Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 3 Hansard (11 March) . . Page.. 836 ..
demonstrate that to produce equal outcomes for the GLBTI community and to address their needs governments need to take into account the different circumstances and social situations that these groups suffer. Equality is not achieved by being blind to sexuality or gender identity differences.
Finally, I wish to thank all the members of the Canberra queer community for the information and feedback they have provided to me and my office in relation to these reforms. I would particularly like to thank Liz Keogh and all the other members of the Good Process group for their ongoing assistance. I note their attendance in the chamber today.
We need to continue GLBTI law reform, and we need to back it up with meaningful resources and programs to get real results for our queer communities. This legislation, while a commendable and an important first step, barely makes a dent in the real issues and the reality of the discrimination that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex Canberrans face today. I hope that the Assembly supports this small first step and that we can work on not just removing discrimination from our laws but removing discrimination from our society.
MR HARGREAVES (10.57): Mr Speaker, when I was 10 or 11, I went with my school to play football in a little township north of Perth called Gingin. After the game I befriended a crippled Aboriginal kid of my age. His name has gone into the mists of time, but I can recall thinking why this kid was sitting by himself when the two teams were somewhere else enjoying a post-match celebration. I sat and spoke to this kid for quite a while. I guess that was my first exposure to ostracism because of a difference. The kid was ostracised because he was Aboriginal and because he was crippled. I felt a discomfort about that.
In my early 20s I mounted a campaign against discrimination against Down syndrome kids. They used to be called mongoloids, you might remember. They were put in metaphorical cupboards because they were different, because they were monsters, because people were scared of them. People had the stupid idea that these kids were monsters. I recall seeing people recoiling from them on public transport. We now know, some 30 years later, that these people are the most affectionate, warm-hearted and innocent people in our society, and we warmly embrace them these days.
It took a long time for those prejudices to be overcome. It took a couple of brave people to stand up on behalf of these people and say, "I am not putting up with this bigotry. We do not have to do it. It is stupid. It is demeaning. It is wrong."That is what we are seeing here today-the ACT standing up and saying, "We are not putting up with this bigotry, this vilification."
Mr Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to speak in support of this legislation today. I believe that the Legislation (Gay, Lesbian and Transgender) Amendment Bill is one of the most significant pieces of legislation we have debated in this Assembly in recent years.
Today the ACT Labor government is introducing a range of essential reforms to the laws