Australia

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian 'relaxed' despite abortion debate, MP revolt

0:00

Gladys Berejiklian says she's not worried about NSW parliament's debate on the abortion bill while a senior minister tells MPs to "park the politics".

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian insists she is "entirely relaxed" about the debate on the abortion bill after an amendment demanded by rebel MPs was rejected in the upper house.

Transport Minister Andrew Constance, meanwhile, says MPs should "park the politics" and focus on the issues.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian insists she is "entirely relaxed" about the abortion bill.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian insists she is "entirely relaxed" about the abortion bill.
AAP

Liberal MPs Tanya Davies, Matthew Mason-Cox and Lou Amato announced and then called off a leadership spill motion against the premier this week over her handling of the private member's bill to decriminalise abortion.

Their statement said it had previously been made clear to the premier that an "absolute minimum" of four key amendments were needed to ensure "continued membership of the Liberal Party room", including a prohibition on sex selection abortions.

Liberal MP Tanya Davies is a vocal opponent of the Bill to decriminalise abortion and led the spill motion.
Liberal MP Tanya Davies is a vocal opponent of the Bill to decriminalise abortion and led the spill motion.
AAP

An amendment to ban sex-selective abortions was rejected in the upper house late on Wednesday night, with members voting against the change 26-15.

However, Finance Minister Damien Tudehope, who moved the failed amendment, has now introduced another on the issue.

That amendment watered down the original, stating solely that the parliament opposes sex-selective abortions, and required a future parliamentary report on the issue include prevention recommendations.

It passed by 28 votes to 13.

"I'm pleased we've got to a stage where the parliament can in fact say to the people of this state that we reject the issue of sex selection," Mr Tudehope said.

"It has been a torturous process to get here."

When asked if she was concerned about MPs defecting from the Liberal Party because of the failed amendment, Ms Berejiklian said she was "pleased that a number of amendments were passed in the upper house".

The premier said she was "entirely relaxed" about the process "because we live in a democracy and people are allowed to express their views".

Anti-abortion protestors are seen alongside members of the NSW Pro-Choice Alliance outside NSW Parliament House.
Anti-abortion protestors are seen alongside members of the NSW Pro-Choice Alliance outside NSW Parliament House.
AAP

She wanted Ms Davies to remain in the party.

"Some days in the office are easier than others," Ms Berejiklian told reporters.

"We take it all in our stride."

Mr Constance, who supported the abortion bill in the lower house, said MPs should "park the politics, focus on the issues".

"I'd ask Tanya Davies to be mindful and respectful of the conscience vote that we all have to go through, and also be mindful of the fact that the premier gave everybody that opportunity," he told reporters on Thursday.

Mr Tudehope's rejected amendment sought to ban terminations that medical practitioners know, or ought reasonably to know, are for sex-selective purposes.

Opposing groups protest outside the New South Wales parliament as abortion legislation is debated.
Opposing groups protest outside the New South Wales parliament as abortion legislation is debated.
AAP

It had attached a maximum six-month prison sentence for the offence.

The upper house has passed several amendments, including one clarifying that doctors must provide appropriate care to babies born alive after a termination.

They spent hours on Thursday debating amendments on conscientious objection before agreeing to one moved by Nationals MP Niall Blair, who said it would ease the obligation on practitioners with such an objection.

"Rather than asking the doctor to refer the patient to another doctor who they know will not have a conscientious objection ... the amendment puts in another step by enabling the doctor to refer the patient back to NSW Health," he said.

On Thursday evening, an amendment by Labor MLC Greg Donnelly to require informed consent for terminations of foetuses with a suspected or confirmed disability was rejected by 26 votes to 14.

Stay up to date with SBS NEWS

  • App
  • Subscribe
  • Follow
  • Listen
  • Watch