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Wednesday, 16 June 2010
Page: 3443

Senator FIELDING (Leader of the Family First Party) (11:30 AM) —by leave—I move amendments (2), (3) and (12) on sheet 6112 revised:

(2)    Clause 6, page 8 (after line 8), after the definition of ABN, insert:

abortion means intentionally causing the termination of a woman’s pregnancy with the consent of the woman by:

              (a)    using an instrument; or

              (b)    using a drug or a combination of drugs; or

              (c)    any other means.

(3)    Clause 6, page 17 (line 16), at the end of the definition of stillborn, add “; but does not include a child whose period of gestation was terminated by abortion”.

(12)  Clause 31, page 41 (after line 9), at the end of the clause, add:

         (6)    Despite subsections (2), (3) and (4), a person is not eligible for parental leave pay for a child on a day if the child:

              (a)    is stillborn following an abortion; or

              (b)    has died before that day following an abortion.

These amendments are to do with the issue of abortion. I know that this is always a difficult topic for discussion, but it is a discussion that needs to be had. These amendments will close any loophole and remove any greyness which currently allows parental leave payments to be paid to someone who has an abortion after 20 weeks. It takes away any greyness. All the assurances that we may have heard before are just talk. We do not need assurances; we need to make sure it is in legislation. These amendments are quite clear. Amendment (2) says: ‘abortion means intentionally causing the termination of a woman’s pregnancy with the consent of the woman’. It is a clear definition that will be written into law and will not be left to someone’s guesswork or to assurances that the minister or the government may give. This makes it clear. It is not an assurance from the minister. This puts into law that people who have an abortion after 20 weeks should not be able to receive money from paid parental leave.

These amendments will close the loophole that is clearly there, which means that it will not entice people. I find it horrific to even think it for a moment, but there may be people out there who want to cheat the system in a horrific way. It is a difficult discussion to have, but I want to make it quite clear that this is about making sure that if there is an abortion post-20 weeks there will be no payment of paid parental leave. I think it is quite a simple thing to put and I think most people would agree with this position. I will leave it for senators to think about as they vote on this issue.