Blue Flower

SAME-SEX MARRIAGE PROPONENT REPLACES JOE HOCKEY IN SEAT OF NORTH SYDNEY IN BY-ELECTION

Legislation preventing protesters from coming within 150 metres of an abortion clinic has passed the Upper House of the Victorian Parliament without amendment. The abortion buffer zone laws make it illegal for anti-abortion protesters to harass or film women going in or coming out of the clinics. Protestors who breach the so-called buffer zone may face fines or jail time for repeat offences. The bill, amending the Health and Wellbeing Act, was originally put forward by Sex Party MP Fiona Patten and was passed in the early hours of the morning after 12 hours of debate. The legislation follows years of complaints from the clinics about pro-life campaigners approaching women outside clinics, urging them not to terminate their pregnancy.


Health Minister Jill Hennessy said the changes were "long overdue". "Women will no longer be able to be harassed and intimidated around abortion clinics," she said. She said the law would send a message to protesters that women should be free to access what is a lawful service. "But no doubt there will be people trying to test the law," she said. "We'll be working with Victoria Police and all service providers to make sure that we get this law enforced and women are able to go about their lawful business without being the subject of harassment and intimidation." Ms Hennessy said she hoped people understood that it is their right to protest on the steps of Parliament but not outside a medical clinic.

 

But president of Right to Life Australia Margaret Tighe said the laws represented a "tragic day for the smallest Victorians". "The legislation that has been passed is ludicrous in the extreme installing a 150-metre buffer zone around any place where abortions are carried out, even GP clinics, where RU 486 abortions are procured," she said in a statement. Ms Tighe said the group's free speech had been denied. "By passing legislation of this kind the Andrews Government believes the abortion issue will go away when the reverse is likely to occur," she said. "People will not remain silent in the face of so much killing of human life."

 

Source: Compiled by APN from media reports

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CONCILIATION IN TASMANIAN SAME-SEX MARRIAGE CASE

Hobart's Catholic Archbishop Julian Porteous has agreed to attempt conciliation after an anti-same sex marriage booklet published and distributed by the church sparked a discrimination complaint. Human rights campaigner and Greens lower house candidate for the 2016 election, Martine Delaney, lodged a complaint with the anti-discrimination commissioner over the booklet, titled Don't Mess with Marriage, alleging it is offensive and marginalised same-sex couples. "I've been notified by the Commissioner's office, that both Archbishop Porteous and the Bishops Conference have agreed to my request for conciliation," Ms Delaney said in a statement.

 

Archbishop Porteous regrets if anyone has been offended by the booklet. "I'm very keen to see through the processes that are ahead of us and see if we can find a way forward," he said. "I'm very happy if we can arrange to meet through the offices of the Anti-Discrimination Commissioner so that we might sit down and talk and see if we can find a resolution." The case has sparked political debate about Tasmania's anti-discrimination laws with Premier Will Hodgman telling parliament that current legislation may need revisiting to allow the expression of all viewpoints in the lead-up to a national plebiscite on the issue of same-sex marriage.


"Without wanting to dwell on the matter that is currently before the anti-discrimination commission, it's true to say that has flagged an interest and concern in the community about whether the balance is right and whether people are able to unfettered express a view," the premier told parliament. "There is concern it could become a landmark case. There is concern it could compromise some people's ability to participate in the national debate as we head toward the plebiscite." The federal government has slated a plebiscite in the next parliament to allow the Australian people to decide whether the Marriage Act should be amended to recognise same-sex unions.

 

"There will be a national debate on the issue of same-sex marriage as we head toward the plebiscite and there will be people with quite divergent views on the subject," Mr Hodgman said. Ms Delaney said it is too late for the booklet to be withdrawn and, along with mediation, she is seeking that the Catholic education system involve itself in LGBTI awareness for students.


 

Source: Compiled by APN from media reports

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ABORTION CLINIC PROTEST BUFFER ZONE LAW PASSES VICTORIAN UPPER HOUSE

Legislation preventing protesters from coming within 150 metres of an abortion clinic has passed the Upper House of the Victorian Parliament without amendment. The abortion buffer zone laws make it illegal for anti-abortion protesters to harass or film women going in or coming out of the clinics. Protestors who breach the so-called buffer zone may face fines or jail time for repeat offences. The bill, amending the Health and Wellbeing Act, was originally put forward by Sex Party MP Fiona Patten and was passed in the early hours of the morning after 12 hours of debate. The legislation follows years of complaints from the clinics about pro-life campaigners approaching women outside clinics, urging them not to terminate their pregnancy. 

Health Minister Jill Hennessy said the changes were "long overdue". "Women will no longer be able to be harassed and intimidated around abortion clinics," she said. She said the law would send a message to protesters that women should be free to access what is a lawful service. "But no doubt there will be people trying to test the law," she said. "We'll be working with Victoria Police and all service providers to make sure that we get this law enforced and women are able to go about their lawful business without being the subject of harassment and intimidation." Ms Hennessy said she hoped people understood that it is their right to protest on the steps of Parliament but not outside a medical clinic. 

But president of Right to Life Australia Margaret Tighe said the laws represented a "tragic day for the smallest Victorians". "The legislation that has been passed is ludicrous in the extreme installing a 150-metre buffer zone around any place where abortions are carried out, even GP clinics, where RU 486 abortions are procured," she said in a statement. Ms Tighe said the group's free speech had been denied. "By passing legislation of this kind the Andrews Government believes the abortion issue will go away when the reverse is likely to occur," she said. "People will not remain silent in the face of so much killing of human life."

Source: Compiled by APN from media reports

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