Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Disclaimer: The Parliamentary Library does not warrant the accuracy of closed captions. These are derived automatically from the broadcaster's signal.
RU486 debate under way in Lower House -

View in ParlViewView other Segments

(generated from captions) last three among the Bali nine -

Tan Duc Thanh Nguyen, Si Yi Chen

Tan Duc Thanh Nguyen, Si Yi Chen and Matthew Norman. Geoff Thompson, Lateline. The debate over abortion pill RU486 is under way in the House of Representatives, with a final vote on the future control of the drug expected later this week. The issue is still causing controversy, after a Liberal MP warned the country's abortion rate could lead to Australia becoming a Muslim nation. Danna Vale's comments have been widely condemned as insensitive and dangerous. From Canberra, Narda Gilmore reports. It's always been a sensitive issue, but Danna Vale's argument against the use of the abortion pill RU486 has been met with disbelief and anger. Danna Vale's comments are dopey and reeked of prejudice and ignorance. Islamaphobia is just getting out of control. It's offensive. I think she should apologise.

The outrage follows the Liberal backbencher's warning that the rate of abortion could see Australia become a Muslim nation within 50 years. We are aborting ourselves almost out of existence by 100,000 abortions every year. And that's, on a guesstimate - you multiply that by 50 years - that's 5 million potential Australians we won't have here. Coalition colleagues were quick to distance themselves. I think Danna's on her own on that one. (Chuckles) It was left to the Immigration Minister to clarify the facts. I was a bit surprised because I simply know that, ah, the proposition is incorrect for starters. In the next 50 years, Australia will remain what it is today - a predominantly English speaking, very multicultural and diverse country. But Muslim groups are angry, describing Danna Vale's comments as dangerous and destructive. There seems to be a club there on on the back bench that seems to have nothing better to do than to poke fun at Islam or create division in society. This is a dangerous idea. To divide this community into Muslims and non-Muslims can destroy all what we have built up over the last few decades. Poor old Danna Vale, I think, is an authentic representative of growing government extremism. The Prime Minister today urged the Coalition party room to use measured language in the RU486 debate. The Senate last week voted to strip the Health Minister of his veto power over the drug, instead handing control to the Therapeutic Goods Administration. This afternoon, debate began in the lower house. Cardinal George Pell has added his voice, warning MPs that the health risks to women of RU486 Nearly 80 MPs are scheduled to speak on the issue. I will not vote for a bill that makes abortion more readily available. Having children is a wonderful gift, but I think all children deserve to be wanted and welcomed. Some Coalition backbenchers want the bill ammended to give Parliament the veto power - one MP thinks that should also extend to other drugs approved by the Therapeutic Good Administration. The TGA is about to be confronted by enormously challenging pharmaceuticals in the future and that to rely on the TGA alone, I think, will be found deficient. A final vote is expected by Thursday. Narda Gilmore, Lateline.