Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 10 Hansard (Thursday, 7 October 2021) . . Page.. 2937 ..
other measures, including community education about what constitutes sexual abuse. In this way we can foster critical cultural change.
I thank Ms Lee for developing and introducing this bill, and I look forward to working with Ms Lee, Dr Paterson, other Assembly colleagues in all parties, and key community stakeholders, to further develop our response to address and prevent sexual violence in the ACT community.
MS BERRY (Ginninderra—Deputy Chief Minister, Minister for Early Childhood Development, Minister for Education and Youth Affairs, Minister for Housing and Suburban Development, Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence, Minister for Sport and Recreation and Minister for Women) (5.29): As members will know, the government has made a clear commitment to take action on preventing and responding to sexual assault in the ACT. I am taking action in solidarity with a movement for women’s justice. I note that other women in this place, and men too, are doing that as well. We are doing that to really bust down those barriers and remove the inequality that forms those domineering and dominating power experiences that lead to rape in our community.
I acknowledge that this is an issue that affects everybody, and it is much bigger than politics. That is why I have strived to keep it that way. It is why I am proud to be working closely across party lines to deliver a tripartisan approach on the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program. The ACT is the only jurisdiction in Australia that has made this commitment—something we can all be proud of.
It is great to see so much involvement and passion coming from Ms Lee about the reality of sexual assault in our community. This bill, which raises important community awareness about the crime of stealthing—the non-consensual removal of a condom during sex—is an example of her commitment to working through these deeply intersectional and gendered issues, and I thank her for bringing this bill to the Assembly.
I have no doubt that this bill plays a part in the whole program of work to prevent and respond to sexual assault, as well as progressing the parliamentary agreement commitments to reform consent laws and related sexual assault law reform.
This year, as colleagues know, I established the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program, which has been led by the community and sector experts. I have been keeping my Assembly colleagues regularly updated on how this work has progressed, including through this outbreak of COVID-19 in the ACT. I would like to acknowledge and thank everybody who has participated in those working groups, volunteering a lot of their own time. They have continued that work even through this difficult time.
Ms Lee’s presentation on the Crimes (Stealthing) Amendment Bill 2021 has been presented to the Law Reform Working Group. This has formed part of the work on reviewing the current legislative framework for consent more generally in the ACT. This larger piece of work undertaken by the Law Reform Working Group has appropriately included consideration of Dr Paterson’s Crimes (Consent) Amendment