Page 1586 - Week 05 - Thursday, 2 June 2022

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Ms Clay: Either way. I asked which are, but whichever suits you.

MR STEEL: I will have to take that on notice. I expect there will be a very extensive list of parks that on there. I am happy to dig out that level of information. As I said I do not think it is necessarily a systemic issue. It is something that has arisen as a result of a change in custodianship.

LGBTIQ+ community—federal government

MS ORR: My question is to the Chief Minister. Chief Minister, the ACT has led the nation in many areas of reform for LGBTIQ+ Canberrans. How will the change of federal government lead to further opportunity for reform in this area?

MR BARR: I thank Ms Orr for the question. I think there are a range of areas where we can collaborate with the commonwealth to achieve further progress for LGBTIQ+ Canberrans. Some of those examples include following the ACT’s lead on legislating discrimination protections for LGBTI children and staff in education institutions. I think there is an opportunity to get a nationally consistent approach, looking at the ACT legislation as a potential template.

I think we can work together to improve access to gender-affirming care under Medicare for trans and gender-diverse Australians. I think we can work together to review and reform documentation requirements, including the use of passports and birth certificates as they affect trans and intersex communities. Importantly, also, we can look forward to the end of the culture wars and the attempts to use the LGBTIQ+ community—politically the trans community—as a political wedge, as we saw in the last federal campaign. It was all about creating division in the community—unnecessary division. I hope we will see that ugly chapter of Australian politics closed, and the door slammed shut on that forever—forever!—because those communities feel it so much, and they do not deserve to be used as political wedges.

MS ORR: Chief Minister, how did this divisive debate around trans kids and religious discrimination affect our community and the election outcome?

MR BARR: It is clear the people felt quite intensely that their lives and their personal circumstances were the subject of wedge politics with desire to run a particular debate with one candidate in one seat, who was never going to win, in order to try and shift votes, presumably under the assumption that the Australian people would buy into that sort of hatred. I think we can draw a conclusion from the failure of that political strategy, and hopefully it will never, ever be used again.

That was combined with what was a prolonged debate during the last federal parliamentary term over the Morrison government’s religious discrimination bill and the lead-up to the vote that was held. I want to acknowledge the courage of those Liberal MPs who crossed the floor to stop it happening. That took great courage, and I hope that we never again, as a nation, have to go through that ugly debate. Again, it was all about driving a political wedge of difference in the community.

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