Abortion law Bill: Safe Zones rejected


Justice Minister Andrew Little will not try to re-introduce “safe zones” into his abortion legalisation bill after a mix up removed them.

“The safe zone provision was always the most marginally supported,” Little said.

The abortion law bill was going through the committee stage on Tuesday evening and into the early hours of Wednesday.

ACT leader David Seymour had proposed an amendment to remove safe areas from the bill.

His proposal was voted for in two parts.

The first vote was to have the definition of Safe Zones removed from the bill.

It was rejected by a margin, 59 votes to 56.

The second vote was on removing all the legal provisions for safe zones, including the ways in which the police could administer them.

Deputy Speaker Anne Tolley passed it on a verbal vote.

So the definition of ‘safe area’ became redundant in the law.

Green MP Jan Logie immediately asked for clarification on what had happened.

“Can I just check the vote and how it evolved around David Seymour’s SOP (Supplementary Order Papers) and what the outcome of that vote is… I just wanted to check and to see if I needed to change my vote”.

Tolley advised it was a “vote on the voices” and the “amendment was agreed to”.

Logie sought leave for a personal vote, but this was rejected.

The proposed safe zones would set up a regime where a protest against abortion could be barred within 150 metres of clinics.

Seymour was concerned that the safe areas violated wider principles of free speech.

MPs who are for the safe zones have indicated they may try to re-introduce them.

National MP Nikki Kaye said it would be up to the House to decide whether or not to revisit the issue.

Green MP Jan Logie said she was looking at options to reinstate them.


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