Page 627 - Week 02 - Thursday, 20 February 2020

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video

It would provide for publicly funded charities, such as soup kitchens or homeless shelters, to refuse to assist people of a different religious faith or of no faith.

The override of current state and territory law could provide immunity from anti-discrimination law for outrageous, discriminatory and marginalising actions, including a childcare provider telling a single mother that they are evil and ungodly for depriving their child of a father; a student being told by their teacher that their disability is a trial imposed by God; a waiter in a cafe telling a same-sex couple that they will pray for their sins; and a teacher telling a transgender student that their identity is against the laws of God.

The vast majority of Canberrans would find this sort of behaviour unacceptable. They simply cannot understand the crusade that the commonwealth is on with this bill. What problem is the commonwealth trying to solve in Australian society at this point in time? The bill is unnecessary. It is destructive and it is morally repugnant.

MR PETTERSSON: Chief Minister, why is this issue important to Canberrans?

MR BARR: It is important to Canberrans for all the chilling scenarios that I have just outlined. Canberrans from all walks of life, whether they are a single parent, a person living with disability, a woman seeking an abortion, a gay student, they would all be affected by this legislation.

Everybody is entitled to freedom of religion. It is a protection enshrined in the Constitution as well as the territory’s own Human Rights Act. People are free to practise their faith. What they are not free to do is impose their religious beliefs on others. People without religious faith also deserve freedom from religion.

Regrettably, there are some who think that the commonwealth bill does not go far enough. What they would prefer, it would seem, is some sort of dystopian future, something like we see in The Handmaid’s Tale. “Religion is not a trump card to justify curtailing others’ liberties.” That was said by Tim Wilson, federal Liberal MP. I agree with Mr Wilson on that point, and the true liberals in this country need to stand up now to stop this bill from ever becoming law.

I ask that all further questions be placed on the notice paper.

Supplementary answers to questions without notice

Government—fees and charges

MR RATTENBURY: Yesterday in question time Miss C Burch asked me a question about learner driver licence fees. She asked why the fee for a learner driver licence in the ACT is twice that of New South Wales. I can inform the Assembly that Miss Burch’s assertion does not present the full picture and that, in fact, in many cases the cost of getting a learner driver licence in the ACT is cheaper than in New South Wales.

The current ACT learner licence fee is $48. However, to obtain an ACT learner licence you must successfully complete the pre-learner licence course, which

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video