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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 1 Hansard (10 February) . . Page.. 160..


MR STANHOPE (continuing):

Public Baths and Public Bathing Act of 1956. It is old, it is anachronistic, it is out of date and it is just past its use-by date.

You represent Brindabella and I have no doubt that your constituent's daughter uses the Tuggeranong pool. The Crimes Act applies to the Tuggeranong pool. The Tuggeranong pool is not covered by the Public Baths and Public Bathing Act, neither is the Belconnen pool, neither is the AIS pool and neither is the Kaleen sports centre swimming pool. They are all covered by the Crimes Act.

However, if you happen to swap from the Belconnen pool, where you are covered by the Crimes Act, to the Macquarie pool, two kilometres up the road, you are covered by both the Crimes Act and the Public Baths and Public Bathing Act. This bit of legislation is obsolete, it is unnecessary and it is useless and, had we picked it up in some other law reform process, namely our other statutory tidy-up processes, we would not be having this debate.

We are having this debate because it was caught up in a range of proposals in relation to the removal of discrimination against gays and lesbians. The mischief that has been caused as a result of that, the silly letters that I have been getting and the letters to the editor about us creating some sort of unisex public toilet policy, are a nonsense. You should stop it. You are creating a mischief and uncertainty and anxiety in the community that does not do you credit.

This is just getting rid of a bit of unnecessary law that is covered by the Crimes Act, and I am getting letters from people of the sort that you have just described, the sort that you are getting, expressing totally unnecessary anxiety. You have created completely unnecessary mischief and anxiety and that has been occurring only because this matter has been caught up in a law reform process dealing with the removal of discrimination against gays, lesbians, transgender and intersex people.

MS TUCKER (11.56): The Greens will not be supporting this amendment for the reasons that have been very clearly articulated by the Chief Minister. I think it is quite unnecessary to worry about this. I would be more inclined to worry about the thought of a woman going in with a six-year-old child who happened to be a boy and suddenly finding that the boy is liable, under strict liability, for a penalty for committing an offence. It is totally ridiculous.

There is, of course, the capacity for offensive behaviour to be dealt with. If people do not respect the convention that you do not go into the toilet or change room of the opposite sex and they are causing offence, then they can certainly be charged with that under offensive behaviour. Of course, nobody wants to see that happen, but it does not happen. It seems to be a convention that is pretty well understood: you go into the toilet of the sex to which you belong. I have not seen it to be a huge issue. I agree with the Chief Minister that this has been beaten up in a way that is unfortunate because it has alarmed people unnecessarily.

MR STEFANIAK (11.57): I thank members for their comments, even though I do not necessarily agree with everything that has been said. On this point, too, it is quite clear that the numbers are against this particular amendment.


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