Page 1813 - Week 06 - Thursday, 8 June 2023

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Executive business—discharge of order of the day

Motion (by Ms Clay) agreed to:

That, pursuant to standing order 152, the order of the day be discharged from the Notice Paper.

Executive business—precedence

Ordered that executive business be called on.

Variation in Sex Characteristics (Restricted Medical Treatment) Bill 2023

Debate resumed from 22 March 2023, on motion by Mr Barr:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MS CASTLEY (Yerrabi) (10.29): I rise to speak on the Variation in Sex Characteristics (Restricted Medical Treatment) Bill 2023. This is a significant bill which establishes a new process for the approval of restricted medical treatment for people, children and adults under guardianship arrangements with variation in sex characteristics who lack the capacity to make their own decisions about treatment to their bodies. Fundamentally, this bill is about providing better care and support to intersex people and their families.

I think everyone acknowledges that mistakes were made in the past. In speaking to medical professionals in this area, they themselves acknowledge that things done 20 or 30 years ago would never happen now, and rightfully so. The wellbeing of people, especially children, should be at the forefront of everything we do in this place. While this is a very complex issue and there are varying views on certain aspects of this legislation, particularly the draft regulation, I think most people are broadly supportive of the intent of the bill.

The Canberra Liberals have a number of amendments which have been developed following extensive consultation, and I will speak to those amendments in more detail at the appropriate stage of this debate. I would like to thank the Chief Minister’s Office for the way they and their officials have engaged with us on this matter. It has been really wonderful. I would also like to thank the many individuals and organisations that we have met with and the many people with lived experience who have contributed to the development of this legislation. I would also like to thank Kelly from Ms Lee’s office and Liam from my office for the work that they have done. It has been wonderful.

As I said earlier, there have been some significant issues raised by stakeholders in our consultation on this bill. One of the areas of concern raised with us is the criminal penalties contained in the bill, including the impact that this could have on professional indemnity insurance costs for the medical specialists in this area. In this regard, I welcome the assurances from the government that the penalty provisions will be applied only for the most serious offences and offenders. However, the most

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