Overnight, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian copped backlash from members of the NSW Liberal Party for her handling of the Abortion Reform Bill, which led to some rebel members of parliament initiating a spill motion.
At around 9pm last night, three members of the NSW Liberal Party, Tanya Davies, Lou Amato and Matthew Mason-Cox, issued a statement condemning Berejiklian’s handling of the Abortion Bill.
“We have respectfully and consistently requested the Premier to urgently intervene to restore proper process by stopping the fast tracking of the Abortion Bill and immediately establishing a Joint Select Committee into abortion law reform in NSW,” they said.
“These requests have been rejected. This lack of due process and respect for other people’s views has broken trust within the Liberal Party room, the wider Liberal Party and many communities across NSW.
“We have come to the conclusion that the right course of action is...to hold the premier to account for presiding over this shameful process.”
What’s going on with the Abortion Bill?
The Abortion Bill, or the Reproductive Health Care Reform Bill 2019, passed the NSW lower house 59-31 in August this year, allowing termination of up to 22 weeks as well as later abortions if two doctors agree the termination should occur.
Davies, Amato and Mason-Cox said amendments they had asked for had been rejected in full, with Davies indicating previously she would go to the crossbench if the amendments weren’t made.
Those amendments were to place a prohibition on sex selection abortions, provide proper medical care for aborted babies born alive, protect conscientious objection rights for doctors and allied health professionals, and stricter regulation of late-term abortions.
In their statement last night, the MPs said: “at 7.50pm tonight we were informed all the amendments were rejected in full or in part with vague undertakings for further discussions in the morning. This is simply unacceptable after waiting for three weeks for a response”.
They went on to say they “have been bewildered by the lack of any regard for proper parliamentary process, particularly the failure to allow members any meaningful consultation with their local communities”.
What is a spill motion, and why did the Liberal MPs call it off?
A leadership spill is a declaration that the leadership of a parliamentary party is vacant and open for re-election.
The spill motion was due to be put to the Liberal Party room at 10am Tuesday morning, but was called off just hours before.
Liberal MPs came to Berejiklian’s defence quite quickly, tweeting words of support.
“Gladys is the people’s choice as Premier and I support her as our leader,” Treasurer Dominic Perrottet tweeted.
“This is ridiculous,” said NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro.
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