Gladys Berejiklian’s trade tour to Europe has been dominated by local issues at home.
Gladys Berejiklian’s trade tour to Europe has been dominated by local issues at home.

Abortion debate dominates Premier’s London visit

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has denied she was taking an optimistic view that gender selection abortions would not happen under proposed new laws.

Ms Berejiklian's trade tour to Europe, which included a signing of a deal with BAE Systems in London for investment in the new Western Sydney airport, has been derailed by a public revolt at home.

The Premier was asked tonight about a report from Victoria's La Trobe University that cited as many as 300 cases of girls who were not born because of gender selection.

Ms Berejiklian denied she was being optimistic that this pattern may not happen in New South Wales.

"We take the best advice possible but can I want to assure the community that nobody supports that, nobody," Ms Berejiklian said.

"And we will do everything we can to make sure it remains illegal in New South Wales.

"But of course we'll also take the best advice we have as well."

Gladys Berejiklian’s trade tour to Europe has been dominated by local issues at home.
Gladys Berejiklian’s trade tour to Europe has been dominated by local issues at home.

Ms Berejiklian's European trade visit, which also includes a leg in Germany, has been dominated by local issues.

She has been criticised by members of her own party, and some minor party MPs have called the handling of the debate as sneaky.

Police Minister David Elliott said in a Facebook post that he had received more than 350 messages of concerns about the abortion laws, slamming the way it was handled.

Ms Berejiklian would not be drawn on Mr Elliott's comments, but added there were "emotions" on the issue.

Senior Liberal figure Warren Mundine has compared the crisis surrounding the abortion bill to former premier Mike Baird's handling of the greyhound ban.

But Ms Berejiklian has stood by the legislation, which was expected to voted on in the upper house in the coming weeks, following the outcome of a review.

"There will be no gender selection in New South Wales. It's abhorrent," she said.

"Even to suggest that people think that's ok, isn't ok. I'm one of three daughters."

Earlier in the trip, Ms Berejiklian was determined to talk about trade and jobs as she attended a function at Stoke Lodge, the Australian High Commissioner George Brandis' official residence in London early on Monday, Sydney time.

Ms Berejiklian denied that she had a secret deal with independent MP Alex Greenwich who put up the private members' bill, and deflected questions about why she did not flag the issue before the election.

"I was asked about it during the election, I didn't speak about it because it's not government policy. It wasn't my policy," she said.

"It was an independent member that brought it forward but of course every member is obliged to vote."

Stephen.drill@news.co.uk



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