Page 274 - Week 01 - Thursday, 10 February 2022

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The young people who took this case against Sussan Ley represent thousands of young Australians politicised by the self-interested and short-sighted decisions made by people in positions of power over the last 200 years. I am proud, through my representation of the Greens, that I am part of a global political movement for change that supports the rights of young people and of future generations. This includes the bill that I have tabled with my colleague Andrew Braddock to expand voting rights. This work and the motion Ms Clay is tabling today neatly demonstrate how the four pillars of the Greens—ecological sustainability, grassroots participatory democracy, social justice, and peace and non-violence—are inherently interconnected and interwoven.

As someone whose motivation to join and support this party rests in the interconnection between social and environmental justice, I also see the right to a healthy environment as a class issue. We know that the poorest people are the most affected by environmental damage. Even in affluent cities such as ours, people on low or no incomes and those experiencing homelessness are the most exposed to air pollution, severe weather events and heat. Understanding that a healthy environment is a human right centres the whole community’s interest in the protection of the city in which we live. It undermines the trend towards the privatisation and commercialisation of public spaces by reaffirming that the space we live in belongs to all of us.

This motion demonstrates the power of the Greens in government and the role of a robust human rights system. Reinforcing the importance of a robust human rights system and the ACT’s renowned human rights framework feels particularly pertinent to underline today, while we see human rights potentially degraded and demolished in the federal parliament. I look forward to following the government’s work in this space, and I once again commend Ms Clay for her motion.

MS CHEYNE (Ginninderra—Assistant Minister for Economic Development, Minister for the Arts, Minister for Business and Better Regulation, Minister for Human Rights and Minister for Multicultural Affairs) (3.55): On behalf of the government, I am pleased to speak in support of this motion, which affirms the commitment in the parliamentary and governing agreement, as Ms Lawder pointed out, and helps us outline the work that is already underway.

As has been noted, the ACT is a leading human rights jurisdiction. Ours was the first jurisdiction in Australia to introduce a Human Rights Act, and since then we have continued to strengthen that act, amending it to include cultural rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, the right to education and the right to work. As we have added to our Human Rights Act we have backed this up with action, because these rights are not just words on a page; they guide the government in everything we do so that we can promote equality, dignity and justice for all Canberrans.

One of the legislative reform commitments in the parliamentary agreement for the Tenth Legislative Assembly is to consider introducing the right to a healthy environment into the Human Rights Act 2004 and to look at rights of nature. This commitment follows strong action that the ACT government has already taken to

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