Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 09 Hansard (Thursday, 24 August 2017) . . Page.. 3304 ..
leadership on the part of the education minister and the Chief Minister to take the whole community along with them on the need and the requirement for these types of programs to be rolled out in schools across the ACT.
The petitioners have called on the ACT government to stop and suspend any further engagement in the safe schools program or any associated resources in ACT schools where it is currently in place.
The government’s attitude to this program, like the government’s attitude to same-sex marriage, is that if you are with them, things are fine and they will agree with you, but their attitude of belittling anyone who disagrees with their point of view on these sorts of issues is disenfranchising many Canberrans who do not see the world through the same lens. It is not about inclusive government for all Canberrans with a mixed range of views; it is about inclusive government for the few who agree with them. And that is not leadership in anyone’s book.
I commend the 998 Canberrans who have put their names forward on this petition. I look forward, as a member of the education committee, to inquiring into this matter and putting a robust response back to the Assembly. I also await the education minister’s response to this petition.
MS BERRY (Ginninderra—Deputy Chief Minister, Minister for Education and Early Childhood Development, Minister for Housing and Suburban Development, Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence, Minister for Women and Minister for Sport and Recreation) (10.05), by leave: I am deeply saddened but not surprised that Mr Wall has activated and presented this petition to the Assembly today. In fact, I am appalled, and I think Mr Wall should be ashamed of himself.
What this petition says to LGBTIQ kids in our community is that there is something wrong with you and that you are not welcome, you are not to be included in our schools, and you are not to be supported in our communities.
We know that LGBTIQ kids are more likely to harm themselves or to take their lives. This petition says, through Mr Wall, that that is okay; that we are not going to support you through what I could only try to understand would be a particularly difficult time.
I am sure that Mr Wall has been very clear and sure about his own sexuality for all of his life. But imagine if you were a 12-year-old kid, the world is saying that you are either a boy or a girl, and everything inside you says that you are something other than that, but there is nowhere for you to go. Mr Wall is saying, through the presentation of this petition today, that that is completely okay, and that he and the Canberra Liberals are not prepared to support children in that circumstance.
Mr Wall interjecting—
MS BERRY: Mr Wall can try to make comments and try to intimidate adults here in this Assembly, as he is doing just now, by calling out across the chamber, but I will not tolerate children in our schools who are LGBTIQ being intimidated, treated differently or excluded. I will stand by them and I will support them in every possible