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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 10 Hansard (28 August) . . Page.. 2990 ..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):


"That this Assembly notes that the Government has undertaken a full review of all ACT legislation to identify provisions discriminatory to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people and is compiling a report on the necessary steps to achieve equal status for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people in the ACT and the Government will provide a copy of the report to the Assembly by 1 May 2003. The report will include but is not limited to:

(No 2) Delete clause (8), substitute the following clause:

"The Assembly also notes that a necessary step to the achievement of equal status will be community participation in the process of identifying and removing discriminatory legislation and practices.".

These amendments acknowledge that the government and the department have been working assiduously on this task for months. Officers within the department have devoted enormous resources to a review of every single statue on the statue book of the ACT. Through that review, they have identified about 70 acts and regulations that require serious assessment. I am happy to provide for the information of members and for consideration within the Assembly amendments to about 39 acts and regulations, and we will develop a detailed discussion paper in relation to proposed amendments to an additional 30 acts and regulations.

MR HUMPHRIES (Leader of the Opposition) (5.13): Mr Speaker, I can indicate that the opposition will support the amendments. As a result the motion, as amended, will become a motion which essentially notes the government's progress in developing this report and notes that there will be a process of community participation in following up the report, in a range of areas the motion refers to, to identify and remove discriminatory legislation and practices.

Let me indicate clearly what our view about this matter is. We believe that legislation in the ACT should appropriately prevent discrimination against people on the basis of their sexual orientation; that discrimination of that kind is contrary to principles of liberalism that suggest that people should be free to express and to do as they wish, provided that their actions do not prevent other people in the community from being able to exercise similar freedoms. The sense of the supremacy of individual choice is the concept which I think militates in favour of removing discrimination in general terms against people of different sexual orientation to ensure that those people enjoy the same freedoms as other people in the community.

Mr Speaker, we support the general principle. In particular, we support the idea that measures in ACT laws at present which humiliate or denigrate what I will summarise in this debate as non-heterosexual people are unacceptable and should be removed from the statute book.

The Liberal Party's record on this issue in government has been fairly clear. During my time as Attorney-General I introduced legislation to extend the rights of people in de facto relationships. Earlier legislation was extended so that people in de facto relationships, including same-sex couples, would have fair distribution of property at the end of a relationship such as at the death of one of the parties. That issue was an

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