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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 3 Hansard (11 March) . . Page.. 848 ..

I am not one for reviews and more reviews but, when people's lives are affected, I am. We need to take a step back from the emotion-we need to consider the people we are talking about now. As Mr Hargreaves said, it is about families-it is about mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, nieces, daughters and nephews.

My cousin and my nephew are homosexual. I live with it. I embrace people whoever they are and whatever they are-they do not need to be discriminated against. We certainly don't need to be rushing into any situation that may harm these people.

I don't believe the broader community has had sufficient time to come to terms with the ramifications of this bill, or even what is in it. As I say, I am concerned that, whilst our intention is to protect the rights for gay, lesbian and transgender people, we may have missed something along the way. Discrimination against any human being is wrong, and that must be addressed. The amendments put forward and the definitions up there must be sorted under law. These people have the right.

I would like to support the amendments put forward by the Liberal Party, in order to ensure the rights of married people, if you like-people's rights on all sides of this argument-so it does not become lopsided, the debates blurred and melded into one.

There are many complexities to the bill. Again, we must do it properly the first time. As I have said, I strongly support the issue going to a committee. Ms Tucker raised a point about further consultation at the next phase. My concern is that, if we set things in concrete right now, will that be too late? Will we have set a ball in motion that we will not pull back on? These are questions I am being asked too, Ms Tucker. This phase, for all concerned, will definitely impact upon the next phase. We must ensure we have the definitions right, to proceed fairly with the deeper issues.

Mr Speaker, I strongly recommend the amendments put forward by the Liberal Party. I urge this Assembly to think about the process going to a committee, so the amendments can be looked at and studied more, in their entirety.

MR CORBELL (Minister for Health and Minister for Planning) (11.51): This is an important reform, but I think it is important to refute some of the arguments from members opposite on process, as well as on key matters of principle.

Firstly, in relation to process, the assertion that there has not been enough time to consider this legislation is simply false. In fact, it is an insult to the 400 people who have taken the time to put forward their views, and made submissions on this legislation, to suggest this is being rushed through, that it is not being given adequate consideration, and that more time is needed.

If others are interested, there is still the opportunity to contribute, but do not devalue and debase the contribution made by those people who have taken advantage of the public consultation process. The Chief Minister tabled this legislation in December last year. In doing so, he made the point very clearly that it was a two-stage process-this bill would deal mostly with technical and procedural changes to remove discriminatory references in existing acts.

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