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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 11 Hansard (Wednesday, 24 October 2018) . . Page.. 4158 ..


Mr Pettersson: What about teachers?

MR COE: With regard to teachers, I am not aware of any such circumstance, notwithstanding the fact that the Chief Minister did just give an example. I was not aware of that example, but I acknowledge that there may be others. From a personal understanding, I am certainly aware of many non-government schools where the opposite has taken place. I note that the Chief Minister made mention of the Canberra Grammar School, but I am aware of numerous other schools, and I expect there are dozens of occasions, where it has not at all been noteworthy and has gone under the radar without any attention whatsoever.

I note that the Prime Minister has recently said that the federal government will be seeking to prepare amendments to existing legislation to make it clear that no student in a non-state school can be expelled on the basis of sexuality. I know that these changes will be broadly supported amongst Canberra’s school community.

The opposition awaits the opportunity to view the final report from the expert panel into religious freedom at the commonwealth level. I take this opportunity to repeat what I have already said: that I think the vast majority of schools in the ACT, if not all, have been exemplary citizens in this space.

Religious schools, whether they be Islamic, Anglican, Catholic or any other faith, play a vital role in our community. We have to make sure that we support them in the work that they do. I think much of this motion that has been brought forward by Ms Orr, as significant as it is, is probably premature, given that we have not actually seen the report. But in light of that, we are happy to have this discussion today.

MR RAMSAY (Ginninderra—Attorney-General, Minister for the Arts and Cultural Events, Minister for Building Quality Improvement, Minister for Business and Regulatory Services and Minister for Seniors and Veterans) (11.48): I am pleased to support this motion. This is another opportunity to reaffirm our values as a government, as a party and as a community. Those values, I believe, are clear. We believe that all people are entitled to respect, to dignity and to the full protection of the law.

I thank Ms Orr for bringing on the motion today. It calls on us to resist the latest in a litany of inevitably futile attempts to roll back the groundswell of support for our LGBTIQ community. We will continue to work to eliminate discrimination in all its forms. We will continue to resist efforts to legitimise discrimination, whether it is because of a parliamentary vote or a postal ballot or under the pretence of enhancing freedom.

Madam Assistant Speaker, we are a strong community when everyone is valued, when everyone belongs, and when everyone has the opportunity to participate fully. Schools can play an absolutely critical role in shaping how our young people will go on to participate in society. They are, obviously, places of education, but they are also places where young people form their identity and develop their values, often lifelong


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