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Australian Politician Links Abortion With Population Decline



Independent Northern Territory politician Gerry Wood has linked the number of abortions in the jurisdiction to the loss of millions of dollars in GST revenue.

In March, the Commonwealth Grants Commission cut the Territory's GST share by $269 million for the 2017/18 financial year.

About $77 million of that money was related to a reduction in the Territory's share of Australia's population growth.

Mr Wood, who has long campaigned against the termination of pregnancies, again raised the issue during a parliamentary debate about the Territory budget.

"We lose 600 to 1, 000 people (each year) through abortion, " the Member for Nelson said.

"And people will laugh at me, I've raised it before: why don't we help promote people go through with pregnancy? Why don't we look at adoption?

"Regardless of your opinion, you do reduce one quarter of your population, and yet we've got a declining population.

"And if you looked at alternatives to helping people, we may have some of those increases in population growth."

The Northern Territory was the last jurisdiction in Australia to legalise the use of abortion drug RU486, a bill that passed with broad bipartisan support.

Attorney-General Natasha Fyles, who oversaw the decriminalisation of abortion in the Territory in March, cautioned against linking the two issues.

"I think it would be very important as parliamentarians that we don't allow emotive issues like this to come into play when talking about issues such as GST cuts, " she said.

"We need to clearly separate, we need to make sure in the Northern Territory as a Government, and we have done so in delivering contemporary termination of pregnancy legislation for women, for Territorians, if they are to make choices about their bodies."

Mr Wood said the Government should also look at encouraging more people from interstate and overseas to move to the Territory to boost its population.