Page 4134 - Week 11 - Thursday, 21 September 2017

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I would especially like to thank Jacob White, the ACT’s equality campaign organiser, who jumped in headfirst a few weeks ago to one of the most stressful jobs in politics. Jacob and his team of dedicated volunteer organisers have worked around the clock, quite literally working until 3 am most days, to mobilise the hundreds of volunteers, run dozens of phone banking sessions and distribute tens of thousands of yes campaign materials around the ACT.

At each and every phone bank, and there have been nearly 20 of them so far, there have been between 40 and 60 volunteers turn up after a long work day to give their evening over to the cause. Over this past weekend the yes campaign knocked on over 30,000 doors all across Canberra, with volunteers coming from the ACT Greens, ACT Labor, UnionsACT, the CPSU and first-time volunteers from Australian Marriage Equality—and, yes, I understand a few Canberra Liberals.

Canberra has managed to achieve Australia’s biggest single doorknock, I have been told. I am not quite sure where we get the statistics from, but it does seem quite likely. It is really inspiring that for a lot of people this was the first time they have been involved in a campaign. They were ordinary mums and dads, brothers and sisters, friends, lovers—lots of people who have not been politically involved. They may not have been to a rally before and certainly would not have cold-called people or knocked on strangers’ doors.

But they came back—all last weekend and night after night—to call people and help them celebrate love and commitment by voting yes. They came back, despite sometimes having some pretty nasty conversations and I understand even death threats, although personally I had only nasty conversations. They came back despite the barrage of hate and lies from some people. And they came back because, as we all know, when we all come together, love will win.

Women—Canberra Liberals policies

MS CHEYNE (Ginninderra) (4.43): From what we have heard in the last 36 hours here in this place and throughout the media, it is apparent that the opposition is very concerned about the interests of majorities, about including everyone. It is also clear that they are not quite sure of the distinction between a minority and the marginalised, but I will leave that for another day.

The Canberra Liberals’ apparent concern for majorities is ironic. Actually, it is disingenuous because the Canberra Liberals are doing a fine job of excluding a majority of people from their own policy platform, and that majority is women. Women make up more than half the population in the ACT, otherwise known as a majority. For all their bluster about the importance of taking care of all Canberrans, I find it necessary to put on the record the absolute hypocrisy of the Canberra Liberals.

It has now been 50 days since the opposition leader revealed here, in this place, that the Canberra Liberals have no policy on women’s sexual and reproductive health. In these past 50 days there has been no attempt to rectify this and to make policy for more than half the population. It is unacceptable to not have policy on issues that affect more than half the population.

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