18 June 2020
(Establishment & Membership, 18 June 2020, Legislative Assembly, NSW Parliament)
I thank the House for my inclusion on this committee. I acknowledge that there will be concern that the topics and bills outlined in the terms of reference of this inquiry may look like a potential attempt to water down some hard‑fought protections for the LGBTI and other communities. As a member of the LGBTI community, I always subscribe to the view that it is better to be at the table than on the menu. So I will use my role in this committee not only to advocate for my community but also to advance further reforms. A number of items covered in the terms of reference are areas that I have discussed with the nominated chair, the member for Vaucluse, when she was Attorney General. I look forward to working with her again.
I have previously introduced legislation to remove provisions in the Anti‑Discrimination Act 1977 that allow private education institutions to expel students and fire teachers because of their sexuality, including even if the institution is not religiously affiliated. This inquiry provides another opportunity to advocate for this much‑needed reform. I have long held the view that the State's anti‑discrimination Act is out of date and needs to be modernised. As the member who introduced the Reproductive Health Care Reform Bill 2019, I am also concerned about potential attempts to create barriers for women to access health care under the guise of religious freedoms. If the pandemic has shown us anything, it is that we must not limit people's access to health care. I sincerely hope that the very diverse collection of members on this committee is able to work constructively together and improve, rather than remove, important protections.