Page 477 - Week 02 - Wednesday, 15 February 2017

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love and who supports inclusion and who supports a better society and invite them to join us in this campaign because we will continue to fight it until we win.

MS CODY: Chief Minister, what are the concerns that the ACT government has with the current iteration of the draft bill for marriage equality currently being considered by the commonwealth parliament?

MR BARR: I thank Ms Cody for the question. We did make a submission to the commonwealth government’s select committee on the exposure draft for the bill. The committee report, I understand, is due to be released today. We have opposed elements of the commonwealth government’s exposure draft bill because of the overly broad exemptions to establish sex and gender discrimination protections. It is troubling to think that these well-established protections could be undermined as blatantly as is proposed in that bill.

In the government’s submission, co-signed by me, the Attorney-General and the minister for justice, we ask that the committee consider marriage equality law reform, as the ACT government has, as an inclusive process that will maintain existing protections against discrimination in legislation. Taking this approach to law reform would afford LGBTI people the same legal rights and protections that anyone in our country can expect.

With regard to respecting an individual’s rights to practise religion, we noted that wedding ceremonies can often be based on religious belief and practice but that marriage itself is a civil institution. The desire to love someone and to commit to sharing lives together is universal, and everyone has their own ideas on what this commitment means. Marriage takes different forms in different cultures, but love is a universal emotion. The feelings of love and commitment between couples of the same sex are no different from those between couples of the opposite sex. Same sex couples simply want to have their right to have their love recognised by the same civil institution. This is such a fundamental principle that people of good heart must always support, and this is something that we must stand up for in this country. It is one of this country’s greatest shames in 2017.

Canberra Hospital—data integrity

MRS JONES: In the 2012 performance audit by the Auditor-General she found that:

Under affirmation, an executive at the Canberra Hospital has admitted to making improper changes to hospital records. While this is the case, Audit considers that it is probable that improper changes to records have been made by other persons.

How thoroughly investigated were the findings of the Auditor-General that other people were involved in making improper changes to Canberra Hospital’s records?

MS FITZHARRIS: I was not the minister; I was not in the Assembly at the time. It is certainly my understanding that they were thoroughly investigated. I reiterate what I reiterated on a number of occasions yesterday—and I am happy to do so on a number of occasions today—there is no suggestion of anybody fabricating or manipulating

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