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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 07 Hansard (Tuesday, 22 June 2021) . . Page.. 1896 ..

I am confident that this motion will bring the benefits of this scheme to more Canberrans. The ACT government embrace and value ways in which we can improve our city. Bringing e-scooters to more Canberrans is a sure way to do that.

Amendment negatived.

Question resolved in the affirmative.


Motion (by Mr Gentleman) proposed:

That the Assembly do now adjourn.

Legislation—Crimes (Consent) Amendment Bill 2021

DR PATERSON (Murrumbidgee) (4.37): I wish to talk about a draft exposure bill I released publicly yesterday—the Crimes (Consent) Amendment Bill 2021. This is an important law reform regarding sexual consent. This bill introduces a communicative model of consent in the ACT, something that the community and stakeholders have been calling for. I commend Ms Berry, as Minister for Women, on her establishment of the ACT’s tripartisan, collaborative and coordinated sexual assault prevention and response program.

Law reform is one of the three important components of this program, the other two being prevention and response. The program will include a specific and dedicated focus on cultural change, community education and awareness across the three working groups. The purpose of the proposed legislative amendments is to introduce a new statutory definition of consent in line with contemporary and community standards and expectations—one that is based on free and voluntary agreement.

The amended definition brings about a more nuanced definition of consent, shifting it from a position of consensual sexual activity being something that is presumed and can be negated, to something that is unassumed and must be given. The amendments shift the current legislation from the point of sexual assault being a violent act to a much more nuanced and defined set of parameters, around which consent is and is not.

The bill outlines principles of consent in that every person has a right to choose whether or not they participate in a sexual activity, and it involves ongoing and mutual communication, decision-making and free and voluntary agreement between the people participating at the time of the act. The bill also provides a definition of consent—that is, freely and voluntarily saying or doing something to communicate agreement to the act at the time of the act. The bill clearly articulates a set of circumstances under which consent is not deemed given. This is a non-exhaustive list that has been updated from the current Crimes Act 1900. It changes the nuance of the set of circumstances to ensure that consent is something that is not assumed.

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