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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 08 Hansard (Tuesday, 5 August 2008) . . Page.. 2878 ..

Motion (by Mrs Dunne) agreed to:

That debate on the bill be adjourned to a later hour this day.

Parental Leave Legislation Amendment Bill 2008

Debate resumed from 26 June 2008, on motion by Mr Barr:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MR BARR (Molonglo—Minister for Education and Training, Minister for Planning, Minister for Tourism, Sport and Recreation, Minister for Industrial Relations) (4.29), in reply: In the absence of any comment from the opposition and the crossbench, I take it that there is unanimous support for this legislation. I am pleased that we are, as an Assembly, able to make a clear statement here in relation to removing discrimination against parents in same-sex relationships.

It is worth just reminding the Assembly that this bill amends the Discrimination Act 1991 to make it clear that parents in a same-sex relationship must not be discriminated against, especially in relation to parental leave. The bill also repeals the Parental Leave (Private Sector Employees) Act 1992.

I again remind members that the legislation was introduced to address concerns that the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission identified in the Same-sex: same entitlements final report. From an international inquiry into discrimination against people in same-sex relationships, this area of ACT law was identified as still containing discriminatory provisions.

The ACT government and the ACT Labor Party have a very proud record of removing discrimination against same-sex couples. This piece of work complements more than 100 pieces of legislation that have been amended over the course of the Stanhope government. We have a very strong view that all people in the ACT are entitled to equality before the law. This piece of legislation will ensure that parents in a same-sex relationship are not denied their rightful access to parental leave.

This is an important provision. It is worth noting that there are a large number, and a growing number, of parents in same-sex relationships. This continues to be an area of law that needs addressing at a national level. We very much look forward to the successful passage of a range of other important anti-discriminatory amendments in the federal parliament, but, for the purposes of today’s debate, I thank members for their implicit support by not being here for the debate. I hope that we will have the successful passage of this legislation.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill agreed to in principle.

Leave granted to dispense with the detail stage.

Bill agreed to.

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