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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: Week 1 Hansard (15 February) . .

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vilification laws to the ACT statute book to make sure that there was a provision there, because there had been some lack of clarity in the previous interpretation of the anti-discrimination laws around those particular forms of behaviour. That was unanimously supported in this place. It was one of those very welcome moments; unfortunately those things are often not celebrated. So much of political reporting is about differences. It was a great moment where everybody in this place recognised that this was a positive thing to do, and I was very pleased about that. There was a good discussion in the Assembly.

Since then, I have been subjected to a torrent of online abuse from people who want to be able to attack Islam and Muslim people. A lot of the material is extremely offensive and constantly contains abuse and worse. I am fortunate that I am an elected member and I am in a privileged position where I am able to turn off some of those media comments and social media comments and mute them, ignore them. I start off by trying to have some discussion with people and it quickly descends into a lot of quite offensive material.

It was illustrative of the willingness of some people in our society to use the anonymity of social media in particular to be extremely hateful, hurtful, divisive and discriminatory. There is a series of terms that can be used to describe some of the content. As I say, I feel quite fortunate that I do not have to live that every day in the way that some people do. You can only imagine what it must be like for people of Muslim faith who openly express their religion through the way they dress and other elements of their religious beliefs to be subjected to that sort of offensive conduct on multiple occasions.

I feel very fortunate that here in the ACT we have been able to strike the right balance. I urge Mr Ruddock, in conducting his inquiry, to reflect on the fact that here in the territory we believe we have provided a good model of how one can balance these sometimes competing rights. I would be disappointed if this inquiry, which was started in the context of the immediate aftermath of the successful marriage equality vote, were to be seen as a way to unpick some of that equality that has been hard fought for and won through that postal survey process. I hope that the inquiry reflects very carefully on the model that the ACT has been able to achieve and perhaps promote it as something that the federal government might look at more closely.

Discussion concluded.

Standing committees—membership

MR WALL (Brindabella) (4.18): I move:

That:

(1)

Mr Parton be discharged from the Standing Committee on Environment and Transport and City Services and Miss C. Burch and Ms Lawder be appointed; and.

(2)

Ms Lawder be discharged from the Standing Committee on Planning and Urban Renewal and Mr Parton be appointed.

Question resolved in the affirmative.


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