'Beyond Outrageous': Abortion Bill Delayed In NSW Upper House
A bill to decriminalise abortion in NSW will not be voted on in parliament's upper house until at least September.
While some had hoped the bill would go to an upper house vote within days, Deputy Premier John Barilaro says that won't happen, given the number of foreshadowed amendments.
It means the upper house debate will likely continue into September.
"It's just the reality that we will not have the time to deal with it in this particular sitting period," Barilaro told reporters on Tuesday.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian backed down rushing the abortion bill through the upper house, reported The Australian. She also assured Liberal MPs there would be no more conscience votes "in this term of government", as well as indicating support for Christian Democrat Fred Nile's controversial "Zoe's Law" to move forward.
Independent MP Alex Greenwich, who introduced the decriminalisation bill, said it was incumbent on the upper house to pass the "long overdue" bill as soon as possible.
"The NSW Legislative Assembly and people across the state have sent a clear message that it's time to decriminalise abortion," he said.
Greens MP Jenny Leong said the delay was "beyond outrageous", while the NSW Pro-Choice Alliance called it "a perverse and ridiculous waste of time".
"This is an absurd situation where the government is ignoring the experts -- the doctors, the women's health organisations, the lawyers and the domestic violence experts who have all endorsed this bill," alliance chair Wendy McCarthy AO said.
"Instead, they are being swayed by a few hysterical voices who have no interest or expertise in caring for women, and do not reflect the majority view of the community."
The private member's bill to remove abortion from the Crimes Act previously passed the lower house 59 to 31.
It is opposed by several ministers including Dominic Perrottet, Anthony Roberts and David Elliott.
Opponents in the upper house include Fred Nile, who previously described the bill as "a tyrannical piece of legislation that enforces secular morality on everyone".
Berejiklian took a veiled swipe at federal Nationals MP Barnaby Joyce over his involvement in the state's abortion debate, after some NSW residents received a robocall urging them to oppose the bill.
In the call, Joyce incorrectly argues the draft legislation would allow abortions to be performed "for any reason" up to birth.
"Please don't #robocall me ...," one recipient posted on Twitter. "Your opinion has been weighed, measured, and found wanting."
READ MORE: 'I'm Not Ashamed About My Abortion'
Berejiklian on Tuesday took aim at Joyce's involvement.
"The NSW parliament is for NSW parliamentarians to get views from their communities, to look at their own consciences and vote accordingly," she told reporters in Sydney.
"This is an issue for NSW MPs."
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