Bruce Atkinson is speaking at the moment. He very strongly says that Parliament is shirking its responsibility if it did not totally reassess the Menhennitt ruling of 39 years ago. He isn’t necessarily speaking against abortion as such (as he does believe that 24 weeks is far too late), but surely he is right to suggest that Parliament can not simply say “Abortion is legal; we’re only adjusting the law to reflect that” (which is the way some of the pro-bill speakers expressed their position before the tea break), when Parliament (not the courts) is the institution which determines what is legal and what is not in our system of goverment.
He also speaks strongly against this being seen as a “women’s right” issue. He speaks of the male partner’s rights, and above all of the child’s rights.
I will be interested to re-read the whole speach in Hansard in the morning.
Of to watch Packed to the Rafters now. Don’t worry, I am not mixing up my priorities – I am setting the debate on record…
And it is probably making me sicker.
They have just broken for tea after seven speakers, and so far the only one speaking against the bill was John Vogels, Liberal MLC for the Western Victoria Region.
The other speakers, that I can remember, included Candy Broad (Labor), Andrea Coote (Lib), Peter Hall (Nat), Colleen Hartland (Green), Wendy Lovell (Lib) and Martin Pakula (Labor).
The one thing that I will say is that the ancient skill of rhetoric and persuasion seems to be in short supply in today’s political halls. Certainly, although he spoke passionately, Mr Vogels did not speak well. Wendy Lovell was very average. Ms Coote, Mr Pakula and Ms Hartland were strong and passionate. Ms Coote especially showed very good argumentative skills.
They have had a few shots at the Church, and at Archbishop Hart. Ms Coote made a special point of her protestant upbringing which allowed that it was the right of the individual to make ethical decisions without coercion from ecclesiastical or government authority. (Odd that that doesn’t apply to murder or speeding…)
The other thing that is obvious is that strident, rude, obnoxious and terrorist tactics on the part of some of the pro-life lobby have been counter-productive. As we knew they would be.
The debate will start again at 8pm tonight. You can listen in at: http://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/hansard/live/