Page 992 - Week 03 - Thursday, 10 April 2014

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fear and resistance amongst the English football world to take a stand against homophobia. This illustrates how difficult it can be for the broader community to acknowledge and then tackle discrimination against LGBTI and queer people.

In a similar vein, members may have seen a story in today’s Canberra Times—certainly the online version of today’s Canberra Times—about a Canberra rugby union player who plays with the Sydney Convicts, a team who are essentially a gay rugby union team playing in a Sydney competition. The fellow happens to have joined that club when he lived in Sydney but still plays for them from Canberra because he loves the club so much.

The ironic part of that story was that he had been subject to homophobic abuse whilst playing for that club but he is actually not a gay, as it happens. He plays for that club because he has found a great group of people to play with. He has always been very well accepted in the club. He talks in the article about how much he has enjoyed the culture of the club because, in his words, “They are an open and understanding bunch of guys who I really like hanging out with.” He observed that it was somewhat ironic that he had been subject to that sort of abuse in his sporting career with that team.

I think that underlines the fact that this is not just about the elite codes. It is also happening on sporting fields across the country, unfortunately probably every weekend, so we have still got some work to do. We are lucky here in the ACT to live in a progressive, diverse and vibrant city. It is a city that sought recently to lead the nation towards true marriage equality, something I was certainly proud to have been a part of in this Assembly.

I was always very pleased to support recent changes to ACT laws to strengthen the rights of gender diverse people moving away from the old binary definitions of gender. It is a core aim of the Greens to end all discrimination on the basis of gender or sexuality, and we will keep working on this issue until we achieve full equality in a range of areas.

I would like to acknowledge the work the Deputy Chief Minister has done to tackle homophobia in the ACT—in schools, sport and elsewhere. As a Green, as a citizen and as an MLA, I am all too aware of the ongoing battle against fear and hatred towards the LGBTIQ members of our community. This is not an issue that will go away until each of us stands up and says, “I will look at you as a person, not as a gender or a race or a sexual orientation, but simply as a person.” I think the sporting field is a great place to take that stand and to carry that culture forward. I think the sporting field is a great leveller. We should simply turn up and play sport with each other irrespective of other components of our lives.

Discussion concluded.

Lifetime Care and Support (Catastrophic Injuries) Bill 2014

Detail stage

Debate resumed.

Clauses 45 to 61, by leave, taken together and agreed to.

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