An attempt to topple NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian from her position as leader of the NSW Liberal Party has reportedly been cancelled, after a group of conservative MPs secured new assurances about the state’s contentious abortion decriminalisation bill.
The spill motion was postponed this morning after a group of rebel Liberal Party MPs, including Tanya Davies, Matthew Mason-Cox, and Lou Amato, convinced Berejiklian to support amendments to the bill in the Upper House before its debate this week.
“Since releasing our statement last night, we have received confirmation that further concessions will be forthcoming in relation to amendments to the Abortion Bill,” the group said in a statement obtained by The Australian.
“On this basis I have called the Premier this morning and advised her that we will withdraw the spill motion to continue negotiations prior to the debate in the upper house commencing later today.”
Those three MPs represented a conservative bloc that were concerned the bill, which would finally remove medical termination from the NSW Crimes Act, was being rushed through parliament without certain limitations.
In particular, they wanted four amendments to the bill before it was passed into law.
One amendment places strict limitations on abortions after 20 weeks of gestation, up from 22 weeks with two doctors’ approval in the current bill; another restricts the practice of using abortion for gender selection purposes; one calls for medical professionals to enact a “duty of care to a baby born alive”, and the final amendment urges protections for doctors who conscientiously object to the procedure.
Every single one of those proposed amendments has been criticised by pro-choice bodies, who claim they are needless, cruel, misleading, or a heady mixture of all three. Reproductive rights organisations have called for the Upper House to pass the legislation without alterations.
Even though it was withdrawn, the spill motion represents a rebuke of a premier who led her embattled party to an election victory in March this year. That’s just what happens when you have the absolute gall to permit your party a conscience vote on a medical procedure, we guess.