Equality Legislation Amendment (LGBTIQA+) Bill & Conversion Practices Prohibition Bill 2023

Equality Legislation Amendment (LGBTIQA+) Bill & Conversion Practices Prohibition Bill 2023

(Second Reading, 24 August 2023, Legislative Assembly, NSW Parliament)


At the heart of the Equality Legislation Amendment (LGBTIQA+) Bill and the Conversion Practices Prohibition Bill is the truth that LGBTIQA+ people:

  • exist
  • are struggling
  • should be recognised and protected in law
  • and allowed to thrive.

The NSW LGBTIQ+ Health Strategy 2022-2027 identified significantly poor health and wellbeing outcomes for LGBTIQA+ people in this state due to chronic exposure to discrimination and stigma.

The strategy reported that most LGBTIQ people in this state face high levels of distress, with two thirds experiencing a mental health condition, a quarter having had suicidal thoughts and almost one in 10 self-harming at some stage in their lives.

Other conclusions included more harmful patterns of drug and alcohol use, and higher exposure to abuse, neglect, assault, and domestic and family violence.

Over half of LGBTIQ+ high school students felt unsafe at school due to their sexuality or gender identity.

These findings:

  • are confronting
  • are the lived experience of those we all represent
  • and demand urgent reform.

The Equality Legislation Amendment (LGBTIQA+) Bill and the Conversion Practices Prohibition Bill would remove discrimination embedded in law and strengthen protections for LGBTIQA+ people. The bills amend 22 existing acts and create a new act.

Reforms follow best practice in other states and territories. They provide New South Wales with an unprecedented opportunity to become inclusive, welcoming, safe, affirming and respectful.

I will now take the house through specific provisions, starting with the Conversion Practices Prohibition Bill.

There is a long history of LGBTIQA+ people being told that they are broken and need to be fixed; part of that history involves futile and damaging practices to change or suppress sexuality and gender identity. 

Many people think that LGBTQ conversion practices no longer happen because society is more inclusive and accepting, and the medical and psychological professions have denounced pathological views of homosexuality, bisexuality and the trans experience.

But the practices are alive and well with a 2018 Human Rights Law Centre and La Trobe University report finding up to 10 percent of LGBT Australians vulnerable. The practices have not disappeared, they have changed form.

The past domain of institutions, psychiatrists and psychologists practicing aversion and electroconvulsive therapies and psychoanalysis, has morphed into a more subversive approach often disguised as spiritual healing and mental health support.

The ideology is the same: lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and queer people are broken and can be changed. We are not broken, we are loved and the law should reflect that.

It is emotionally destructive to be told that you are bad, sinful and to blame for who you are and that you need to change something intrinsic about yourself. It can destroy self-worth and confidence and lead to health and mental health challenges like addiction, depression, self-harm, suicidal ideation, and suicide.

LGBTQ conversion practices manipulate people who are vulnerable or struggling to accept who they are, leading to feelings of failure, hopelessness and shame, and of being condemned.

A 2021 La Trobe University report on conversion practices titled Healing Spiritual Harms found that survivors commonly experience complex, chronic trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder.

The Australian Medical Association and the Australian Psychological Society have strong statements denouncing conversion practices, deeming them ineffective and harmful. We cannot let LGBTQ conversion practices continue to hurt people.

The Conversion Practices Prohibition Bill will create new standalone legislation to prohibit LGBTQ change or suppression practices, based on the Victorian laws.

The laws were designed by survivors to keep people safe, while keeping communities of faith together. They have the support of peak survivor groups SOGICE Survivors, the Brave Network, and Ambassadors and Bridge Builders International.

While I respect the government has begun consultation for its own bill, I submit that:

  • the work has already been done
  • my legislation is consistent with Victoria
  • Anti-Discrimination NSW is willing to administer the law,
  • and most importantly, the survivors back it.

The bill defines change or suppression practices as: practices, sustained efforts and treatments directed at a person with the intention to change or suppress that person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

There are explicit exclusions for what constitutes a change or suppression practice.

Health practitioners:

  • who practice according to every other area of healthcare by using reasonable professional judgement in line with legal, professional and ethical standards, and established standards of care…
  • or who provide genuine client-centred and trauma-informed support to someone discovering their gender…

…are excluded, in recognition that health practitioners may need to facilitate sensitive discovery discussions with patients.

Such conversations grounded in genuine therapeutic intent, not conversion intent, are not change or suppression practices.

Exclusions make it clear that expressing a belief or religious principle to an individual is not a change or suppression practice. Religious teachings, religious preaching and open and difficult conversations between parents and children about sexuality and gender identity will not be captured.

Private prayer is not banned.

What is banned is:

  • “praying” or chanting at or on someone
  • exorcisms to expel the gay or trans away
  • and assertive efforts, be they through counselling or pastoral care, that try to stop someone being who they are.

The bill creates three mechanisms to prevent or respond to change or suppression practices:

  • education
  • a civil response scheme
  • and criminal offences.

Education and the civil response scheme are the focus of the bill and will be overseen by the Anti-Discrimination Board.

Under the civil response scheme, people will be able to make reports to the President of the Anti-Discrimination Board about change or suppression practices and the president will determine the appropriate response depending on its seriousness.

The President may take no action if there is insufficient evidence, or the concern has been dealt with or should be dealt with in another way.

If the President considers action is appropriate, the board can provide education to the responsible person or, if all parties agree, the President can bring them together to talk through concerns and come to an agreement.

Where a report indicates serious or systemic change or suppression practices, the President can investigate. Parties can come to mutual agreements, or the President can issue a compliance notice or accept an enforceable undertaking. Compliance notices and enforceable undertakings are lodged with the Civil and Administrative Tribunal for compliance.

The President will be able to refer matters to NSW Police, the Health Care Complaints Commission, the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency, or the Ombudsman.

Police will be responsible for criminal offences set out in the bill. There is a very high bar to reach for criminal offences: intent, injury and neglect. Consent is not a defence.

Higher penalties exist for practices that cause serious injury and there are separate offences for advertising change or suppression practices, or taking someone outside of New South Wales to undergo one.

Most reports will result in education, or bringing parties together to work through concerns. This is deliberate and in line with survivors’ desire for the scheme to keep LGBTQ people and their communities together.

Many LGBTQ people have faith and want to remain part of their religious communities; they seek protection from harmful and ineffective attempts to change who they are or who they love.

The bill further recognises harm from change or suppression practices by making them grounds for apprehended domestic violence or apprehended personal violence orders, and making them identified risk factors for children and young persons under the Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act. Victims and survivors of a change or suppression practice will have access to the victims’ support scheme.

All major parties have committed to banning LGBTQ conversion practices. My bill reflects best practice and the needs of victims and survivors.

I acknowledge and thank advocates and survivors of conversion practices that join us here today, including Anthony Venn-Brown and Chris Csabs. Whether it is through this bill or a government bill, reform will be achieved in this parliament, and it will be as a result of your leadership. I thank the Health Services Union for its support and acknowledge Adam Hall in the gallery. 

I move to the Equality Legislation Amendment (LGBTIQA+) Bill, starting with changes to the Anti-Discrimination Act.

Anti-discrimination laws aim to protect us from discrimination, bigotry, inequity, harassment, vilification, and violence, and ensure that we can live with dignity and peace.

Discrimination remains a challenge for all LGBTIQA+ communities and the health strategy identified its toll on health, mental health and wellbeing.

New South Wales once led the country in discrimination law, but we have fallen behind in what the Public Interest Advocacy Centre describes as going from “leader to laggard”.

I welcome the Attorney General’s commitment to send the Anti-Discrimination Act to the Law Reform Commission for a much-needed review, to make it modern and fit for purpose, and protect all vulnerable communities.

While a rewrite of the Act is needed, the process will take time. My bill provides interim legislative protections within the current framework of the Act that we should introduce now to close loopholes that leave LGBTIQA+ people vulnerable.

The Anti-Discrimination Act protects trans men and trans women but does not protect non binary people.

Non binary people are part of the trans community and might sit inside or outside of the male and female spectrum.

All trans people deserve the full protection of the law and the bill would extend the protected attribute to include them all.

The protected ground for homosexuality is limited to lesbians and gay men, excluding people who are bisexual or asexual.

New South Wales is the only jurisdiction in Australia without anti-discrimination protections for bisexuals. My bill would replace the ‘homosexuality’ protected attribute with ‘sexuality’, to include homosexuality, bisexuality, and asexuality.

The bill introduces two new grounds for discrimination: variations of sex characteristics and sex workers; two groups especially vulnerable to discrimination.

Having variations of sex characteristics, or being intersex, refers to people with innate variations of primary or secondary sex characteristics that differ from expectations. Their experience of discrimination adds to challenges caused by medical interventions in infancy that changed their bodies to fit norms without their consent, causing lifelong impacts.

Many sex workers are part of or supportive of the LGBTIQA+ community, and during consultation, stakeholders unanimously agreed the bill should protect them. Discrimination and vilification against sex workers is common and takes many forms including refusal to provide goods and services.

The bill defines a sex worker as a person who provides sexual services on a commercial basis. This definition covers a range of services in return for payment or reward, including participating in sexual activity like erotic entertainment, BDSM work and pornography. Discrimination against sex workers will be outlawed including discrimination in the course of doing sex work. I thank SWOP and the Scarlet Alliance for their sustained advocacy in progressing these protections. 

Despite education being fundamental to development and wellbeing, private schools have unchecked exemptions to discriminate against students, teachers and employees on all grounds but race. LGBTQ+ students are most vulnerable.

LGBTQ+ students can lawfully be targeted, sent to counselling, suspended, expelled, asked to leave, or have bullying ignored. Excellent teachers can be fired. Students’ education is suffering to protect the right to discriminate.

The bill would remove all exemptions for private education authorities from the Act.

The bill would also limit sweeping exemptions that permit religious bodies to discriminate in employment – like firing trans carers or bisexual cleaners – to employment that is relevant to religious practice.

I can be elected to this Parliament, but could be fired as a teacher at the secular private school that I went to because of my sexuality; Sam Kerr can kick goals for Australia but could be fired as a soccer coach in a private girls school for embracing her partner during the World Cup. Surely this is no longer acceptable in modern New South Wales, and we don’t need a review to tell us this. 

Exemptions that allow religious bodies to discriminate when providing adoption services would be repealed. Decisions about adoption should put the best interests of the child ahead of discrimination.

Sport is vital to health, mental health and social inclusion and the bill would harmonise trans discrimination exemptions in sport with the Commonwealth, and other states and territories.

Discrimination in sport would be limited:

  • to where it is reasonable and necessary
  • never against children under 12, umpires or referees and
  • only for activities that involve competition, strength, stamina or physique.

Provisions that allow discrimination against trans people in superannuation will be repealed, in line with Commonwealth law.

The bill inserts new requirements in anti-discrimination law for government agencies to better reflect diversity in data collection, especially important for school forms which only recognise one mother and one father. Ignoring different types of families is discrimination.

I now move to gender affirming care. And acknowledge the work of the Gender Centre, ACON transhub, Equality Australia and others joining us here who have helped in the drafting of these provision.

New South Wales has world-class healthcare, but not everyone can access the healthcare they need. Young trans people face significant barriers to gender affirming care that other young persons don’t for treatments with similar outcomes or risks. These barriers and negative impacts were identified in the Voices of LGBTIQA+ Young people report, conducted by the Advocate for Children and Young People, who also joins us here today in the gallery.

Gender affirming care covers a range of measures that are respectful and affirming of a person’s sense of gender:

  • from psychological support and counselling that explores gender expression and social transition
  • to family support, and medical interventions.

Not everyone seeking healthcare for gender questioning will receive gender affirming care and not everyone receiving gender affirming care will receive medical interventions… but where medical interventions are in a child’s best interests, they should not be held back by ideology and discrimination.

The prospect of experiencing a puberty that does not align with one’s gender can be highly distressing and strong evidence from over at least a decade shows that gender affirming medical care can reduce depression and suicidality in trans young people. 

But without support from both parents, children can only access gender affirming medical care through the courts. Although the courts generally approve requests, courts are difficult to access for young people, who end up missing out on the care they need.

While children and young people accessing other medical and dental treatment need to show they are Gillick competent – that is, that they understand the risks and benefits of a treatment and are able to give informed consent – this approach is rarely adopted in gender affirming healthcare.

The bill would legislate Gillick competence by clarifying in the Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act that a young person who is 16 or over is able to make a decision about their own medical and dental treatment as validly and effectively as an adult. Medical practitioners would still be required to assess decision making capacity and ensure there is informed consent, as is the case with adults.

For children under 16, they will need a parent’s consent… or their treating medical practitioner will need to ensure:

  • they are capable of understanding the nature, consequences and risks of the treatment and
  • the treatment is in the child’s best interests.

The changes are not specific to gender affirming care but instead legislate the current approach to healthcare and consent for children and young persons so that there is clarity for all treatment. NSW Health will still be able to issue guidelines for specific treatment or procedures and a parent will still be able to challenge treatment in the federal Family Court.

There have been instances of some doctors considering some forms of gender affirming care as ‘Special Medical Treatment’, which requires Civil and Administrative Tribunal approval for persons under 16, regardless of informed consent or parental approval.

My bill would remove the need for Special Medical Treatment to be approved by the tribunal if another court has already approved it.

Denying timely access to gender affirming treatment presents enormous risks to health and welfare and we need to remove baseless barriers that are preventing healthcare so young trans people can get on with their education and the things they love.

I now move to changes to the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Act.

Trans people don’t need surgical intervention to be who they are. Some may use hormone therapy, voice therapy or a social transition to affirm their gender. Surgery’s cost, recovery time and health risks including sterilisation can be deterrents and for many, surgery is simply unnecessary to live an authentic life.

But New South Wales is Australia’s last jurisdiction to require reproductive organ surgery before a person can alter their record of sex, leaving most trans people without accurate documentation.

Incorrect state documentation forces trans people to reveal their private information and personal experiences whenever they need to show a birth certificate like:

  • applying for a job, a loan, or a course
  • or accessing services – exacerbating already high rates of stigma and discrimination and making it difficult to get on with life.

Because Commonwealth laws allow trans people to update the sex on their passport and with Medicare, inconsistencies in identification can prevent access to entitlements like superannuation, and impact health information like vaccination records.

The bill would introduce world’s best practice for trans people seeking updated documentation.

It would replace Part 5A of the Act, which currently limits altered records of sex to surgery, with a new part that would enable a record alteration with affirming documentation.

A person who is 16 and over will be able to alter their record of sex through the Registrar with a declaration and a statement from an adult who has known them for at least 12 months.

For persons under 16, if they have the support of both parents or a sole parent, the parents or parent can apply to the Registrar with documents demonstrating that the child consents and has undergone counselling.

Parents and guardians who do not constitute all parents and guardians, and children without any parental support, will need to apply to the Civil and Administrative Tribunal to authorise the alteration with decisions made based on the child’s best interests.

Applicants will be required to identify a sex descriptor: either male, female, or another sex descriptor such as non binary.

Residents born outside of New South Wales will have similar options to get their sex acknowledged in state records.

There are provisions to alter a trans person’s record of sex on family members’ birth certificates or on marriage certificates by application from certificate holders. These certificates are important legal documents used for inheritance, insurance and superannuation and should reflect a person’s true sex.

The trans experience is not a mental illness and has always been a part of human diversity. People who are trans live healthy, functioning and meaningful lives with good relationships and jobs, contributing to their communities like anyone else.

In 2013, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition recognised that being trans is not a mental illness and dropped “gender identity disorder” as a classified mental illness.

In 2019, the World Health Assembly of the World Health Organization endorsed two new diagnostic codes for gender incongruence in the eleventh edition of its International Classification of Diseases, which transferred medical care for trans people from the mental health chapter to a new chapter on sexual health.

The state’s Mental Health Act provides legal definitions for mental illness for the purpose of treating someone under the Act against their wishes. Certain words and conduct are specifically excluded such as sexual orientation, religious activity or consuming alcohol and drugs.

Trans people are still seen by some as pathological, creating greater risks for them being forcibly institutionalised. In line with DSM-5 and ICD-11, the bill would make it clear that gender identity and gender expression do not indicate mental illness.

New South Wales sentencing laws recognise that crimes motivated by hatred or prejudice because a person belongs to a particular group can be aggravating factors in sentencing. The Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act provides examples, but these examples do not include all LGBTIQA+ people, with trans people and people with variations of sex characteristics excluded.

Trans people and people with variations of sex characteristics are at heightened risk of violence and the bill would make it clear that crimes motivated by hatred for them can be aggravating factors in sentencing.

The Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act and the Children’s Guardian Act include principles that guide decisions affecting children including consideration of a child’s culture, disability, language, religion and sexuality. My bill would add gender identity and variations of sex characteristics to the list.

Five acts in New South Wales authorise body searches without consent. These are:

  • the Crimes (Administration of Sentences) Act
  • the Crimes (Forensic Procedures) Act
  • the Court Security Act
  • the Law Enforcement (Powers and Responsibilities) Act and
  • the Sheriff Act.

The laws have safeguards to preserve subjects’ dignity and privacy by requiring searches to be conducted by a person of the same sex as the subject.

While some laws clarify that for a trans man or trans woman, this means the sex they identify with, others are silent on this, and all are silent on intersex and non binary people. Some provisions assume sex characteristics, like breasts, are only associated with particular sexes.

Being searched by a person of the same sex is not always appropriate or possible for trans and intersex persons. Trans and intersex people may be more comfortable with persons of different sexes conducting searches on different parts of their body, or they may be more comfortable with a person of any sex who appears more sensitive or less intimidating.

Body searches can be highly intrusive especially for trans and intersex people. My bill would better protect their dignity in body searches across all four Acts.

Trans and intersex people would be given the right to elect a particular officer or a particular class of officers to conduct the search to the extent reasonably available. If they don’t elect, they should be searched by a person of the same sex as they identify.

I understand from talking to police that these changes would provide welcome clarity in protecting dignity and reducing the trauma of an unwanted body search. They will of course need corresponding officer training.

Decriminalisation of sex work in New South Wales began in 1979 under the Labor Wran government, and continued in 1995 under the Labor Carr government.

But outdated offences remain in the Summary Offences Act that still criminalise some sex workers, add to stigma and discrimination, and are unnecessary.   

I will take members through these offences.

There is an offence for knowingly living off the earnings of sex work with adults living with a sex worker who don’t have other sufficient lawful means of support specified.

The offence could incriminate a sex worker’s:

  • partner who becomes incapacitated
  • adult child who lives at home while studying or
  • housemate on a low income.

Exerting coercive conduct or undue influence to “cause or induce” someone to “commit an act of prostitution” or surrender any proceeds from it is an offence.

The offence creates complications and risks for:

  • sex worker businesses in recruitment
  • sex workers talking about their work with friends, and
  • support services helping a person just starting sex work.

The offence does not address sexual servitude, which is addressed in the Crimes Act.

There are offences for sex work including soliciting in massage parlours, or premises used for saunas, steam baths, physical exercise or photography.

These have little purpose. We know that sex work can occur in massage parlours and saunas without any injury to society and the offence only drives practices underground.

Advertising offences place unnecessary hindrances on sex work, much of which has moved from street spaces to online platforms.

Offences for solicitation by both sex workers and clients near homes, schools, churches and hospitals are out of date. These rules were imposed at a time when high volumes of street-based sex work was occurring in Darlinghurst as it was undergoing gentrification. Street based sex work is no longer as visible with much of the industry now online.                                

Offences for public acts of sex work – defined as sexual intercourse and masturbation – in view from a school, church, hospital, public place or home, are covered by existing offences in the Crimes Act for public sex acts.

These summary offences have no community relevance or benefit and Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research data shows they are rarely used. Retaining them risks ad hoc or discretionary use on marginalised sex workers, including those who are trans and First Nations.

Maintaining offences is inconsistent with the decriminalised framework. Decriminalisation keeps sex workers and the community safe, preventing STI transmission and ensuring good relationships between sex workers and police. My bill will repeal all summary offences.

For personal reasons, someone may not wish to disclose their LGBTIQA+ status or history to their family, work colleagues, friends, neighbours or associates. Where the person is in a violent and abusive relationship, threats to ‘out’ the person can be used as a unique form of coercive control on LGBTIQA+ people.

The bill would make threats to out a person’s sexual orientation, gender history, HIV diagnosis, variations of sex characteristics or sex work a form of domestic abuse for the purpose of making an apprehended domestic violence order or an apprehended personal violence order.

New South Wales laws ban commercial surrogacy in the state, and anyone “domiciled” to the state engaging in commercial surrogacy overseas.

While the bans aim to protect participants, they have not stopped couples and singles – be they LGBTIQA+ or not – from seeking commercial surrogacy overseas. Because children born out of commercial surrogacy are born through unlawful arrangements, those children are denied the full protection of the law.

The courts have no power to issue parentage orders for children born out of commercial surrogacy overseas leaving the law to recognise the child’s birth parents:

  • in another country
  • who have relinquished parental responsibility through a lawful court process,
  • and are not biologically related or involved in the child’s upbringing

 – even when parents here are biologically related to the child.

I understand there are mixed views on commercial surrogacy, but no one can be comfortable with laws that deny children the basic protection of legal parentage because of the circumstances of their birth. Parentage orders currently do not prioritise the best interests of these children.

My bill would not lift the ban on commercial surrogacy in this state. The bill would remove the ban on commercial surrogacy arrangements outside of New South Wales, and empower the Courts to issue parentage orders to intending parents of children born from these arrangements, if it is in the child’s best interests.

The bill would also give the Supreme Court the power to issue a parentage order where a child has reached the age of 18, to ensure adult children can have their parents recognised for legal purposes like wills and powers of attorney.

Stigma and discrimination contribute to disadvantage while workplace participation helps alleviate it. Encouraging LGBTIQA+ employment is a step towards equality.

My bill would ensure all LGBTIQA+ people are covered by public sector employment laws that facilitate the employment of disadvantaged groups.

Rule 26 of the Government Sector Employment (General) Rules allows government sector agencies to modify recruitment processes to employ people from a list of disadvantaged groups. The bill would add trans persons and persons with variations of sex characteristics to that list.

Section 63 of the Government Sector Employment Act 2013 makes each New South Wales government sector agency responsible for workforce diversity. My bill would require the Public Service Commissioner to create a minimum diversity and inclusion standard for all public sector agencies. The standard “could” include targets and quotas, or gender affirmation leave – something the Pride Council of the Public Sector Association raised with me, and was highlighted in the Pride in Protest submission to this bill.

The bill would ensure that workforce diversity defined in the act includes sexual orientation, being of trans experience and having variations of sex characteristics.

State laws still reflect archaic and stigmatising language against people with HIV and AIDS, using terms like “infected”, “suffering from” or even “status” contrary to dignity, respect and public health outcomes. The bill would modernise language for HIV and AIDS.

Language in New South Wales law does not unambiguously apply to all genders. Descriptions of people, relationships, families and bodily attributes and capacities are gendered making the way provisions deal with trans men, trans women, non binary people and those who don’t fit gendered stereotypes unclear.

The application of words like brother, sister, maternity, and “breasts” when limited to “women” is not clear in application to some trans people.

Gendered language should be replaced with inclusive language, but this requires extensive work across the entire legislative portfolio.

My bill would include interim measures to expand interpretation principles for gendered language under the Interpretation Act to ensure references to relationships and body attributes or capacities through gendered terms are inclusive of all relevant relationships and people, regardless of gender, making our legislation clearer.

I would like to thank many organisations and individuals who helped make today’s introduction a reality.

Firstly my mother Carolyn, who had the idea for me to do this bill: she was frustrated seeing the LGBTIQA+ community constantly under attack and said to me we must move forward with legislative gains, thanks mum!

The extraordinary Tammie Nardone, my policy and research expert who has managed the drafting instructions, stakeholder management, and legislative process for this bill, a process that started very soon after voluntary assisted dying passed.

Parliamentary Counsel, Annette O’Callaghan for being so responsive and detailed in the many drafts of this legislation.

The team at Equality Australia for working with LGBTIQA+ stakeholders to audit state legislation and provide a comprehensive joint submission on what needs to change. I’d like to especially thank Ghassah Kassisieh for his work in advising throughout the drafting process.

Teddy Cooke from ACON and Eloise Brook from the Gender Centre for helping us ensure the provisions relating to trans and gender diverse communities address their urgent needs.

I thank BlaQ Aboriginal Corporation and CEO Shane Sturgis who is here for their work showing how many LGBTIQA+ can experience intersectional discrimination.

I thank Morgan Carpenter and the team from Intersex Human Rights Australia for their ongoing consultation throughout the process.

I thank all the other organisations including PIAC who made submissions to inform this legislation.

I would also like to thank the NSW Government and Crossbench and Greens for facilitating the introduction of this bill today, and especially the Attorney-General and health minister for the constructive and consultative approach we will continue to have; and acknowledge the interest and passion for reform from many in the opposition.     

The bills cover a lot of overdue territory, and that’s because New South Wales has never embarked on a process of comprehensive LGBTIQA+ reform. While the government and colleagues consider and consult on the best way forward for these reforms, I have one simple message: we’re here, we’re queer, and it’s time the law caught up.

I commend the bill to the house.

Let's work together to celebrate and protect our great city!