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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 3 Hansard (11 March) . . Page.. 832 ..

While I am on my feet, I might comment, as other members have, on Totalcare. Totalcare is not on a level playing field with other enterprises, mainly because working conditions and security of tenure of employment in the private sector have been eroded under so-called labour market reforms introduced by the current coalition government, in particular by Mr Tony Abbott and by Mr Peter Reith before him-two very generous souls on the political landscape!

We do face difficulties with the competitiveness of Totalcare, because to a large extent the competitive environment has changed significantly and, we would contend, not for the better. However, there will be, as there always is with this government, a real world dimension to what we do from this point on. We hope to be able soon to advise the Assembly of steps that are being taken.

I thank members for their support and commend the bill to the house.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill agreed to in principle.

Leave granted to dispense with the detail stage.

Bill agreed to.

Legislation (Gay, Lesbian and Transgender) Amendment Bill 2002

Debate resumed from 12 December 2002, on motion by Mr Stanhope:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MS DUNDAS (10.44): Mr Speaker, today we are debating the rights and responsibilities of people who live in the ACT. This is the first step in a longer process of examining the status of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people in the ACT. I have raised these issues on a number of occasions in this Assembly, and I am glad that through regular prompting the government's commitment to Canberra's queer communities is beginning to finally bear fruit.

The ACT was once at the forefront of GLBTI law reform. The Domestic Relationships Act 1995 was landmark legislation in Australia that gave same-sex couples rights in relation to property transfers and settlements for the first time. However, as other states have gone through law reform processes, the ACT has slipped behind and now lags behind more progressive states, particularly Western Australia and Tasmania. Similarly, New South Wales and Victoria have altered many pieces of legislation to address these issues, and Queensland has a bill before its parliament to do so as well. I notice that recently the South Australian government has begun a review of its legislation and is currently undertaking community consultations on the topic. The legislation we are debating today is long overdue in the ACT, and I hope that in the coming months the ACT will once again become a national leader in promoting equality for the queer community.

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