Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 02 Hansard (Wednesday, 15 February 2017) . . Page.. 435 ..
We will fight biphobia. We will fight transphobia. We will fight bigotry in all of its forms.
When other governments in Australia do nothing, we will do more. Hate must be stamped out. The ACT Labor government has already started to address the discrimination faced by our LGBTIQ community. Helping us in this work is the new Office for LGBTIQ Affairs. This office ensures that all ACT government policy promotes Canberra as the most LGBTIQ friendly city in the country. This office provides expert guidance on LGBTIQ matters to government.
This government has acted to automatically recognise same-sex marriages from overseas. With the recent introduction of amendments to the Civil Unions Act, there will be less red tape for same-sex couples. This is a good thing. Heterosexual marriages do not require registration upon return to Canberra. It is discrimination, plain and simple, that same-sex couples do.
Just weeks ago, the ACT government made a submission to the commonwealth government’s exposure draft of the Marriage Amendment (Same-Sex Marriage) Bill. This submission was absolutely clear on this government’s principles. We are believers in dignity for all. We are believers in social inclusion and we reject homophobia.
We were, however, saddened to see that the draft commonwealth bill would further entrench the systematic separation that LGBTIQ Canberrans experience. The freedom to live their life free of harassment, crucially, the freedom to participate without barrier and without exclusion, is an important part of an inclusive and accepting society. How do you expect an individual to feel equal when they can be singled out and prevented from accessing services for who they are?
I wish to speak very briefly to the civil nature of marriage. We have a clear distinction in Australia between what constitutes a civil marriage and what constitutes a religious marriage. I see no reason why same-sex couples publicly affirming their love through a legal marriage should in any way diminish the relationship of the religious people in our community.
In closing, I seek to reassure LGBTIQ Canberrans that the divisive, hateful language they endure is not fair. It is not right. But we will fight it, and we will win. We will have marriage equality.
MR COE (Yerrabi—Leader of the Opposition) (10.06): Once again, we have a government attempting to use this issue for their own personal political gain. We have a motion on the notice paper which is obviously not about the welfare or rights of Canberrans, but about simply trying to drive a wedge amongst members of the Assembly. Further to this, the notion of calling on a non-executive member of the Assembly to sign a document is most unusual and probably does warrant further consideration by this place at another point in time.
I also note that it is quite inconsistent that we have a situation whereby those opposite are advocating for a free vote in the commonwealth parliament, meanwhile trying to