Page 4964 - Week 13 - Thursday, 2 November 2017

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I encourage everyone to show their enthusiasm for the summer of sport that awaits, in whatever code they follow. But they should make sure that they follow the women’s and girls’ teams, because they will also be playing a role in building the next generation of confident young women.

Protest rallies

MS LE COUTEUR (Murrumbidgee) (5.24): The ACT is a proud leader in support of human rights and a strong and active civil society, so I will take a moment to talk about a few of the active citizen rallies that have been happening in Canberra, in particular since the last sitting period.

Ones I have personally been involved in include the stop Adani movement. This is an Australia-wide movement that is working collaboratively to protect our environment, particularly the Great Barrier Reef; to protect our water resources; to prevent a tax-avoiding and environmentally destructive group from trampling over traditional custodians and digging up fossil fuels, thereby destroying the local environment and contributing significantly to global warming and negative impacts on all of our environment. On 7 October there was a national day of action where over 20,000 people literally spelled out #StopAdani at over 60 community events. As a result of this we have seen that all four major Australian banks have refused to fund the mine. I am hopeful that there is more to come.

On 8 October I joined a rally for refugees, where there was a very positive mention of the motion that was passed in the Assembly on 24 August which called for the ACT government to write to the federal government to bring the refugees from Manus Island and Nauru here. Unfortunately, as we have all seen in the papers in the past couple of days, that is the last thing the federal government has done. The men on Manus and Nauru still languish in indefinite detention with ever-decreasing provisions of medication, water and food. The citizenship voice in Australia has been loud and consistent ever since the implementation of an offshore detention regime for asylum seekers and refugees. While clearly the situation has not yet improved for the better, it is nonetheless providing some comfort to those people who are suffering from it.

On 2 September I attended and spoke at the rally for marriage equality. The ACT government, including many of us here in the Assembly, have made it clear that we want equality for LGBTI people in our community. It was great. Thousands of Canberrans came out in support of a yes vote, and this was repeated on Sunday the 22nd.

I also went to the annual reclaim the night rally on 27 October. I have been to quite a number of these. It was both really wonderful to be there with a group of women and really sad that we still have to do it. I think someone said that it was the 37th such march in Canberra. We were all a little unsure as to how long it had been going for. The point is that women claim the right to walk alone at night. We should have that right. We should be safe. We should not have to challenge, again, sexual violence.

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