Page 2901 - Week 08 - Thursday, 17 August 2017

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

It would come as no surprise to members in this place, from my maiden speech or inaugural speech and the speech I made when being elected as Chief Minister, that I am committed to making Canberra Australia’s most inclusive and LGBTIQ friendly city. Throughout my political career I have backed up this commitment with practical legislation in this place and practical support throughout this community.

With that in mind, and I hope today with the support of a majority of Assembly members, the ACT government intends to continue its policy of equality and inclusion and to continue to provide support at this time for impacted members of our community. I can advise the Assembly that we are currently working in collaboration with a range of key LGBTIQ community groups to supplement and enhance existing supports and services to ensure that they can meet the increase in demand.

We will work with students in schools, the CIT and in our city’s universities, and we will provide additional support for young people and, importantly, also the children of LGBTIQ parents. My government, this progressive government, is committed to ensuring that Canberra schools remain safe schools. Every Canberra student has the right to feel safe in their school regardless of their gender or sexuality. We have funded the safe schools program and we believe it is an essential part of our city’s inclusivity.

I also advise the Assembly that, on the advice of the ACT Human Rights Commission, the government will consider legislative amendments to clarify the vilification provisions of the Discrimination Act 1991 to make it clear that we are serious about a respectful debate on marriage equality in this city. This motion today reaffirms a fundamental principle—that all Australians should be treated equally under the law.

I have this message for all of my fellow LGBTIQ Canberrans: you are not alone in this fight. You are not alone. Along with all of my colleagues in ACT Labor, we will be actively campaigning on your behalf in favour of marriage equality. What we do today is to strongly encourage everyone else, including those who disagree with us, to support love over hate, to undertake this debate respectfully, and, if you will forgive me, Madam Assistant Speaker, to end on a political note, to vote yes for equality.

MR COE (Yerrabi—Leader of the Opposition) (11.56): As is well known, the commonwealth government has directed the Australian Statistician to request information from all Australians enrolled to vote as to their views on whether or not the law should be changed to allow same-sex marriage. I encourage Canberrans, and indeed all Australians who are eligible to participate in this postal vote, to do so. Whilst the concept of a postal vote may not be everyone’s first preference about how to deal with this question, it is what the commonwealth government has initiated on this federal issue.

I know that there is a diversity of views within the Canberra community on this issue. In fact, even within the Liberals there is a diversity of views on this issue. I believe that the Canberra Liberals reflect the Canberra community at large in having a diversity of views. My view is well known. I will be voting no in the postal vote. I ask that my view is respected, just as I must respect all those who are voting yes and all

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