Page 2932 - Week 08 - Thursday, 17 August 2017

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of Australians support recognising LGBTIQ Australians as equals. This is what will drive us to participate in the survey and turn out an overwhelming yes vote.

While this postal survey is not how we wanted to achieve marriage equality, we cannot lose this opportunity to win. It is critical that every supporter of equality is correctly enrolled to vote. I urge all Canberrans to check and/or update their enrolment details; every vote will make a difference. To the entire LGBTI community and those of us who are allies, I say: talk to your friends, families and neighbours and encourage them to vote yes. If we bring everyone with us throughout this campaign, I am confident we can win this fight and celebrate marriage equality by the end of the year.

I am proud to stand with all of my Labor and Greens colleagues and a number of Canberra Liberals in support of marriage equality. The ACT Barr government will always stand up for the rights of LGBTI people, and I look forward to standing with our brothers and sisters out in the community over the coming weeks.

I appreciate that today those opposite, a few of them, have asked us not to discriminate against those who vote no. To you I say this: what about if we just do not discriminate, full stop? I will be voting yes, and I encourage all Canberrans to vote yes as well.

MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella—Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Minister for Planning and Land Management and Minister for Urban Renewal) (3.38): I rise today to speak in support of marriage equality. The path to equality has not been without its challenges. For every step forward we see, at times we have had to take a step backwards. But it is an important undertaking that many, both here in the Assembly and in the Canberra community in general, are committed to.

LGBTIQ members of our community face myriad barriers in their life that many of us will never know, from coming out to family, who in some cases may not accept them, to facing higher recorded levels of suicide and depression than other people. And while marriage equality will not solve these, it is a significant and salient step in acknowledging that we can and must do more to advance the rights of LGBTIQ identifying Canberrans and therefore equity for all Canberrans.

I will go to a bit of work that we did in 2013 in regard to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Article 3 of the ICCPR says it explicitly prohibits discrimination in all forms. It prohibits discrimination in regard to the application of the rights listed within the treaty, and also prohibits general discrimination. The Human Rights Committee has established that discrimination in the terms that it appears in the ICCPR is understood to mean any distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference which is based on any ground which has the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise by all persons, on an equal footing, of all rights and freedoms. So it is quite explicit in regard to discrimination. That is what we see occurring in our community at the moment, and that is what we want to fix.

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