Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 04 Hansard (Wednesday, 29 March 2017) . . Page.. 1196 ..
I note that the Minister for Multicultural Affairs has asked them, and they have been silent. But they still keep going to the same events, nodding and speaking the same empty words. At some point, as members of the Canberra community, we have to define what we stand for.
The Canberra Liberals have failed this test. They stand up for no-one and stand for nothing. I feel passionately about this issue not because we are a perfect community but because it is about what sort of community we aspire to be. If we have the right to be a bigot, what next: the right to be a misogynist; the right to be a homophobe? At what point do we recognise that we stand stronger as a community because we stand together, because we draw a line in the sand as a community and say what is not acceptable, because we declare our shared values and say there is no right to be a bigot, not in Canberra, not now and not ever? These changes to the Racial Discrimination Act are unacceptable and they should be rejected by all Canberrans.
For too long we have asked the most vulnerable members of our community to simply be strong and to stand up for themselves. Today I will stand up for them and I hope that the Assembly joins with me.
MS CHEYNE (Ginninderra) (10.59): I thank Mr Steel for bringing this important motion to the Assembly today. I note that instead of using his opportunity to speak on this motion to outline his party’s commitment to inclusivity, the opposition leader used it to try to give the government a whack. Talk about inclusivity! Instead of talking about what the opposition is doing in this space the opposition leader has tried to pretend that inclusivity is a federal issue exclusively. It defies belief. Perhaps by trying to argue these are federal issues the opposition is merely trying to hide how little they are doing in this space.
Madam Assistant Speaker, the ACT government is doing a lot in this space and despite what the opposition would try to lead you to believe I think it is more likely that they are just not paying attention, particularly given all of the things that you have heard today. And I am happy to remind the opposition for the umpteenth time exactly what else we are doing in this space.
The ACT government understands that culturally and linguistically diverse women have specific needs. The Minister for Women, Yvette Berry, launched the first action plan, the ACT women’s plan 2016-2026, at the 2017 ACT women’s awards on 7 March. One of the focus areas of the first action plan is that health information services are tailored to the needs of women and girls from diverse backgrounds. Some examples of this work will include working with the community to better understand the health needs of women and girls from diverse backgrounds—and ACT Health will be working with the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists to develop a program to support migrant and refugee women—improving the information provided to female asylum seekers about health services they are able to access in the ACT and ensuring access to these services; improving cultural competency training for staff in health services; and ensuring access to interpreter services in maternity settings.