House of Representatives Speech- Sex Discrimination Amendment (Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Intersex Status) Bill 2013

I thank the honourable member for his contribution to the debate on the Sex Discrimination Amendment (Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Intersex Status) Bill 2013. This bill will make an important change to protect people from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity and intersex status by extending the protections in the Sex Discrimination Act. It also provides protection from discrimination for same-sex de facto couples. These protections are long overdue. Members of Australia's lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex communities continue to experience discrimination in their daily lives, particularly in accessing services we should all be able to take for granted.

I thank the honourable member for his contribution to the debate on the Sex Discrimination Amendment (Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Intersex Status) Bill 2013. This bill will make an important change to protect people from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity and intersex status by extending the protections in the Sex Discrimination Act. It also provides protection from discrimination for same-sex de facto couples. These protections are long overdue. Members of Australia's lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex communities continue to experience discrimination in their daily lives, particularly in accessing services we should all be able to take for granted.

The new sexual orientation protections will build on the Labor government's reforms to 85 Commonwealth acts which removed discrimination against same-sex couples and their children. The amendments will provide that discrimination on these new grounds is unlawful in work, education, provision of goods, services and facilities, accommodation, land, clubs and administration of Commonwealth laws and programs. The introduction of these new grounds of discrimination will also provide a complaints mechanism for people who consider they have been discriminated against. The Australian Human Rights Commission will be able to investigate and attempt to conciliate those complaints.

I would also like to thank the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs for its inquiry and report and register my appreciation for the committee's speed and industriousness. It has enabled the bill to be considered in a timely manner so that these important protections can be legislated and implemented in this parliamentary term. I also thank the opposition for their support for this historic bill. It is very pleasing to see the opposition now agreeing with what has been very longstanding Labor policy. I advise that the government has circulated amendments to the bill regarding discrimination in Commonwealth funded aged-care service provision and updating terminology in other Commonwealth acts from 'sexual preference' to 'sexual orientation'. Positive discussions are continuing with parliamentary colleagues on these amendments, which the government will look to introduce in the Senate and, if passed, will then be debated further in this place.

I am proud that this government has brought forward, and that this parliament is considering, important protections from discrimination for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex members of our community. I commend the bill to the House.