New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian has delayed the abortion vote in the state’s upper house for several weeks in a last-minute attempt to bring calm to her party. Source: Sydney Morning Herald.
Her intervention means the abortion decriminalisation bill will be debated in the upper house this week, but amendments will not be moved until Parliament resumes in September.
The delay, designed to placate furious conservative MPs who believed the process had been rushed, means the bitter debate over abortion decriminalisation will continue for weeks.
As the upper house started debating the bill last night, thousands of pro-life protesters gathered in Martin Place to listen to MPs and religious leaders who oppose the bill.
Former National Party leader Barnaby Joyce told protesters, “It’s so good to see so many people, of so many faiths, so united on this issue because it’s so important.
“When you’re scared, is when you have to stand up. When you are going to be shouted down, is when you’ve gotta speak up. And it’s when there is total darkness, is when you will light one candle and start making a difference. Tonight, all you people … you are part of this.
“If someone says, ‘Well I want my right to kill that baby’ – sorry you can’t have that right.”
The former minister for women, Tanya Davies, said the issue had caused a “crisis of government”.
“I believe it is a crisis of government that we are facing, because my community is absolutely outraged that they have been shut out and denied any opportunity to participate in this process,” Ms Davies said.
Ms Berejiklian also assured her colleagues in a party room meeting yesterday that there would be no more conscience votes in this term of government. Another key social issue that was due to be debated in this four-year term was euthanasia.
Independent MP Alex Greenwich, who introduced the bill into the lower house, said he was “disappointed” with the delay.
Labor’s treasury spokesman Walt Secord said Ms Berejiklian delayed the vote to “save herself”.
Berejiklian delays abortion vote to calm furious conservative MPs (Sydney Morning Herald)
Thousands protest abortion bill in Sydney (9news.com.au)