Barnaby Joyce has defended his right to robocall voters on abortion after his unsolicited phone calls were slammed as “vile”, “sanctimonious” and “cooked”.
The former deputy prime minister tells families in the pre-recorded call: “Barnaby Joyce here. I’m calling on behalf of the Foundation for Human Development about the abortion bill in the NSW parliament. This allows sex-selective abortions. It legalises abortions for any reasons right up until the day of birth.”
Voters have taken to social media to vent their anger over the calls, describing Mr Joyce as a “morally corrupt little turd”.
“Back off Barnaby_Joyce. You don’t get to leave me unsolicited messages like that on my phone What’s your number, coward?” Dr Jennifer Wilson wrote.
“Who paid for Barnaby_Joyce to robocall us in NSW with false information about abortion? No woman wants to answer her phone & hear a man at the other end spewing that vile misinformation.”
One Twitter user, Betty G, wrote: “The re-traumatisation of couples that had to make the hard decision are never taken into account by the zealot.”
Another voters said: “What right does he have to tell women what they can and cannot do with their lives?” and another posted, “Did he not leave his wife and daughters to be with his pregnant girlfriend?”.
I feel like this is outright dangerous. When I had to face the option of a 20wk termination due to high risk T21, and with existing mental illness, something like this would have literally incited an episode of self harm
— 💧🌾 Candice Jodrell (@CandiceJodrell) August 20, 2019
What a morally corrupt little turd that guy is.
— Jason Schulze (@everyday_vet) August 20, 2019
The re-traumatisation of couples that had to make the hard decision are never taken into account by the zealots
— 💧BettyG (@greensinspa) August 20, 2019
NSW is the last state in Australia to remove pregnancy terminations from the Crimes Act.
Mr Joyce claims the new laws would allow abortion for any reason at any stage in pregnancy and is demanding the consideration be dumped or delayed.
“I have every right as a citizen, as a member of federal parliament, and a responsibility as a person who understands legislation to ensure there is a proper ventilation of both sides of this argument,” Mr Joyce told the ABC.
But his public meddling in the NSW debate sparked a rebuke from Premier Gladys Berejiklian.
“The NSW parliament is for NSW parliamentarians to get views from their communities, to look at their own consciences and vote accordingly,” she said.
“This is an issue for NSW MPs.”
Ms Berejiklian dismissed criticism from some MPs that the draft legislation had been rushed through.
“I have been in parliament for nearly 17 years and I can’t remember a bill having so much debate in the lower house,” she said.
The legislation has already passed the NSW lower house 59 to 31, last week and was considered by an upper house committee ahead of the debate.
About a third of NSW MPs remain opposed to decriminalising abortion and are waging a campaign to delay the proposals.
Finance Minister Damien Tudehope will move to ban gender-selection abortions and One Nation NSW leader Mark Latham wants greater protections for doctors to refuse to do abortions.
Several frontbench MPs, including Dominic Perrottet, Anthony Roberts and David Elliott, want abortion to remain a crime under NSW law or want the law amended so that late-term abortions are illegal and gender selection abortions are banned.
About 20 amendments are expected to the existing legislation, but it’s not clear if any have the numbers on the floor of Parliament to secure support.
The bill is likely to pass the upper house unamended because a majority of MPs support the move to decriminalise abortion.