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Thursday, 1 August 2019
Page: 1823


Mr JOYCE (New England) (13:59): On 1 June Vikki's and my son Tom took his first breath. This was not the start of his life. The reality is that he was part of this world for some time and was merely passing from one room to another. We had, and have, an absolute responsibility to Tom, but we never owned him. He was more than merely a property right; he was a person. He attained this indivisible right of being alive long before he was born. Tom had rights, even though he was not conscious of them. They should not be removed by a parliament. He committed no crime.

The hour of birth is an arbitrary point in modern medicine, within a range of two to three months. His birth, to Tom, did not endow him with greater meaning as a person. As parents we had no lesser responsibilities than when Tom left the hospital, being totally reliant on our nurturing and protection.

Inside the womb, Tom kicked, punched, grabbed his umbilical cord, felt pain, slept and dreamed. With ultrasound, he was most certainly seen in real human form. To say he didn't have the rights of other human life is to say he must have been subhuman. Historically, that concept is not unusual; people were informed by the social mores of their time. But I don't believe that any person, any doctor or any parliament has the power today to declassify another person as less than human, and, by so doing, remove their most fundamental right: to be alive.

In the New South Wales parliament, they are debating whether Tom had no classification of human rights. Whether before his umbilical cord was cut— (Time expired)

The SPEAKER: In accordance with standing order 43, the time for members' statements has concluded.