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Monday, 9 November 2015
Page: 7972


Senator WATERS (QueenslandCo-Deputy Leader of the Australian Greens) (15:55): I seek leave to make a short statement.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Leave is granted for one minute.

Senator WATERS: This is a clumsy and amateur attempt by Senator Canavan, who is trying to use free speech as an argument to stop women accessing abortions. Women should be able to access this safe and legal medical procedure without being confronted, harassed or intimidated. I am proud that Tasmania has laws for exclusion zones around abortion clinics and that in the ACT we Greens are moving for that, too. Anyone who disagrees with abortion should be free to voice their beliefs, but not to upset or intimidate women outside clinics, when they are clearly in vulnerable and difficult circumstances. This is not a freedom of speech issue; this is an issue of safe and accessible health care. Women have the legal right to medical privacy and the human right to make choices about their own health without interference or harassment. Just as we believe in the right to free speech but not hate speech, we must defend the right to protest but not in a way that infringes on an individual's right to access services for her own health.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: The question is that general business notice of motion No. 913 be agreed to.