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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 1 Hansard (16 February) . . Page.. 176..


Human rights—legislation

MS BRESNAN: My question is to the Attorney-General and relates to the human rights of the ACT's gender diverse community. Attorney, last February you received advice from the human rights commissioner about the provisions in ACT legislation regarding sex change. In November you made the commitment that, before the year was out, you would formally refer the issues to the Law Reform Advisory Council for inquiry. Attorney, given we are now in mid-February 2011, why has the referral not been made, and when are you going to do the referral?

MR CORBELL: I thank Ms Bresnan for the question. I have been in the process of consulting with the chair of the Law Reform Advisory Council, Professor Simon Rice, on the exact terms of reference for this inquiry. He provided me with his advice and, indeed, LRAC's advice on the proposed reference in December last year. Following my return to work earlier this year, I have now written to Mr Rice confirming the reference and the terms of reference.

I intended to announce that shortly, and the reference will then be able to be undertaken by LRAC. The advice from the Human Rights Commission will be made available to LRAC as part of its inquiry.

MR SPEAKER: Ms Bresnan, a supplementary?

MS BRESNAN: Attorney, can you please reconfirm that you will publicly release the commissioner's advice when you make the referral to the Law Reform Advisory Council and, if yes, how will it be provided?

MR CORBELL: I thank Ms Bresnan for the question. I will be providing the Human Rights Commission advice to LRAC, and I anticipate that LRAC will be making that public as part of their inquiry process.

MR SPEAKER: Ms Hunter, a supplementary question?

MS HUNTER: Attorney, what have you and your department done with the commission's advice since you received it 12 months ago?

MR CORBELL: I thank Ms Hunter for the question. Again, I have discussed with my department the issues raised by the Human Rights Commission's advice. I have also discussed the issues with stakeholders and people interested in this area of law reform and I have reiterated that I think it is important that, before we move any further in this area of law reform, we engage more broadly with the Canberra community about the issues that it raises. That is the purpose of the referral to the Law Reform Advisory Council, so there can be a public process that engages the broader community about the issues that arise around dealing with the discrimination that still exists in the law against that group of people, people who identify as cross-gender or, indeed, as another gender. That is something I am looking forward to LRAC's advice on.

MS LE COUTEUR: A supplementary, Mr Speaker.


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