This week, the Queensland Parliament was due to debate two abortion bills that were introduced by the Member for Cairns Rob Pyne.
Today the Bills were withdrawn from the Queensland Parliament and have been referred to the Queensland Law Reform Commission for further advice and analysis. The process and the manner of this legislation, as well as the failure to properly and holistically deal with such an important issue has led to the rightful withdrawal of these Bills.
The first Bill left the entire area of abortion unregulated and this was clearly unsafe and untenable. The second Bill attempts to correct the failures of the first Bill but falls well short, creating further risk and uncertainty without putting an end to ongoing legislative conflict between the Criminal Code and the Health Act.
I have received feedback from those that support both sides of the argument. I have also been contacted by those who believe abortion should be decriminalised but not via these ill-conceived and flawed pieces of legislation
I can only vote on the merits of legislation presented to the Parliament, not on potential for the legislation to improve over time. The most recent Parliamentary Committee found major failings with the new laws that could actually see more women and doctors dragged before the courts. The Committee also made it very clear, that if a woman in Queensland wants or needs an abortion she can obtain one safely through her doctor. Above all else my fundamental view is that abortions should be safe, legal and rare.
As Elected Members of Parliament we get one chance to vote yes or no on a Bill that could help or hinder all Queenslanders. We are tasked with the enormous responsibility to make laws that are sound, enforceable and reflective of community standards. I will continue to take this responsibility extremely seriously and I look forward to reading a well crafted Bill on this important issue.