Geoff Shaw

Victory! Premier blocks maverick MP's attack on reproductive rights

CAMPAIGN UPDATE: Premier Napthine has told media that "while I am Premier, I will now allow Mr Shaw to introduce any legislation seeking to change abortion laws in Victoria". It's a great win - congratulations to everyone who was involved in the campaign!


Earlier this month Shaw announced his intention to introduce "radical proposed changes to abortion legislation” in the Victorian Parliament.[1] Since Shaw’s vote helps keep the Coalition Government in office, without clear opposition from both major parties, these proposals posed a real threat to reproductive rights in the State.

Opposition Leader Daniel Andrews had said Mr Shaw was "off the reservation" on the issue,[2] but Premier Napthine hadn't ruled out any changes to Victoria's abortion laws. 

Last month Geoff Shaw travelled to the United States on an abortion focused study tour, to learn more about laws in different American states. Shaw's proposals could have seen Victoria become a testing ground for a US style attack  strategy in Australia.

Premier Napthine's commitment is an important victory for Fair Agenda members across Australia, and women's rights organisations across Victoria, who came together to pressure the Premier in the wake of Geoff Shaw's threats. 

But we know that this won't be the last attack on our reproductive rights. If you'd like to be involved in future campaigns on this and other issues, you can join Fair Agenda at:

Find out more

Victoria's current abortion law was vigorously debated in the community, and settled in the Parliament in 2008. Despite this, Mr Shaw had said he would push for 'six radical changes to the state's abortion laws', including the introduction of anti-choice 'counselling' - all of which were debated and rejected by the Parliament in 2008, and sound eerily reminiscent of similar attacks deployed in the US.

As a December 2013 Newspoll shows: 85% of Victorians support a right to choose, including 77% of Coalition voters. We don't want US style politics imported here. The polls show any changes to the law could threaten the Liberals' re-election hopes, with 48% of Victorians saying they are less likely to re-elect the Liberal Government if laws were introduced making it harder for women to access abortion.[3] 

Since Mr Napthine's statement Mr Shaw has conceded having the issue debated in parliament will now be difficult.


[1] Herald Sun, Geoff Shaw's abortion shock for parties, 7 May 2014.

[2] Herald Sun, Geoff Shaw's abortion shock for parties, 7 May 2014.

[3] Newspoll Survey, Victoria, December 2013

Image credit: Sky News

To Victorian Premier Denis Napthine,

We call on you to guarantee there will be no changes to Victoria's abortion laws.


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