Page 3294 - Week 08 - Wednesday, 22 August 2012

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have a think about the detail and consider whether it warrants being pushed through this week. We should not prevent the minister from at least tabling the bill and giving the presentation speech. I think it is entirely appropriate that we proceed down that path tonight.

As I have said publicly before, we have an interest in this in principle. If you compare it to the commonwealth legislation, it appears there is almost a loophole in the ACT laws. The question is whether the government is going to put forward the right solution to that at this time and whether we should proceed with that in isolation from the rest of the LRAC review. They are the matters that we will be giving some thought to once we have seen this bill presented.

Question resolved in the affirmative, with the concurrence of an absolute majority.

Discrimination Amendment Bill 2012

Mr Corbell presented the bill, its explanatory statement and a Human Rights Act compatibility statement.

Title read by Clerk.

MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Attorney-General, Minister for Police and Emergency Services and Minister for the Environment and Sustainable Development) (10.42): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

I am pleased to present the Discrimination Amendment Bill 2012. The Discrimination Act 1991 has been in force in the ACT for more than 20 years. Over that time, the government of the day has amended the act to respond to issues that have arisen in a changing ACT community. These amendments have typically strengthened the act to make sure that it continues to meet its objectives, which is to ensure that adequate protections against discrimination are in place for all citizens, particularly for minorities who are more likely to be subjected to discrimination.

Section 4(d) of the act states that one of its objects is “to promote recognition and acceptance within the community of the principle of equality of opportunity for all people”. Unfortunately, some recent actions in the ACT have threatened this object. These actions have raised issues of vilification based on a person’s or a community’s religious faith, a characteristic which is not currently covered by the Discrimination Act 1991.

In December 2011 a number of brochures were distributed in Canberra and Queanbeyan containing cartoons of an apparently Muslim man physically abusing a woman and child and an Islamic elder condoning the violence as the man’s “duty to Allah”.

In June 2012, a group called Concerned Citizens of Canberra distributed a flyer to Gungahlin residents urging them to oppose the development of a mosque in

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