Monthly Archives: December 2018

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Newcastle and Hunter volunteers recognised as part of Volunteering China’s National Volunteers Week

MANY THANKS: Rob and Margaret Wilbow with Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service chief executive Richard Jones, who expressed his gratitude for their volunteering. ForRob and Margaret Wilbowvolunteering has become a way of life.
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After moving to Port Stephens from Sydney five years ago, the retired Salamander Bay couple chose to become involved in volunteering as a way of socialising, keeping busy and giving back.

The pair are amongthousands who are being thanked for their generosityas part of Volunteering ’s National Volunteers Week.

Across the country, organisations are sayingthank you to the some six million ns who volunteer their time each year.

The couplerun theWestpac Rescue Helicopter Service’s Port StephensVolunteer Support Group, who organise a range of fundraisers. Most notably,the Angel Billy Golf Classic,held annually for the past 20 years. The event has raised over $630,000 since it began.

IN NEWS TODAY

Rare Moreton Bay jellyfish found lurking in Lake MacquarieWoman, 33, allegedly drives with blood alcohol reading of 0.283Eight staff and a patient catch scabies as Kurri Kurri Hospital ward put into isolation“We run the Port Stephens fundraising effort,” Mr Wilbow, 68,said.

“We’ve got80 tinsinbusinesses right throughout Raymond Terrace and up as far as Karuah.”

Mrs Wilbow, 64, is also a volunteer palliative caredriverand a part of Port Stephens Friendship Group.

“We enjoy it and l like improving things,” Mr Wilbow said of why he volunteers.

Richard Jones, WRHS chief executive,said volunteers are essential to the sustainability of the emergency service.

“At the heart of every organisation are people,” he said.“For the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service, it is the people we serve, those who work with us and those who support us.

“Since our early beginnings, volunteers have been integral to our operations and in 2018, they remain an important part of who we are and what we do.”

Newcastle City Council paid tribute to the city’s 350 volunteerson Thursday.

WELL DONE: Council’s Volunteers Week function. At front is Alma Tate, Michael Moffitt, Nuatali Nelmes, Pauline McDougall and Nancy Tapp. Picture: Jonathan Carroll.

“Whether it’s a few hours a week helping an older citizen learn how to use email, or an entire day each week guiding visitors at the museum and gallery, it all adds up to a better community,” lord mayor Nuatali Nelmes said.

“Volunteers have worked more than 24,000 hours just at Blackbutt Reserve and Landcare sites alone during the past 12 months.

“At $30 an hour, those two projects amount to around three quarters of a million dollars in labour being donated.”

NSW abortion zone laws pass first hurdle

Laws giving women a “safe zone” around NSW abortion clinics, free from protesters and activists, have passed their first legislative hurdle after a day of debate and protest.
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The proposed laws, which will provide a 150-metre exclusion zone around clinics and make it an offence to film staff and patients without their consent, passed the NSW upper house on Thursday.

The bill is now expected to be introduced to the legislative assembly next month.

Government MPs have been given a conscience vote on the legislation, which NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian says she is likely to support.

The bill provoked emotional debate from both sides of the house, including Early Childhood Education Minister Sarah Mitchell, who fought back tears in describing her own miscarriage and subsequent medical procedures.

Ms Mitchell, who voted in favour of the bill, said she would have been pushed close to the edge had a protester confronted her outside a clinic she needed to visit following the miscarriage.

“If I had had to have the procedure after losing my baby in the clinic, no-one would know the reasons for me being there because it is just not possible for protesters outside the door to know the personal and intimate reasons why every woman is going into the clinic,” she told parliament.

Nationals MP Trevor Khan, a co-sponsor of the bill along with Labor’s Penny Sharpe, said the debate transcended political alliances.

“This is not a matter of left versus right, it is a matter of common decency,” Mr Khan told the upper house.

“It is not our place to judge these women, we do not know their stories.”

Meanwhile, Ms Sharpe took aim at free speech advocates arguing against the laws, saying what was occurring outside abortion clinics did not amount to protest.

“It is harassment, even if it is well-intentioned,” Ms Sharpe sad

The bill was not without its opponents, including Christian Democrat Fred Nile, who claimed a nearby abortion clinic had its sewerage pipes blocked by “baby body parts”.

“They had to get the plumbers in to find out what was blocking the sewerage pipes and you’ll be disgusted to know it was baby body parts, little arms, little legs, parts of bodies of babies that had been aborted,” Rev Nile said.

However, the abortion clinic in question issued a statement in response to Rev Nile’s comments, which it said were “completely false”.

Rev Nile described the bill as draconian, and said it would “stop ns who have strong belief in the sanctity of life from even saying hello, or smiling, or walking into that area”.

Outside parliament, protesters from both sides of the debate lined Macquarie Street.

Fair Agenda spokeswoman Alycia Gawthorne said women should be protected if they seek to terminate their pregnancy.

Carolyn O’Loughlin, who held a large placard with a photo of a 10-week-old foetus and caption ‘I cannot yet speak, please be my voice!’, says the new laws would censor free speech.

Colleen McCullough will dispute continues

A doctor who certified Colleen McCullough was sane and rational was unable to rouse her on his visit to her sickbed, the bestselling author’s primary carer has told a court.
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Nicola Wright also denies fabricating evidence because she wanted Dr McCullough’s widower, Ric Robinson, to lose the NSW Supreme Court battle over the author’s multimillion-dollar estate.

“I have no interest in whether he loses or wins,” Ms Wright testified on Thursday.

The author’s executor and friend, Selwa Anthony, claims the University of Oklahoma Foundation and not Mr Robinson is the rightful sole beneficiary of the estate as per a July 2014 will.

Ms Anthony claims Mr Robinson took advantage of his wife’s ill health to unduly influence her to leave him everything in the lead-up to her death on Norfolk Island on January 29, 2015.

Under cross-examination on Thursday from Mr Robinson’s lawyer, David Murr SC, the author’s solicitor Piria Coleman agreed she believed the university will was the genuine one.

Ms Coleman further agreed she had fabricated a document and given it to Mr Robinson, deceiving him into thinking it was a new will in his favour.

Mr Murr referred to a letter from Dr Robert Challender given to her by Mr Robinson on January 17, 2015, a fortnight before his wife’s death.

The GP said he had seen Dr McCullough several times over the previous six weeks and while she was not in good shape physically, her mental state was sane, rational and she was “completely able to make well considered decisions”.

The GP also wrote that he saw no signs of her being in physical or emotional distress.

Ms Coleman agreed the letter unequivocally said Dr McCullough had “testamentary capacity” and was not subject to undue influence.

Ms Wright referred to Dr Challender’s visit on January 14, 2015.

“Ric wanted a doctor to certify that Col was sane because he wanted her will changed,” she said in her affidavit.

‘”She could hardly speak.”

The GP could not rouse her but said he would write about how he saw her one to three weeks previously, Ms Wright said.

“I want to suggest that Dr Challender did rouse Col that day,” Mr Murr said.

“I disagree,” she replied.

She agreed she thought Dr McCullough had been “very badly done by by her husband” but denied fabricating evidence about conversations.

Earlier, Ms Coleman agreed she believed Dr McCullough was the “goodie” and her husband the “baddie” in the marriage but denied trying to cast Mr Robinson in as bad a light as possible.

The hearing continues before Justice .Nigel Rein.

Exporters to face ‘full force’ of the law

Agriculture Minister David Littleproud says exporters who flout animal welfare face harsh penalties.Live exporters who put financial gain ahead of animal welfare will be named, shamed and face jail under harsh new penalties proposed by the federal government.
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Fines of at least $4.2 million for companies and $2.1 million for individuals are tough enough to not be seen as a cost of doing business, Agriculture Minister David Littleproud told parliament on Thursday.

Individuals who break the new laws could also feel the “full force” of prison terms of up to 10 years, he says.

The draft laws follow an inquiry into sheep exports to the Middle East during the northern hemisphere summer, after horrific footage emerged showing sheep dying on a ship in 2016.

It would become an offence to obstruct or hinder a vet or livestock officer, or dishonestly influence anyone involved in an export program.

Exporters who commit an offence with the intention of obtaining financial advantage over competitors, or cause “economic consequences” to would also face penalties.

Courts would also be given powers to name and shame a person found guilty, or forced to pay civil penalties.

“For those who seek to flout our laws, the full force of those laws will be felt,” Mr Littleproud said.

The penalties include:

* Up to 10 years prison or a $2.1 million fine for a company director convicted of the new offences.

* Up to 10 years prison or a $420,000 fine for other individuals.

* Penalties for companies up to $4.2 million, three times the benefit gained or 10 per cent of the company’s turnover – whichever is greater.

Labor MP Ed Husic labelled the bill a “sellout”.

The federal opposition is backing Liberal MP Sussan Ley’s bill to phase out live sheep exports to the Middle East over five years.

Individual care with holistic focus

FAMILY FRIENDLY: The modern rooms at Newcastle Family Practice are patient friendly and accredited by the Royal n College of General Practitioners.ADVERTISING FEATURENewcastle Family Practice strives to deliver the most up-to-date, evidence-based medical care while still treating patients holistically, non-judgmentally and with utmost respect.
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The practice was established in 1995 under its current name and now has eleven general practitioners and three nurses.

The doctors and nurses at Newcastle Family Practice are passionate about all aspects of women’s health.

The doctors are very knowledgeable on all forms of contraception including contraceptive pills, rings, IUDs implants and injections. The practice is able to insert and remove Implanons and Mirenas.

This advertising feature is sponsored by the following business. Click the link to learn more:

Newcastle Family PracticeNewcastle Family Practice offers pre-pregnancy counseling and planning services, pregnancy shared-care advice on breast feeding, settling and baby care.

The doctors are interested in and able to support women through menopause with education, reassurance and treatment including Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) as required.

Routine screening tests and immunizations are an integral part of their service.

Pap smears have recently changed and they are well placed to explain the new cervical screening program.

All gynaecology issues are dealt with sensitively and professionally.

The clinic has also incorporated onsite Mental Health Nurses, Laverty Pathology, psychologists who also offer late appointments, neuro psychologists and dietician services as part of its commitment to multidisciplinary healthcare.

As well as a full range of women’s health services, Newcastle Family Practiceoffers all areas of general practice including:

Up-to-date information on vaccinations for overseas travellers –it is an accredited Yellow Fever Centre.Routine childhood immunisationsInsurance medicalsSpirometry and ECG’sMinor surgical procedures, including suturing of lacerations, the removal of small lesions, insertion of hormone implants and cryotherapy.Newcastle Family Practice is located at 205 Hunter Street, Newcastle. For more information visit www.newcastlefp苏州楼凤.au.

Letters to the editor Saturday May 26 2018

WATCH IT: Parents will be urged to keep quiet watching junior football fixtures this weekend to allow the players to enjoy the game without verbal questioning. HUNTER families this Saturday will be prevented from verbally offering encouragement or cheering on their own children at local soccer matches.
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WhileNorthern NSW Football’s Silent Saturdayinitiative is primarily directed at the small minority of parents who we consider over the top and critical, our policy is in relation to all comments – even if they are positive in nature.

Parents are advised that duty officers will be encouraged to use their mobile phones to record any vocalisation of support or otherwise on the day.

We will be reviewing carefully any footage provided to us,and parents caught out may be banned from attending future matches if they can be identified.

It may seem heavy handed, and some may feel this is political correctness gone too far, but it is important that parents follow instructions on the day. Prior to game starts, officials will hand out leaflets to parents instructing them are not to communicate verbally with their children whilst on the field – at any time.

Northern NSW Football is considering making cheering freesoccer an ongoing part of future seasons.

Phillip Andrews, Northern NSW Football development managerLOCKOUTS AIM OFF THE MARKTO JUNEPorter (Letters, 19/5):while I agree with you that Tony Brown is indeed brave to be doing what he’s doing, I also believe that he, like anyone who supports the lockout laws and zero tolerance reforms to the current licensing laws, is, somewhat ill-informed and misguided.

The story you told of a soldier brandishing a gun after being denied a drink is quite obviously an incredibly extreme example of alcohol-related violence, andin the 2000sany extreme cases of alcohol-related violence in Newcastle have always been few and far between.

Overall, the vast majority of Friday and Saturday nights in Newcastle have been incident free, with only a profoundly small percentage of people causing any trouble.

On the other hand, countless Novocastrian pub and club patrons continue to prove time and time again that they are well and truly capable of behaving themselves each and every weekend.

In this new millennium, Newcastle boasts zero incidents of anyone pulling out a gun in a pub or club after the call for last drinks.

Adz Carter,NewcastleA BIT SHORT ON BUSH WISDOMONE wonders if there is anyone in politics who has any grey matter when it comes to the acknowledged fact that n cities, in particular Sydney and Melbourne, are bursting at the seams,and on both the fundamental issues of housing and transport are not coping.

Of course, most with any commonsense would realise that the problem is one created by the politicians themselves. The complete failure of the immigration scheme, or the lack of one.

The nonsense that there are plenty jobs in the bush may be true in the good times, but what happens in times of drought when the crops fail and water is as scarce as a honest party politician?

We have a problem where we are over-represented by urban pollies and public servants who have no knowledge of the fragility of this vast country. I think it’s high time those in power educated themselves on the reality of life outside the city and stop this blasé attitude that big is better.

Alan Metcalf,StocktonADDRESS UNSEEN EMERGENCYOH my God. I work for a freight company and we have our own employee assistance program. Get with it Ambulance NSW(‘Spotlight on NSW Ambulance after Hunter paramedic’s death’, NewcastleHerald,22/5).Really?Shame on you.

These people, along with police, nurses and firemen deal with the day to day issues of all different scenarios, danger and life threatening situations. They should have the best on offer in the way of counselling, issues on the job etc. It’s unbelievable in this day and age that you provide so little.

Step up and look after our special peoplebecause they have to be beautiful souls before they take on a job in the fields mentioned. I certainly don’t think I would last a week doing any of their jobs. Let’s fight for them now before we lose any more people due to their occupation and the issues they face day to day.

Michelle Toohey,BarnsleyNO NEED TO SOLDIER ONI FEEL gutted for the families who have to deal with the lack of support for paramedics by Ambulance NSW (‘Spotlight on NSW Ambulance after Hunter paramedic’s death’, Herald,22/5).

I think paramedics deal with more trauma than policemen, firefighters or even surgeons. They deal with life and death every day, and it appears they aren’t supported to deal with what they see. So many millions can be funded into reviewing the processes, but we need to see changenow.

We respect our Anzacs and our soldiers, yet our paramedics are doing this day in, day out. They need so much more support, and they need it now.I believe families are being torn apart by the lack of support. I don’t have all the answers, but experts do and they need to be heard.

Compulsory debriefing with peers, on-site counselling support, and time off for mental health time seem commonsense to me but are non-existent in the structures of Ambulance NSW. Change the systemnow, or we’re going to keep losing our soldiers that are fighting the good fight and keeping us all alive.

Nathan Toohey,Mona ValeBRAVO ON A TALE OF OUR CITYTHANK you so much Robert Dillon for a great read inHard Yards. I enjoyed every page as a dyed-in-the-wool Knights fan and would like to make a small suggestion:that names were put under team photographs if you writeanother book.

I also love your weekly comments about our great team. I couldn’t get a copy at my local newsagent, so my son managed to get it for me on his computer and it came very quickly. I wholeheartedly recommend this book for any Knights fan.Well done, Robert.

Elizabeth Giles,AshtonfieldLETTER OF THE WEEKTHE pen goes to Geoff Black, of Caves Beach, for his letter on the logistics of the University of Newcastle’s plan to add new city campuses in the future.

Judge orders 30-year-old man to leave family home in New York after parents take him to court

Michael Rotondo, left, sits during an eviction proceeding in Syracuse, N.Y., brought by his parents, Mark and Christina, of Camillus. The two parents confer with their lawyer, Anthony Adorante, in the court gallery behind. Photo: Douglass Dowty /The Syracuse Newspapers via APA judge has ordered a 30-year-old man to move out of his parents’ house in upstate New York after they took him to court.
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Mark and Christina Rotondo filed a lawsuit against their adult son, Michael Rotondo, in a desperate last measure after he refused to leave the family home earlier this year.

Michael had lived with his parents for the past eight years, rent free, since he lost his job.

A letter from Michael’s parents asking him to move out. Photo: Supplied

The court case was a culmination of several attempts by his parents to kick him out through formal letters, payments and life advice.

In one letter, his father wrote “after a discussion with your mother, we have decided that you must leave this house immediately”.

“You have 14 days to vacate. You will not be allowed to return. We will take whatever actions are necessary to enforce this decision,” he wrote on February 2.

Another letter from Michael’s parents offering money and life advice in the hope he moves out. Photo: Supplied

According to reports of court documents, Michael did not help with chores or pay board and ignored other efforts to help him get back on his feet.

In a letter dated February 18, theRotondosoffered their son $1100 so he could ‘find a place to stay’ and also gave him some life advice including organisational skills, searching for jobs and selling valuable items to generate income.

But by the end of March it became clear to hisparents he would not leave and Michaelwas finally taken to the Supreme Court by his parents after all their other attempts failed.

TALK NOW: Today, a judge told Michael Rotondo it was time to stand on his own two feet. But the 30-year-old said he needs more time. When do you think a person should move out of their parents’ home? https://t苏州夜生活/p0n8Ran0t3#kwch12pic.twitter苏州楼凤/A1dls9WVSo

— KWCH Eyewitness News (@KWCH12) May 22, 2018

During the Supreme Court hearing, Justice Donald Greenwood tried to convince Mr Rotondo to move out for good on his own.

ButMrRotondo argued,as he represented himself in court, that he was entitled to stay for another six months until he found somewhere else to live.

Justice Greenwooddescribed the demand ‘outrageous’ and served him with an eviction order following a 30-minute court appearance.

A judge ordered Michael Rotondo, 30, to be evicted from his parents’ house at 408 Weatheridge Drive, Camillus, in New York state.

Buddy helping young Swans forwards fire

Sydney youngster Will Hayward says Lance Franklin inspires the AFL club’s young forward line.The formula that helps Sydney’s fresh-faced forwards find their feet at AFL level so quickly is simple: strong leadership and the tutelage of legend Lance Franklin.
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Franklin returned from a bruised heel last weekend and will spearhead the Swans’ push for a top-four spot on Saturday, when they face Brisbane at the Gabba.

However, the superstar’s three-week absence wasn’t the cause for crisis that many predicted.

Sydney recorded away wins over Geelong and Hawthorn during that stretch, with 19-year-old Will Hayward kicking three goals in each game. Ben Ronke, playing in his third match, booted seven goals against the Hawks.

Youngsters Isaac Heeney and Tom Papley have also been a regular source of goals for John Longmire’s team this year, while Oliver Florent and Robbie Fox have also stepped up in their second season at the club.

“Once you get here it doesn’t take long to realise what’s required to play. We’ve got some of the best leaders in the game and they really drive the standards,” Hayward told reporters on Thursday.

“It gives you no choice but to buy in, I think that’s why there is always a few young boys playing.”

Franklin’s words of advice – on the field and off it – have also helped.

“He’s unbelievable. He takes you under his wing, he’s really approachable,” Hayward said.

“Even when he wasn’t playing, he’d come into the rooms at halftime and talk to us. He always has an insight and his knowledge of the game is obviously second to none.

“Whether he’s playing or not, he’s such a great person to have around the club.

“I think I heard Benny Ronke saying (to Franklin that) you’ll be struggling to get a game if I’m kicking seven every week, it’s good that he’s back.”

The Swans’ forward line prides itself on applying fierce pressure, something Hayward suggested was also the Lions’ strength in their last-start upset victory over Hawthorn.

“They’ve obviously had a good win last week and that just makes us a lot more hungrier and eager to get up there and try to get the job done,” Hayward said.

“They’re playing really good footy.”

Westpac trading conduct ‘unconscionable’

Westpac has been cleared of manipulating a key n interest rate but the bank did engage in unconscionable conduct by trying to influence it, the Federal Court has found.
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Justice Jonathan Beach found corporate regulator ASIC had “not made out its case” that the bank engaged in market manipulation or market rigging.

However, he did find the bank engaged in unconscionable conduct four times in 2010, by trying to rig bank bill swap rates (BBSW).

“Westpac’s conduct was against commercial conscience,” the judge said in his ruling in Melbourne on Thursday.

“I agree with ASIC that such trading on the said four occasions is contrary to the statutory standard that all things be done to ensure that financial services are provided efficiently and fairly.

“None of Westpac’s conduct on the said four contravention dates could be described as fair.”

ASIC had accused the bank of engaging in misconduct and market manipulation to push the BBSW higher or lower between 2010 and 2012.

The BBSW is a key interest rate that affects the rate at which institutions borrow and lend money.

Justice Beach said the market manipulation or rigging alleged had not been made out but the unconscionable conduct to influence the rate was “deliberate”.

“Westpac failed to ensure its traders were adequately trained not to engage in trading with such a sole or dominant purpose,” he said.

“This should have been reinforced and stipulated to them orally and in writing.”

The judge found the bank contravened its financial services licensee obligations, by reasons of these inadequate procedures and training.

Justice Beach also noted traders such as Colin Roden were awarded “not insubstantial bonuses” at that time, and Westpac’s Group Treasury’s profit and loss was at least a factor in awarding those bonuses.

“Generally, Westpac’s bonus structure allowed for Group Treasury staff to earn many multiples of their base salary as a result of their financial performance,” he said.

However, the judge conceded it was another thing to say that traders engaged in manipulative trading.

“But I do agree that the financial incentives (albeit indirect as they are not directly referable to specific trading activities) are supportive of ASIC’s case.”

Westpac said in a statement it was committed to working with regulators in a constructive manner, “including when we have a genuine difference of opinion”.

“When that occurs our aim is to resolve the difference in an open, transparent and respectful way,” it said.

An ASIC spokesman lauded the judgment as a “very significant and positive outcome for the integrity of the n financial market”.

The three other big banks settled out of court over the same accusation of rate rigging but Westpac decided to fight on.

The size of any penalty is yet to be decided. Under the ASIC Act, one count of unconscionable conduct alone draws a $1.1 million penalty.

In May, CBA agreed to pay $25 million to settle action brought against it by ASIC over bank bill swap rates for attempting “to engage in unconscionable conduct”.

The amount is half that paid by rivals National Bank and ANZ in similar settlements related to alleged manipulation of the key rate.

Costs were reserved on Thursday, with parties to return to court at a date to be fixed.

Tension as NSW abortion bill debated

The proposed legislation would create a 150-metre exclusion zone around abortion clinics.Pro- and anti-abortion activists have gathered outside NSW Parliament as a bill to create “safe zones” around abortion clinics is debated.
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The proposed legislation, introduced to parliament last week, would create a 150-metre exclusion zone around clinics and make it an offence to film staff and patients without their consent.

Labor’s environment spokeswoman Penny Sharpe – who co-sponsored the bill with Nationals MP Trevor Kahn – told the crowd of supporters on Thursday that anti-abortionists are blocking paths, handing out misleading leaflets, jostling the women’s partners, and photographing and filming them.

“They basically they try and make it as difficult as possible for women to do the very basic thing which is seek medical treatment that is in their best interests,” Ms Sharpe said.

“They try to tell them that they are going to hell and that there will be moral and other spiritual consequences”.

But Bethany Marsh, from We Support Women NSW, is against the bill. She describes herself as a “sidewalk counsellor” – handing out pamphlets outside abortion clinics to help women in distress.

“I find women that enter the clinic are often doing it because some one is coercing them or forcing them into it, normally a partner or a parent,” she told AAP.

“We stand there peacefully with a pamphlet in our hands and if we see a woman in distress or in need of help then we just say ‘would you like some help?'”.

Fair Agenda campaign manager Alycia Gawthorne said the decision to have an abortion was between a woman and her medical professional.

“We think this is a matter of personal privacy and dignity and that women should be protected if they want to seek to terminate their pregnancy,” Ms Gawthorne told AAP.

The upper house is expected to vote on the bill on Thursday before it goes to the lower house in June.