Politics: More on Legalisation and Letter-Writing

One really delightful result of sending my letter to senators is that Greens Senator, Colleen Hartland, sends us daily updates on the debate in the Senate, with links to speeches by other MPs that she thinks we will find of interest.

And, I’m delighted to say, she doesn’t care which party they come from.

So. Here are two speeches from Labor Senators in favour of this Bill. I haven’t had a chance to read them yet, but I’ll be going through Hansard in detail later.

Jenny Mikakos

Shaune Leane, I think. This one is confusing me, because his name does not come up at the start.

And, for those who are interested, here is the email, with a few more details about what is going on.

Dear all,

Nineteen MPs have now spoken, of which eleven have indicated that they will vote for the Abortion Law Reform Bill at second reading.

When I sent my last email to this group*, at about 6.30pm yesterday, I said that Bernie Finn (Libs) had been speaking for over an hour. He kept speaking after the dinner break, and hadn’t finished at 10pm when the house adjourned. He started again this morning and kept talking, give or take lunch and question time, until 2.45pm this afternoon. I’m not entirely sure he stopped when we all went home overnight.

Mr Kavanaugh (DLP) is now speaking. So far it sounds like a repeat of Mr Finn’s arguments, but with a softer voice. He has anticipated that he will speak for some time.

It’s as though the anti-choice advocates have realised that they can’t win the argument on legal or moral grounds, and instead they’re trying to starve us out.

Mr Finn’s arguments, while lengthy, were predictable, so his speech gave me over five hours to reflect and achieve perspective on the contributions so far.

One of the clearest truths, from all the speakers, including some of the anti choice speakers, is that this Bill won’t change the number of abortions carried out in Victoria. All it will do is improve safety for the women and the medical practitioners. Nothing else will change if it passes.

Women still wouldn’t make their decision in a vacuum. They still have to deal with society. I nearly cheered when Shaune Leane (ALP) suggested that the 2,000 people who have lobbied him against abortion, should instead send protest notes to their local media outlet when it vilifies single mothers in his extraordinary speech yesterday.

Jenny Mikakos (ALP) made an argument for practicing Christians such as herself, who would never choose abortion themselves, to nevertheless support the Bill in her speech on Tuesday. Jaala Pulford (ALP) said this afternoon that, worldwide, the abortion rate has no correlation to the legality of abortion, but instead to the place of women in society.

Ironically, some anti-choice advocates are frightened that this Bill will give too many rights to women, when it is an increase in women’s rights that will decrease the number of abortions.

Mr Theophanous (ALP) was the first speaker this afternoon to refer directly to proposed amendments, which he has circulated. The amendments relate to abortion after 24 weeks gestation. He argues that some of a woman’s reasons for abortion have more validity than others, and his proposed amendments reflect this view. My Greens colleagues and I will vote against them.

There will be up to 20 more speakers before we reach the first vote, which is the vote at the end of “second reading”. My best guess is that the vote will take place tomorrow morning, after which we will start debating proposed amendments.

Usually we don’t sit on Fridays. We’ve only done it once since I was elected. I think we should sit every day until the debate is concluded. I don’t think that delay tactics should be rewarded, when the result would be to leave the public hanging on a decision by 40 members of parliament. Particularly when I think the decision should belong to each individual woman.

Regards, Colleen

Damn, I wish I could skip work tomorrow and go sit in the visitors’ gallery to cheer this one on…

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