This in from Joe Dempsey:
I thought you might be interested in the some of the outcomes of the candidates Q&A that was held by the ANU Society for Arts & Social Sciences (SASS) at the ANU last night.
The two lead senate candidates for each of the Canberra Liberals (Zed Seselja) and the ACT Greens (Simon Sheikh) attended a panel, along with the support senate candidate for the ALP (Chris Sant).
Some of the details about the event are here: https://www.facebook.com/events/380956965338975/
Probably the most interesting moments of the event were Zed’s comments on the abortion pill RU486 (I’ve attached a extract of the event recording for reference).
“Well, I take a pro-life position and I have been on the record for a long time. My views on RU486 is that it is not just about the issue of abortion. The issues surrounding RU486, which were debated in the federal parliament, were also about dangers to the health of women unsupervised and issues around that. They were a range of issues and so if it were to come before me and I was in the federal parliament, and it was a conscience vote, I would always take the position of a pro-life position but also a position which looked at what was in the best interests of women”
I think these comments were notable as Zed was the only candidate to speak out against RU486 and it’s recent addition to the pharmaceutical benefits scheme.
Zed’s comments that RU486 is unsafe for “women unsupervised” are also unfounded. It has already been used by millions of women around the world. RU486 avoids the risks of having to undergo surgery, have an anaesthetic, it dramatically reduces the risk of infection and renders the risk of maternal death virtually non-existent.
Zed seems to think that RU486 is a dangerous drug in itself, ignoring the fact that it has been approved for use by the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration, the US FDA, and approved for use in most western European countries for over 20 years.
It is also listed under it’s formal name (Mifepristone) on the WHO Essential Medicines List.
Let me know if you need any further information about the event.
Here’s the audio.