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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 13 Hansard (Tuesday, 27 November 2018) . . Page.. 4886 ..


However, in moving quickly we have chosen to follow a safe and tested path, as the limited exception we have adopted in this bill is modelled on the law that has been in existence for many years in Tasmania. It is also important to note that whilst the focus of public debate has been, as it always tends to be, on discrimination on the grounds of sexuality and same-sex relationships, because people just cannot get enough of talking about our lives, the bill also provides greater protection for students and staff in religious educational institutions from discrimination on a much wider range of grounds.

These protected attributes include, as I have mentioned: race, sex, pregnancy, disability and attributes such as being divorced, separated or a victim of family violence. This reform to our Discrimination Act to provide greater protection against discrimination is part of the government’s broader commitment to human rights and to social inclusion and equality. It is a commitment that has been clear for as long as this government has been in office and, let me be clear, will remain and will be strengthened through this process and through the other processes that we will undertake in the years ahead. This is because this is just one step in a broader commitment to examine the exceptions framework under our territory’s Discrimination Act.

We are also committed to undertaking a full audit of ACT laws to assist us to eliminate any further areas of discrimination against LGBTIQ Canberrans in the territory’s statute books and to develop a reform package to address any matters identified. As a human rights jurisdiction, we have to ensure that the human rights of everyone in our community are reflected not just in law but in the day-to-day practice in our lives.

These changes echo the expectations of our community—the overwhelming expectations of our community. They are a statement in support and care of our young people, of families and of teachers. They also reflect the commitment of this government to our goal of Canberra being Australia’s most LGBTIQ welcoming and inclusive city, a clear goal that we are systematically eliminating discrimination in our community to achieve. In the ACT we recognise that inclusion benefits us all. It creates a strong, vibrant and harmonious community. It is a shared goal that we can all work towards. This bill is another important step towards inclusion and equality. I commend it wholeheartedly to the Assembly.

MR RATTENBURY (Kurrajong—Minister for Climate Change and Sustainability, Minister for Corrections and Justice Health, Minister for Justice, Consumer Affairs and Road Safety and Minister for Mental Health) (5.21), in reply: We are fortunate in the ACT to have the protection offered by a Discrimination Act that in many respects leads the way in Australian jurisdictions. The ACT was the first state or territory to provide protection from discrimination on the basis of a number of protected attributes, such as immigration status, genetic information and subjection to domestic or family violence.

The ACT was also the first state or territory to provide protection in our Discrimination Act for people who experience vilification on the grounds of their


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