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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 2 Hansard (21 February) . .

Page.. 447..


Looking more broadly at the issue of consent, the #MeToo hashtag is a symbol of a cultural shift in attitudes towards women's rights and sexual consent. Unsurprisingly there are now consent apps. Of course there are pluses and minuses to them. Generally they ask parties to consider a range of issues such as contraception and STDs before the sexual encounter. This is a good thing and can only improve sexual relations and outcomes.

The problem, though, with these apps is that they can give you the impression that you can have binding contracts before having sex and completely miss out on the complexity of sexual consent. Sexual consent is not the same as a contract. You cannot just get someone to sign a piece of paper or tap their phone and then a day or even an hour later say, "Ah ha, you agreed to this legally." Consent in this field can be revoked at any time for any reason, and that is the point.

If we approached consent exclusively through a contractual lens we would still have legal marital rape. I hope that we, as a society, have moved past this point and I hope these app-makers are sufficiently aware of what consent is that they will think harder about possibly harmful apps and start working with sexually active people and survivors of unwanted sexual activities as well as community organisations and lawyers to make better ways to promote informed and positive consent.

Of course tackling issues around sexual consent needs more than legislative change. It needs cultural change. There is plenty of research that says educational campaigns about gender, sex, consent and respectful relationships are far more important and effective at preventing sexual assault than the criminal justice system. So we will be working with the government and community to ensure that the education campaigns that Minister Ramsay kindly committed to last year are rolled out. As part of this, it is vital that respectful relationships education provided in schools includes discussions about what consent is and is not.

Along with this exposure draft bill, I have also circulated an explanatory statement and, equally importantly, a discussion paper which I hope and anticipate the community and stakeholders will engage with. In this way we can be assured that the final bill presented to the Assembly will have undergone detailed consideration, in-depth analysis and extensive consultation, as was recommended by the Human Rights Commission.

We must ensure the voices of concerned community members are captured and to that end we are able to move forward with best practice legislation that leads the country. The time for reform in this area is now and I am pleased to be able to table the exposure draft and its associated documents in the Assembly today in order to further this process.

Economic growth

MR PETTERSSON (Yerrabi) (10.10): I move:

That this Assembly:

(1) notes the recent economic data highlighting the strong performance of the ACT economy, including:


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