More than 60 women who have had abortions urged authorities to arrest them ahead of the New South Wales parliament debating a decriminalisation bill today. Emily Mayo, who had an abortion in 2005, launched the #ArrestUs campaign on Facebook and Twitter, with inspiration from a 1970s abortion legalisation movement that took out newspaper advertisements with the same intent. Mayo wrote on Facebook: “And so it is time again, for those of us who can stand up and speak out to do so. One last time.” Anti-abortion and pro-choice activists will each hold rallies outside parliament in Sydney during today’s debate on the cross-party bill, which allows for terminations up to 22 weeks. It also allows for later abortions if two doctors approve. Liberal NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian will support the bill, while her Treasurer Dominic Perrottet plans to vote against it. Sydney's Catholic Archbishop Anthony Fisher and Anglican Archbishop Glenn Davis declared the state was “on the edge of a precipice”.
The debate comes as the New Zealand government releases its own abortion decriminalisation plan. Justice Minister Andrew Little yesterday announced measures to remove the statutory test for a person less than 20 weeks pregnant and allow for self-referral to an abortion provider. “Abortion is the only medical procedure that is still a crime in New Zealand, it's time for this to change,” he said.
NSW Supreme Court Justice Paul Brereton and staff representing the Inspector-General of the Australian Defence Force have interviewed witnesses in Kabul as part of their investigations into allegations of war crimes by Australian special forces soldiers. The allegations were revealed in an ABC investigation that subsequently prompted a raid by the Australian Federal Police on the national broadcaster in June. The allegations include an account of Australian SAS troopers responding to the killing of three Australian soldiers by killing three Afghans, with one of the victims alleged to have been either kicked or thrown from a high wall into a ditch while handcuffed and then shot, or shot first then thrown from the wall.
Former Prime Minister John Howard has pointed to political upheaval in Hong Kong ($) as a reason for Australia to align with the US over China, warning the protests could be “a glimpse of the future for Chinese society”. Widespread strikes brought Hong Kong’s trains and airport to a standstill in what is the ninth week of protests demanding the protection of freedoms, on a day that saw cars ramming protesters and police firing tear gas. Howard’s comments come as Beijing hit back at Australian and US officials issuing a joint statement condemning China’s “coercive” conduct in the South China Sea, with the Chinese embassy in Canberra responding by accusing Australia and the US of making trouble, highlighting “lingering hegemonic mentality of certain forces in the US”.
Australia has bowled England out to win the first Ashes Test at Edgbaston by 251 runs. Off-spinner Nathan Lyon finished with six second-innings scalps on a fifth-day pitch that took plenty of turn. He is expected to surpass Dennis Lillee (355) on the list of all-time Australian Test wicket takers in the second Test at Lords.