Page 4152 - Week 11 - Wednesday, 24 October 2018

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Regardless of whether students or staff have faced direct discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation, gender identity or sex characteristics, the sheer fact that it could legally occur is something we must seek to fix immediately. Today this Assembly has the opportunity to call on the federal government to formally rule out the implementation of any recommendations that seek to discriminate against the people we represent. As stated in the motion, we seek immediate, formal confirmation from the federal government that it will reject any religious freedom review recommendation that enshrines or expands discrimination in the provision of education. Canberrans deserve to be confident that students, teachers and school staff can live their day-to-day lives in an inclusive and respectful environment.

Every Canberran has the right to be safe at work, and our teachers are no exception. Teachers in Canberra’s schools provide world-class, quality education to set our young people up for life. This ACT Labor government values teachers right across the territory’s education system, and we are committed to providing them with the best support possible to do their valuable work. In supporting our teachers we must make sure they are protected from discrimination in their workplace, and members in this place cannot claim to respect and support teachers while at the same time supporting the recommendation from the religious freedom review. To propose that an employee can be denied employment based on their sexual orientation, gender identity or sex characteristics is absolutely deplorable. Discriminating on this basis is as unacceptable as any other form of discrimination.

As representatives of Canberra’s teachers, we in this place must take a stand against those in federal parliament and their lobbyist influencers who are trying to stop teachers from educating our next generation of Australians. Regardless of whether a teacher works in a government, non-government, faith-based or independent school, they should be valued for their commitment to providing education and not degraded for their personal identity.

I value teachers for the work they do each and every day. I know my colleagues on this side also do, and I call on those opposite to join us by supporting all teachers, irrespective of their sexuality, gender identity or sex characteristics. It is the responsibility of government to protect its citizens, and I know this is something the ACT Labor government is committed to. I firmly believe the ACT law needs to be reviewed and amended to remove any potential for harmful discrimination towards LGBTIQ Canberrans.

As a proud member of the LGBTIQ community, I believe it is important for me to advocate for and represent other LGBTIQ Canberrans. As representatives of the Canberra community we all have the responsibility to keep the ACT discrimination free.

This motion I have brought forward today is quite simple: all Canberrans should be able to feel safe and included right across our city. Young people in our schools should not face discrimination on any grounds, and teachers and staff in our schools should be able to go to work without fear of discrimination in their workplace. Canberra is proud to be Australia’s most progressive and inclusive city. Therefore, we

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