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Wednesday, 23 May 2018
Page: 4330

Mr BANDT (Melbourne) (13:42): This Friday, Ireland will vote in a referendum to repeal the 8th amendment of the Irish constitution and allow women access to safe and legal abortion. From the Parliament of Australia, I today send a message of solidarity to the women of Ireland. I affirm my unequivocal support for the right of all women to full control over their own bodies and safe legal abortion. The current restrictive laws in Ireland don't stop abortion, they just make it unsafe. Each year, 3,000 women and girls travel to the United Kingdom as their only option to access a termination. Women who do have pregnancies terminated in the UK or elsewhere are left without medical support upon their return to Ireland. Women who have faced barriers to accessing abortion and appropriate medical treatment have lost their lives.

Members of the Irish community in Melbourne have shown their support for the repeal, including through supporter events at Handsome Her and within my electorate at The Drunken Poet. As we support the reproductive rights of women in Ireland, so we must continue to fight in Australia. In Queensland, abortion remains a criminal offence under many circumstances. It's only in recent years that laws have been passed to stop the harassment of women outside the East Melbourne Fertility Control Clinic in my electorate. And it saddens me that there are also many members of this parliament who would not support and legal abortion rights. I pledge that I and the Greens will always stand up for the right to safe and legal abortion.