Page 1304 - Week 04 - Thursday, 5 May 2022
This legislation makes it clear that, whatever the relationship is between two people, consent must be sought and it must be freely given.
Sexual violence comes from a world that enables sexism. They are not the same thing, but they are on a spectrum. Sexual violence does not happen in a vacuum. It is at the pointy end of a culture that says men are worth more than women, boys will be boys, and being assaulted is a risk women should accept and take steps to avoid. A system of law that does not recognise positive consent is part of that culture. It is a system that says it is up to the victim to stop the crime, rather than it being up to the perpetrator to not commit the crime.
Lately we have heard from so many women who have told us that they have been assaulted. They have told us that not only did these things happen and not only did they happen a lot and not only did the perpetrators get away with it but our society helped those perpetrators. It was normalised. These people have shared how colleagues, bosses, institutions, workplaces and our culture backed perpetrators, not victims. So did our laws and our institutions.
In my very short political career, I have been contacted by constituents who have, extremely bravely and extremely generously, told me exactly how this has happened to them. It is horrifying. It is something I am grateful for them sharing with me, though. It is so important for a new politician to hear directly about this from women who have experienced it. Not everyone can talk about it, and I really, really thank those who have come and spoken to me about it.
These issues are really important and they should not be political. Women’s safety and gender equality are too important to politicise. I am really pleased to be part of an institution that is getting together and working on this problem. I am glad to see the reform work from Minister Berry. I am really, really pleased to see this bill from Dr Paterson. I am happy to see my Labor colleagues and my colleagues in the Liberals working on this great work. I am really pleased that we are progressing another parliamentary and governing agreement item that was a Greens election commitment. I think Caroline would be really, really pleased with this outcome today.
It is beyond time that we had these laws. I am still really angry that we need these laws. I look forward to the day, very soon, when we no longer need these laws and they just do not make sense anymore because we do not need them. But we need them now. We have needed them for a long time and I am really, really glad that after today we will have them. Sex requires positive consent. Failure to get that is unacceptable. I am so, so sorry for anyone who needed this before and did not have it. We will do better in the future than we have done in the past.
DR PATERSON (Murrumbidgee) (4.04), in reply: I would like to start today by thanking colleagues for their contributions to this debate. I am happy to close debate on the in-principle stage of the Crimes (Consent) Amendment Bill 2022. I take the opportunity to table a revised explanatory statement to the bill.
I am proud to stand here today, representing the people of Murrumbidgee and Canberra more broadly, to effect positive change for our community. I firstly want to