Your members would be aware of the history of the two Bills by the member for Cairns, Mr Rob Pyne MP, and the subsequent withdrawal of those Bills. The Palaszczuk Government recognised that those Bills did not give appropriate resolution to a range of issues related to law reform in this area, and subsequently referred the issue to the Queensland Law Reform Commission (QLRC).
The QLRC is an independent statutory body that makes recommendations to government on areas of law which are the subject of specific inquiries.
The QLRC was asked to have regard to a number of matters in preparing its report to government, including:
a) Existing practices and services in Queensland concerning termination of pregnancy including those provided by medical practitioners, counsellors and support services
b) Existing legal principles in relation to termination practices in Queensland
c) The Queensland Government’s commitment to modernise and clarify the law in relation to termination of pregnancy
d) The consultation with stakeholders that occurred during the Parliamentary Committee’s consideration of the first and second Bills
e) The views of experienced clinical practitioners
f) The views of the Queensland community
g) Legislative and regulatory arrangements in other Australian and international jurisdictions.
The Premier has made a commitment that in the next term of government, Labor will bring forward a Bill to Parliament based on the recommendations of the QLRC Report. The QLRC is required to report of the Attorney-General by 30 June 2018.
As you can see from the Terms of Reference, regard will be had by the QLRC to the consultation with stakeholders that occurred during the Parliamentary Committee’s consideration of the first and second Bills, and the views of the Queensland community, when preparing its report to Government.
Labor Party Members of Parliament will be free to exercise a conscience vote when voting on the Bill. I am limited in any further information I might be able to provide until the QLRC process is concluded.