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Tuesday, 15 May 1973
Page: 2053

Mr ANTHONY (RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I direct a question to the Prime Minister. Following the very strong expression of the House last Thursday on the question of changes in the abortion laws in the Australian Capital Territory, I ask the Prime Minister a question in 2 parts. Firstly, will he assure the House that he will resist attempts to circumvent the decision of Parliament by resort to the use of the draft criminal code for the ACT or by the use of regulations? Secondly, will he accept my assurance - I am sure that I speak for all honourable members who, out of a strong conviction on the basic principles involved, voted against the Bill and the amendment - that the House will co-operate to the fullest possible extent in helping the Government expedite the development of measures such as family planning clinics, child care centres and education programs which will make an important and constructive contribution to the solving of the serious personal problems which abortion raises for many people?

Mr WHITLAM - I appreciate and accept the assurance which the right honourable gentleman gave in the second part of his question. His attitude on this matter accords very closely with mine. Prior to last Christmas, by administrative methods, the Government did all that it could by way of education and facilities as regards family planning. The Government Party takes the attitude that the matter referred to in the first part of the honourable gentleman's question is one concerning individuals. Accordingly the Government would not introduce any Bill for an Act or any ordinance on this matter. The Government would leave the legislation on this matter, which can concern only the federal Territories, to initiatives by private members. The Government will ensure that there is a debate and a vote on any measure, any Bill, that any private member brings up on this subject from either side of the House.

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