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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 14 Hansard (Wednesday, 29 November 2017) . . Page.. 5295 ..


one about which I am strongly advocating for progressive change, to enable the ACT to have the same rights as other states and for the citizens of Canberra to have the same rights as all others.

I had the privilege yesterday of being part of a press conference, with the Greens, for federal leader Richard Di Natale to talk about his intention to reintroduce the bill which was co-sponsored with Senator Gallagher in the last federal parliament, to see whether, hopefully, with the passage of the Victorian legislation there has been a change of heart of enough federal parliamentarians to recognise that the people of the ACT should have the same rights as other Australians. Legislation was passed this morning to allow voluntary assisted dying. This means that Victorians living with terminal illnesses will have access to the compassion and dignity they deserve as their life comes to an end. Because of the Andrews bill, this is a right that has been denied to the people of the ACT.

The Greens of course support the anti-discrimination regime that currently operates in the ACT. It is a regime that sees the ACT leading the nation, just as we do in many other progressive policy areas. Amendments that we supported last year were an Australian first, ensuring that discrimination laws now protect against discrimination on the basis of a person’s accommodation status, employment status, status as a victim of domestic or family violence, sexuality, or status as an intersex person or a person who has a record of their sex being altered.

These leading anti-discrimination laws reflect the strong position held by the ACT government, the ACT Greens and the broader ACT community. We support an inclusive society. We support human rights and equality. We do not support discrimination based on a person’s personal status, such as their sexuality or gender identity. The Greens join the call to oppose any federal move that might interfere with the laws protecting ACT residents against unreasonable forms of discrimination.

MR RAMSAY (Ginninderra—Attorney-General, Minister for Regulatory Services, Minister for the Arts and Community Events and Minister for Veterans and Seniors) (5.48): I rise to support this motion. I thank and commend Mr Steel for bringing it forward today. In August this year I expressed my view on the question of marriage equality, that the Australian public has been in favour of marriage equality for at least the past five years. At that time I said that I hoped the postal survey would reflect the same stance. The postal vote for marriage equality proved that Australians overwhelmingly believe in marriage equality. Now that those who were clinging to political or legal support for their desire to discriminate against the LGBTIQ community have neither of those avenues, some are attempting a new tactic: repackaging their views as expressions of religious freedom.

At its core, this motion calls on everyone in this Assembly to resist any attempt by the commonwealth to make marriage equality a bargain, a bargain where, in exchange for removing one kind of discrimination, we are called on to legalise it in another form. A new label for bias and discrimination against people on the basis of their sexuality or gender does not change what it is. We should measure proposals that purport to be about freedom by their impact. Excluding people from our homes, from our


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