Page 1817 - Week 06 - Thursday, 8 June 2023
particularly powerful moment of advocacy that has been recognised throughout the development of these protections. I would also like to thank the LGBTIQA+ rights organisations that have been deeply involved in this work for many years, including Equality Australia, A Gender Agenda, the LGBTIQ+ Ministerial Advisory Council, and Good Process. This work has been highly intersectional and it is a testament to the solidarity of our community.
For decades, the intersex community here in Canberra, across Australia and around the world have argued persuasively and consistently that the decision to undergo any kind of medical intervention to change their bodies should be made by the individual when they are able to provide informed consent and fully understand the implications. This is a pretty simple request but one that has been delicately and diligently legislatively thought out.
The bill before us is nuanced, careful and sophisticated. For this work, I congratulate the Chief Minister, the Minister for Health, the cabinet as a whole and the public servants who have worked for several years on these particular reforms. The open and comprehensive consultation process that led to these reforms has been frequently acknowledged by those with lived experience who have been involved in the development of this legislation, and it is testament to the commitment of the government to human rights and to protecting intersex people first and foremost.
I would also like to acknowledge the work of people with specialist medical knowledge who have contributed their skills and experience to developing this legislation and discussed how it can best be implemented in the contexts in which they work. I am sure that it has not been an easy task and one that is likely to have been confronting at times. Medical practitioners have faced difficult decisions and are also part of a society that holds conservative attitudes and ideas about how bodies should look and function. I recognise that these people consider that they have always acted in the best interests of their patients and their families. This legislation will support medical practitioners in this commitment by improving the decision-making processes for medical practitioners, as well as for parents, and assist them to navigate complex circumstances.
I would also like to especially acknowledge the experience of parents of intersex children, many of whom came to learn about variations in sex characteristics only upon the birth of their child. As a result of these reforms, parents will have increased information and support when learning about intersex variations and the needs of their children.
This legislation prioritises human rights principles, including bodily autonomy, the agency of young people and independent oversight. This is about protecting people from harmful practices and ensuring that we maintain the integrity of their bodies until such time when they can make their own decisions. In this way, in spite of what my Liberal colleagues may say, this law reform can actually be seen as conservative. We are conserving the decisions that people can make about their own bodies. It prioritises the rights of the individual and the individual’s right to their own autonomy.
Frankly, I am shocked and disappointed that the Canberra Liberals, given their alleged philosophical belief in the premise of the individual, have proposed an amendment