition) (5.09): This element is a disallowable instrument. I am not sure that this element of the bill is actually necessary. The reality is that it is going to be set by the minister. It is a disallowable instrument. That distance that is set is still subject to essentially the discretion of the Assembly. I am not sure it is necessary.