Page 448 - Week 02 - Wednesday, 15 February 2017

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motion. It is opportune in this first sitting week of 2017 to reiterate our government’s commitment to Canberra as an inclusive city. This government and this community are proud to support LGBTI Canberrans, proud of the support we provide and the protections we afford those Canberrans under the laws of the territory.

This jurisdiction has an excellent track record in law reform and in being a national and international leader. We were, of course, the first Australian jurisdiction to recognise same-sex relationships through the Domestic Partnerships Act 1994. I acknowledge that the late Terry Connolly was the driving force behind that legislation 23 years ago.

Jon Stanhope’s government undertook a comprehensive law reform process to clear our statute book of discrimination. I had the great honour of working on those law reforms more than 15 years ago now. The government continues to work with the Law Reform Advisory Council and the LGBTIQ Ministerial Advisory Council to improve the territory’s laws, most recently with the work undertaken around updating the definition of “intersex” in the ACT’s legislation, including removing the requirement for reassignment surgery for a person to change their legal status.

There is a long-term legacy of progressive government in this territory. I note that many of these issues now—23 years on, 15 years on, five years on—seem not particularly controversial. But let me assure you, having lived through each of those debates, they were not uncontroversial at the time and they were bitterly opposed by conservatives in this chamber every inch of the way—every inch of the way. The important message for every progressive Canberran through their elected representatives is that change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability; to quote Martin Luther King Jr, it comes through continuous struggle.

That this side of the chamber, together with progressive partners on the crossbench, has been able to achieve this much for our community in this time is testament not only to the work of those legislators, staffers and activists involved in party politics but also to a broader movement of people who are prepared to campaign, to write letters, to support this sort of parliamentary activism over an extended period. It is a great credit to this chamber and to all of the progressive voices within it that we have achieved these outcomes. And let me say: it will be a hallmark of my leadership of the ACT branch of the Labor Party and my chief ministership that we will continue to advance these causes whilst ever I am in this place.

Mr Pettersson’s motion goes to the detail across practical, tangible and important programs this government is putting in place or has already put in place to ensure that we live in a more inclusive city, that we bring everyone along on that journey, that we do not discriminate, and that we do not say to a group of our fellow Canberrans that they are second-class citizens.

Earlier this year, the government recommitted to funding supportive education environments, environments that support same-sex-attracted, intersex and gender diverse students, and we will continue to support this program. We will continue to advocate nationally for this program to be in place in all Australian schools. My absolute steadfast commitment to Canberrans, to the parents of LGBTIQ students and

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