The Assisted Reproductive Technology Bill was debated in the Upper House this week.
After debate over the last three days a vote on the second reading was held and passed - 20 for to 18 against - it doesn't get much closer than that! The bill has now been referred to the Legislative Committee (3 ALP, 2 Libs, 1 Nat and 1 Green) for discussion, consideration of amendments etc. They will report back to the Parliament on 2 December, after which the Bill will go to a third reading and final vote (some time during that week, the final sitting of Parliament for the year). I think that it is a positive sign that it went to Committee as it may not have been supported in it's current form in a final vote and there have been a number of credible amendments raised.
There was a great speech by a Liberal Party member, Mr Bruce Atkinson, last night (yes, Liberal Party!!) supporting our families - which is great to see. I wrote a letter to Mr Atkinson thanking him and saying that the Liberal Party could do with more good people like himself! There was terrible speech by Inga Peulich (Liberal) pretty much saying how our families were inferior and children needed to be protected from circumstances such as our - am astounded at how simple some people's little minds are....
With the vote so close, the Christian right will no doubt be stepping up it's campaign to stop this legislation so we will also be continuing to lobby for support over the next few weeks. I am hopeful that the right outcome will prevail here but you just never know.
Listening to parliament has been quite educational, both in terms of politics and political process but also, sadly, in terms of the level of prejudice that still exists in our society, some of the Liberal and National Party member speeches have just been appalling. It's funny because i don't often come face to face with people who think like this, but it seems there are quite a lot of them - just under half of the upper house anyway!