The possibility of removing abortion from Queensland's criminal code all but disappeared this week when the state's opposition leader Tim Nicholls announced that "every single member" of his Liberal National Party would vote down proposed changes to the law.
Two abortion decriminalisation bills, which were introduced by independent Cairns MP Rob Pyne, were supposed to be debated on Wednesday, but Pyne withdrew them when he realised they had no chance of passing.
One of the most vocal opponents to decriminalisation has been Mark Robinson, LNP member for Cleveland, who called Pyne's bills "the most dangerous abortion law in the Western world".
Some Labor MPs claim Robinson was responsible for his party's decision to back down on offering all members a conscience vote on the decriminalisation of abortion.
In fact, they think Robinson threatened to defect to One Nation if his party didn't vote as a group against the bill to decriminalise abortion.
"This is [the opposition] falling over themselves to appease One Nation and stop people from defecting to the party," pro-choice Labor MP Steven Miles told BuzzFeed News.
"I think it marks a very dramatic shift to the right from the Liberal National Party."
"One of the most fierce anti-choice advocates within the LNP, Mark Robinson, he has had dinner with Pauline Hanson, he is friends [with One Nation Queensland MP Steve Dickson]," pro-choice deputy premier Jackie Trad told BuzzFeed News.
"He threatened to leave the party and join One Nation if the LNP didn't make sure these bills went down."
Trad said there were members of Robinson's party – "not many" – who supported decriminalisation.
"More importantly they represent electorates where an overwhelming majority of people support a modern abortion law framework."
Labor MP Shannon Fentiman added: "There are members of the LNP on the public record supporting law reform."
But Mark Robinson said the claim he was considering defecting was "a complete fabrication".
"Yes, Steve Dickson is a good mate of mine and, yes, I’ve had dinner with Pauline Hanson," Robinson told BuzzFeed News. "[But] I have never even considered leaving to One Nation," he said.
Last month Robinson spoke at an anti-abortion rally, March for Life, with Labor MP Rick Williams and One Nation federal senator Malcolm Roberts. Roberts told the crowd that the push for decriminalisation in Queensland had been prompted by the United Nations.
“We are the pinnacle of life on this planet and it starts at the moment of conception in a woman’s womb," Roberts said.
After Pyne's bills were withdrawn, Labor promised to introduce a bill to "modernise" the state's abortion laws, pending advice from the Queensland Law Reform Commission.
Gina Rushton is a breaking news reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Sydney.
Contact Gina Rushton at email@example.com.
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