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Inside the Politics of Abortion Law Reform

Alex Greenwich MP, Penny Sharpe MLC, Senator Mehreen Faruqi, Felicity Wilson MP & Trevor Khan MLC

Discover the political and campaign machinations behind the successful passage of The Abortion Law Reform Act 2019 featuring insider accounts from the key players who got it over the line.

Hosted by Wendy McCarthy AO. 

In the Yallamundi Rooms


“No longer will women be criminalised for making that choice and that’s a wonderful thing.”

Jo Haylen MP

trust the women

In September 2019, a cross partisan effort saw the New South Wales parliament overturn a 119-year-old law and pass a historic bill decriminalising abortion. Get a look behind the curtain on all sides of politics, offering insight into how this historic legislation came to pass in a full fledged democratic parliament, after the Premier proposed a conscience vote, and how close it came to falling apart. This is the first time the key players will speak together in a public forum about the campaign, the Bill and its impact. The legislation was put into immediate effect, and the NSW Department of Health worked quickly to operationalise outcomes for the benefit of all women in NSW.

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Alex Greenwich MP

Alex Greenwich MP is the Independent Member for Sydney in the New South Wales Parliament. First elected in 2012, he is committed to working towards a liveable, sustainable, and progressive Sydney for all, supporting and celebrating Sydney’s diverse communities. Alex was the co-chair of the successful YES campaign that delivered marriage equality in 2017, a movement he lead for over a decade. He is the author of “Yes, Yes, Yes: Australia’s Journey to Marriage Equality”. In 2019 Alex introduced the co-sponsored Reproductive Healthcare Reform Bill which decriminalised abortion in NSW. 

Penny Sharpe MLC

Penny Sharpe was elected to the NSW Legislative Council in 2005. Penny is the Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the NSW Legislative Council and Shadow Minister for Family, Community Services and Disability Inclusion. Penny has also been the interim Leader and Deputy Leader of the Opposition, the first MLC to hold these positions. Advancing reproductive rights is one of the reasons Penny entered Parliament. In 2018 she was successful in co-sponsoring a bill to put in place safe access zones around abortion clinics and most recently was one of 15 co-sponsors to successfully decriminalise abortion in NSW.

Senator Mehreen Faruqi

Mehreen Faruqi is the Greens’ senator for New South Wales. She is a civil and environmental engineer and life-long activist for social and environmental justice. In 2013, she joined New South Wales Parliament, becoming the first Muslim woman to sit in an Australian parliament, introducing the first ever bill to decriminalise abortion in the state and winning the closure of workplace pregnancy discrimination loopholes. In 2018, Mehreen joined the federal Senate, where she has continued her work as an unapologetic feminist, anti-racist, and passionate advocate for public education, social housing and animal welfare. 

Felicity Wilson MP

Felicity was first elected as the State Member for North Shore in April 2017 and serves in the NSW Parliament as part of Gladys Berejiklian’s Liberal Government. Her first priority in the Parliament is to be a strong local voice for North Shore. She also serves as an Acting Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, and is responsible for the scrutiny of all legislation presented to the NSW Parliament as Chair of the Legislation Review Committee.

Wendy McCarthy AO

Wendy McCarthy AO is an experienced executive and company director who began her career as a secondary school teacher. She moved out of the classroom into public life in 1968 and since then has worked for change across the public, private and community sectors, in education, women’s rights, public health, overseas aid and development, media and the Arts. Wendy was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia for outstanding contributions to community affairs, women’s affairs and the Bicentennial celebrations, and received a Centenary of Federation Medal for business leadership.  Most recently, in a special edition of Who Mattered in 2019, The Sydney Morning Herald named Wendy as one of the people defining Australia right now. 

Trevor Khan MLC

The Hon. Trevor Khan MLC was first elected to the Legislative Council in March 2007, and is the current Deputy President and Chair of Committees. After being elected to the Legislative Council in March 2007, Trevor Khan has held several significant parliamentary positions including his appointment as Chair of the Legislative Council’s Privileges Committee, Chair of the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters, and currently as the Deputy President and Chair of Committees of the Legislative Council. Trevor Khan is passionate about the future of his community and believes that each community should possess a high level of basic services including education, health and law & order. 

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