Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 07 Hansard (Wednesday, 2 August 2017) . . Page.. 2346 ..
He also claimed that his opposition benches reflected the community at large. Certainly all of us here understand the deep commitment that people make to run for this place, and that they are, indeed, elected by the ACT community. But I challenge him to explain why what appear to be half the members of his team do not support women’s sexual and reproductive health. Not only do they not support it, the shadow health minister is not present for this debate, and he stated: “The ACT Opposition Leader has stated that the Canberra Liberals have no policy view on women’s reproductive and sexual health.” They have no policy view.
The shadow minister for health took it upon herself to proactively congratulate, on social media, efforts against decriminalising abortion in New South Wales. She proactively went out to congratulate those people on their votes in their assembly. Mr Coe really needs to reassure the Canberra community—given that it appears that over half of his team do not support women’s sexual and reproductive health; they do not have a policy view; they cannot even confirm that they would support a woman’s right to choose, a woman’s right to access reproductive and sexual health care—that that is not what they would seek to achieve as he offers himself as the alternative Chief Minister of this territory.
It is simply unacceptable that in 2017 the Canberra Liberals do not have a policy view on women’s sexual and reproductive health. We do not know where that ends. I certainly respect, although I vehemently disagree with, their views on terminations. Where does it end? Sexual and reproductive health covers a wide number of accepted publicly funded health services through the Canberra Hospital, through ACT Health and through the vast majority of our primary healthcare providers in the ACT. What else will the Canberra Liberals try to restrict in women’s sexual and reproductive health? There is an urgent need for the Leader of the Opposition and the shadow health minister to clarify that they will not seek to limit women’s reproductive and sexual health in putting themselves forward to the Canberra community as an alternative government.
I thank Ms Cheyne. I thank Ms Berry in particular for drawing attention to what sadly remains something that women and men need to be vigilant about. We still see abortion criminalised by legislatures across the country. We know that women will still want to access these services. In the event that they are criminalised, they become unaffordable, unsafe and detrimental to all women. I support Ms Cheyne’s motion.
MS CHEYNE (Ginninderra) (12.06), in reply: I strongly thank my colleagues the Deputy Chief Minister and Minister for Women, and the Minister for Health for their support, for their absolute commitment to these issues today and for their comments. I also thank the Greens for their support and their ongoing commitment to women’s rights, and particularly women’s sexual and reproductive health rights.
I also thank the opposition for raising a number of issues, and I note Mrs Jones’s work in this area. But, regrettably, I think a number of the issues raised today did not speak directly to the motion. I can only assume that it was an attempt to distract from the important issues at hand. I want to put on the record, to back the Minister for Health,