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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 9 Hansard (23 November) . . Page.. 2319 ..

MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):

In regard to the "X" classification, I am proposing that all depictions of sadomasochism, bondage, fetishism or non-consensual activity would be removed from the current "X" classification and placed into the refused classification category. The remaining material would then continue to be available on the same basis as at present. This classification would then allow only the explicit depiction of non-violent, legal sexual activities between consenting adults, which do not include images or language that demean women or men. It may be appropriate to rename this category of material as "E".

Mr Moore: That is crazy. There are none of those things in the current "X" category.

MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Moore interjects that there is no such thing in the current material. That is not true. There is sadomasochistic material in the present "X" category. There is bondage material, and there is fetishism material. There is the suggestion of non-consensual activity in that material. Mr Speaker, it is the removal of that material from the "X" category that is proposed in my proposition. However, Mr Speaker, it is just that - a proposal - at the present time, and I hope to advance it during the course of 1996. It is better to be discussed at future meetings of the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General. Mr Speaker, I commend the Bill to the house.

Debate (on motion by Mr Wood) adjourned.


MR HUMPHRIES (Attorney-General) (11.01): Mr Speaker, I present the Crimes (Amendment) Bill (No. 3) 1995, together with its explanatory memorandum.

Title read by Clerk.

MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Speaker, I move:

That this Bill be agreed to in principle.

Mr Speaker, "female genital mutilation" is a term used to describe a variety of ritual practices performed on girls and women in certain communities. Those practices range in severity from removal of the hood of the clitoris, commonly referred to as female circumcision, to the removal of almost all of the external female genitalia, a practice known as infibulation. When a girl or woman is infibulated, the two sides of the vulva are sewn together, leaving only a very small opening.

This Bill addresses all forms of mutilation. The word "mutilation" has now been defined in the Bill, but clearly the offence is directed at what the Macquarie Dictionary defines as "mutilation" - that is, it means to "injure, disfigure or make imperfect by removing or irreparably damaging parts". Accordingly, the practice of consensual "body piercing" female genitalia, for example, will not of itself be an offence.

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