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Gladys slaps down Barnaby: ‘Abortion bill is NSW issue’

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has taken a veiled swipe at federal Nationals MP Barnaby Joyce over his involvement in the state's abortion debate.

Some NSW residents have received robocalls from Mr Joyce urging them to oppose a bill to decriminalise abortion ahead of a debate in the state's upper house on Tuesday.

In the call, Mr Joyce - who holds the NSW regional seat of New England - argues the draft legislation would allow abortions to be performed "for any reason" up to birth.

"Please don't #robocall me …," one recipient posted on Twitter. "Your opinion has been weighed, measured, and found wanting."

Ms Berejiklian on Tuesday took aim at the former deputy prime minister's involvement.

Pro-choice demonstrators rally outside NSW Parliament House before the bill is debated in the upper house. Picture: Brook Mitchell
Pro-choice demonstrators rally outside NSW Parliament House before the bill is debated in the upper house. Picture: Brook Mitchell

"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 has 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.

Hundreds of pro-choice activists rallied in Macquarie Street on Tuesday morning, with anti-abortion supporters to protest in Martin Place and hold a vigil outside parliament from 6pm.

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The private members bill to remove abortion from the state's Crimes Act, which passed the lower house 59 to 31, was last week considered by an upper house committee ahead of the debate.

MPs are preparing for a long session to deal with the legislation, with upper house opponents planning to table amendments.

Opponents of the bill are expected to table a list of amendments to the bill. Picture: Brook Mitchell
Opponents of the bill are expected to table a list of amendments to the bill. Picture: Brook Mitchell

Finance Minister Damien Tudehope will move to ban gender-selection abortions, while One Nation NSW leader Mark Latham will reportedly move to ensure medical professionals aren't forced to do anything they consider morally wrong.

Shooters, Fishers and Farmers MP Robert Borsak will also move to establish a joint committee inquiry into the bill.

Christian organisation FamilyVoice Australia believes the management of the bill has lacked due process and procedural fairness.

Some residents have reported receiving robocalls against the bill from federal Nationals MP Barnaby Joyce. Picture: Lukas Coch
Some residents have reported receiving robocalls against the bill from federal Nationals MP Barnaby Joyce. Picture: Lukas Coch

Some MPs have written to the premier seeking more time for the committee process but chair Shayne Mallard said the issue has been debated since the 1960s. "My personal view is that if we had six months we'd still have the same information. I can't see how anything would have changed," he told AAP.

Mr Mallard expected the committee's report would be tabled on Tuesday as initially planned, despite the inquiry receiving about 14,000 submissions. The Liberal MP had personally received 10,783 emails regarding the bill as of Monday afternoon.

The legislation is also opposed by Liberal MP David Elliott. Picture: Tim Pascoe
The legislation is also opposed by Liberal MP David Elliott. Picture: Tim Pascoe

It is opposed by several frontbench MPs including Dominic Perrottet, Anthony Roberts and David Elliott.

Opponents in the upper house include Christian Democrat Fred Nile, who previously described the bill as "a tyrannical piece of legislation that enforces secular morality on everyone".

- AAP

If the bill passes, it will remove abortion from the Crimes Act. Picture: Brook Mitchell
If the bill passes, it will remove abortion from the Crimes Act. Picture: Brook Mitchell
Pro-life and pro-choice rallies have been held outside Parliament House since the bill was first introduced. Picture: Brook Mitchell
Pro-life and pro-choice rallies have been held outside Parliament House since the bill was first introduced. Picture: Brook Mitchell