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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2016 Week 2 Hansard (16 February) . .

Page.. 397..


As I said most of the elements of this bill are not of concern. We will monitor the use of changes in language to take on the non-gender language, to make sure that it does not erode the principle of "mother" and "father" in our society. I reiterate that we will always argue for the maintenance of the important and meaningful terms of "mother" and "father" in important legal documents, particularly people's birth certificates.

MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo—Minister for Corrections, Minister for Education, Minister for Justice and Consumer Affairs and Minister for Road Safety) (11.15), in reply: The Justice Legislation Amendment Bill 2015 is a further step in the territory's commitment to supporting an inclusive and diverse community. The bill contains a range of provisions that recognise the need for people to have their identity recorded in a way that is appropriate and meaningful for them, while maintaining the integrity of government identity documents.

I would like to notify members that I have written to the Leader of the Opposition to advise of my intention to move three additional amendments, as Mr Hanson mentioned. I will come back to those in the detail stage of the debate, and I will provide some more information for members then. Those amendments make minor adjustments to the bill to address two conflicting parentage assumptions and clarify the example in section 8 of the bill so it is clear that the applicant is the one who decides whether their change of name appears on their birth certificate.

I would like to table an explanatory statement for the bill. This supplementary statement incorporates the three amendments that I have foreshadowed.

Moving to the amendments made by the bill, the bill contains a variety of amendments, with the common theme being representation of identity. A sense of our identity as an individual being represented appropriately, and the documentation of our relationship to other people, is important to us. It contributes to our sense of wellbeing, that we are seen for who we are, that our important relationships are acknowledged and affirmed.

Many people go about their day-to-day lives without needing to pay a great deal of attention to their identity documents. They may place their and their children's birth certificates in a filing cabinet without thinking very much about them. They may rely on their drivers licence when they need photo identification. If they get married they may choose to take their spouse's surname and undertake the process of taking an ACT marriage certificate to various institutions and government organisations. This bill will have no impact on those people.

This bill is aimed at assisting those who do not have these relatively easy experiences. As a consequence, some of the changes presented in the bill may seem minor, technical or unimportant to some. They are, however, of deep importance to those that need to use them.

Section 6 of the bill allows parents who have a valid parentage order in another Australian jurisdiction to apply to be the substitute parents of a child born in the ACT. The way the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Act currently stands, a set of


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