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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 3 Hansard (11 March) . . Page.. 846 ..

being called a racist; if you criticise the women's movement, you are a chauvinist; and if you make a comment about gays and lesbians, you are homophobic, irrespective of the merits or fairness of the case. We have already heard much of this unfounded and, I believe, undemocratic bias, and this denial of free speech, in aspects of today's debate-and no doubt we will hear more.

I am concerned that many of the comments made completely ignore the views of the electorate-the majority of the people out there. Unfortunately, in this chamber, Mr Speaker, the majority of the electorate are generally ignored unless, of course, governments-I use the plural here-need to raise additional finance. Then the majority of the people suddenly assume great importance.

However, in the case of the matter before us today-the Legislation (Gay, Lesbian and Transgender) Amendment Bill 2002-I doubt that the majority of the majority of residents really care about the issue-not that they have been consulted to any great degree. As we know, the consultation process took place in December. That is a very well-known month for slipping things through-when everybody is tied up with Santa Claus, Christmas and preparing for a couple of weekends down the coast in January. This is a time-honoured ploy-by governments and by the bureaucracy-to put forward matters of importance to the community when we all know the community is going to be distracted.

I further doubt, however, that the majority of the majority of residents, despite what has been said here, truly really practise the discrimination made so much of by members today. I simply do not believe that they see or practise discrimination in these areas anything like the stalking horse constructed here today in this debate.

However, this lack of concern about the issue-the lifestyles of a minority of their fellow residents-does not mean that the interests of the majority of citizens should be overlooked, or ignored, in this matter. Hence my concern about the legislation and the fact that the matter for discussion was introduced in December-and now I find there were 14 pages of amendments tabled this morning by Ms Dundas; 12 pages of government amendments, delivered to me yesterday at 4 pm, from the Attorney-General-and another 14 pages from the government arrived this morning. We are being asked, members, to rubber-stamp something like 40 pages of amendments because all of us in here justifiably wish to remove discrimination in this area.

I am sorry, but I am not prepared to rubber-stamp them. No matter how justified the motives for this legislation are, I am not prepared to blindly rubber-stamp them. There is a second reason. This is only the first of two pieces of legislation relating to the whole matter. I understand the second piece of legislation will be introduced later this year.

We are being asked to accept this legislation before us today without question, with its amendments, simply because it is the right thing to do. I put to you that we will be failing in our duty as legislators if we do not examine this legislation and the amendments being put forward carefully and thoroughly. I would therefore support any motion to refer this matter to a committee for careful and deliberate examination.

I believe reference to the committee will also give the opportunity to address, in a more detailed way, definitions that have been put forward. This is important because the

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