Page 2358 - Week 07 - Thursday, 4 August 2016

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video

Mr Rattenbury has said that there has been debate about this in the community and from the Law Reform Commission, but he brought this substantive change in as an amendment on a Tuesday for debate. It was considered by the Labor Party, I think, this morning. We also considered it today. Given that this is a substantive change, I do not think that is helpful. It has not been through the scrutiny of bills committee; you would expect a substantive bill to go through scrutiny, to look at the full implications and provide advice to members.

It is disappointing that we are dealing with this a bit on the fly without it having gone through the normal processes, including the scrutiny of bills committee, to look at this more substantively. We have only had about 48 hours to look at this in what has been a very busy sitting week.

I just put that on the table, because this is an important issue. There is no question that this is an important issue. We want to make sure that we live in a harmonious, multifaith society where people of all religious faiths are respected. We all abhor extremism that leads to violence and vilification. I have been shot at by the IRA, I have been shot at by Sunni extremists and I have been shot at by Shiite extremists. I have seen the consequence, one could say, of religious extremism and hatred and what it can lead to. But I know that there are people in our community who have experienced this on a day-to-day basis, and we want to make sure that we do not experience that in our community.

As leaders, we have a role. Legislation is one thing; but by our actions, by the language that we use, by the example that we set as leaders, we can affect the way that people feel in our community, to make sure that expressions of hatred do not occur and that those who may be victim to it know that they have our support.

Mr Rattenbury has talked about the issues faced by the Muslim community, the Islamic community. There is no question that there are incidents of vilification and hatred against our Islamic community that are occurring. It is something that I am sure that all of us in this place and in the broader community would speak loudly against, and stand with people of the Islamic faith.

Equally, though, as this legislation gets passed today, I do not want this just to be a debate about Islam, about one faith. This is equally important to all faiths. I have seen people of Christian faith vilified. It seems that Christians are people that can be ridiculed or attacked for standing up for their beliefs. We have to make sure that people of Christian faith are equally protected and that when they want to make their points, when people want to stand up for their Christian values, they are not vilified, they are not ridiculed in the manner that we have seen with those of other faiths.

I would like to make the same sort of comments about those of the Jewish faith. People of the Jewish faith have experienced the same sort of hatred, the same sort of attacks on them that we have seen more recently against those of Islamic faith.

If, as it would seem, this will come into law today, let us make sure that it is worked through and that, as it takes effect, it is applied equally to all faiths, Christian, Islamic, Jewish, Buddhist: that no matter what the faith, we treat all equally.

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video