BATT AND BENNETT ON ABORTION LAW REFORM
Conscience vote a ‘guarantee’
MEMBER for Burnett Stephen Bennett is certain abortion will be decriminalised in Queensland, after LNP members moved to give MPs a conscience vote when the government's Bill is introduced to Parliament next week.
At a special meeting on Tuesday afternoon, LNP party members voted unanimously in support of a free vote in relation to the Termination of Pregnancy Bill 2018.
The vote aligned with the LNP’s long-standing position on matters relating to the creation or ending of life, which the party typically treats as matters of conscience. Mr Bennett told the NewsMail while he believed it was inevitable the MPs were going to get a conscience vote, he did not support the bill or how Labor achieved the result.
Labelling it an “unprecedented, arrogant step,” the MP said he had never seen an abuse of Parliament like this one.
“Labor members made recommendations and applied political influence to other members of parliament in recommending how we vote. This an absolute breach of standing orders,” he said.
“We must not forget the abuse of power the majority Labor Government has exercised in its stacked committee report on the legislation.”
Mr Bennett said while he believed a free vote guaranteed the Bill would be passed, he would vote no.
“There's too many numbers on the other side,” he said.
Mr Bennett said his opposition to the Bill stemmed from his electorate’s views.
“In reflection of, particularly my electorate’s views and advocacy, in good conscience, I cannot support the legislation,” he said.
“While I acknowledge that this legislation is controversial and stirs significant emotion I ask that we continue a dignified and respectful debate of each other’s opinions.
“I also encourage everyone with interest to at least review what is being proposed and consider in your own way what the future may look like once this Bill is law.”
Also voting against the Bill is Member for Bundaberg David Batt.
He said he reached the decision after considering the Bill and listening to his constituents.
“I am not of a conscience to support it,” Mr Batt said.
The MP told the NewsMail he would be outlining the reasons behind his decision to oppose the Bill when he got the opportunity to speak in Parliament next week.
“I would like to thank all Bundaberg residents who have taken the time to contact me in regards to this deeply emotive and complex matter,” he said.
‘‘ I ASK THAT WE CONTINUE A DIGNIFIED AND RESPECTFUL DEBATE OF EACH OTHER’S OPINIONS.
MP STEPHEN BENNETT