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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 13 Hansard (7 December) . . Page.. 3939 ..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

The Minister is concerned that every disabled person may seek a "Rolls Royce service". Rest assured, the impaired and their families understand economic restraint. They expect no more than access to a VW service that will take them where they need to go, asking only that the vehicle be properly maintained. They take the long-term view - they know Volkswagen now owns Rolls Royce.

Despite broad recognition that national unmet demand for disability services exceeds $300M annually, the Minister appears to give no credence to any suggestion that a disability service could be outdated, inappropriate or ineffective. The Minister says, "decisions on service allocation must remain the responsibility of government and the service providers". As with the Stolen Generation, families of children with intellectual disabilities are told "trust us". The result of this trust is extremely disappointing: rising incidence of challenging behaviours and over-representation in prison populations, for example.

I feel Section 27, both in its current and proposed forms, discriminates against the most vulnerable members of our community. Normally, people accessing services are able to allege discrimination over unfavourable treatment. Section 27 singles out people needing special measures, those with the particular attributes referred to under the Act, and denies them protection from unfavourable treatment when they most need it, that is, when normal services are inadequate.

I ask that you reject the Discrimination Amendment Bill (No 2) and seek a more equitable revision of section 27.

That is a letter from Action for Autism, one of the many representations which I think members have received and which Mr Rugendyke referred to.

I think my proposed amendment, which comes from the Bill that I have introduced, is a more equitable revision of section 27. It is an appropriate message for us to send to service providers; that we do expect them to provide services to classes of people deserving or demanding of affirmative action without the protection of a provision that allows them and even, to some extent, encourages them to discriminate against individuals within that class of people whom they set out to serve. The amendment which I propose is equitable, fair and justified. It is the sort of response which the community, particularly those people who fall within those classes of people for whom affirmative action programs actually are prepared, deserves.

MR HUMPHRIES (Treasurer, Attorney-General and Minister for Justice and Community Safety) (10.25): I think in my in-principle speech I put the views of the Government fairly clearly. I do not want to go into great length about what Mr Stanhope has just said. I just want to make a few comments. First of all, while I do not suggest that Mr Stanhope or the person he quoted in his letter had deliberately set out to argue something that is not the case, it is easy to misunderstand the effect both of the Hill and

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