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Monday, 17 March 2008
Page: 1964

Ms REA (9:22 PM) —The Rudd Labor government, when in opposition, supported the then government’s Northern Territory emergency response because we were prepared to support any measures that dealt with the elimination of sexual abuse and violence against women and children in Indigenous communities. That has been made clear in statements made by both the Prime Minister and the Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs prior to and subsequent to the last election. It is also clear from the legislation before the House. That is why I think this motion is very confusing. I do not really understand why this motion is before us. I am particularly concerned and confused by the second dot point, which calls on the government to ‘restore the pornography bans put in place by the former government’.

What does the member for Warringah mean by ‘restore’? As the shadow minister, surely he has read the current legislation and the second reading speech by the minister. When he calls on the government to restore something, it implies that the government is taking something away. The government is taking nothing away. In fact, it is actually extending the pornography ban to include pay TV licences, ensuring that they do not provide television channels that include R18+ content. It is actually an extension of the ban. The previous government’s legislation clearly talks about X-rated pornography. The motion before us says that the government is taking something away, when the legislation before the House in fact extends the pornography ban. We are absolutely clear in our commitment to protecting children from sexual abuse and violence and we are absolutely committed to cracking down on children being exposed to pornography, particularly in these communities and particularly when they are exposed to X-rated and, in this case, pay television licensed channels which include R-rated material as well.

I hear from the opposition criticism that this is also a watering down because it includes consultation with communities. This government is committed to consulting with Indigenous communities on such far-reaching proposals as those that are contained within this legislation and the previous government’s legislation. It is also a requirement of the Racial Discrimination Act that this particular measure be declared a special measure, which requires a community member to make the request. It also requires that the relevant community be consulted and informed and it does allow for a time ban. So, not only are we adhering to what I believe is a genuine approach to working in partnership with many people in Indigenous communities in the Northern Territory who wish to see some form of action taken against sexual abuse and violence; it is actually a requirement under the Racial Discrimination Act, and it could lead to a legal challenge if we do not have that included in the legislation that is before the House.

I do not understand why the member for Warringah has moved this motion. He talks about permits, which are clearly irrelevant to the stamping out of sexual abuse and violence—as my colleague the member for Isaacs very clearly outlined. The member for Warringah’s statements about pornography bans were completely erroneous and his last point about ‘watering down’ does not make sense. What does he mean by ‘watering down’? Does he not think that we should review and assess this legislation? Does he not think that, if things are not working, we should have the opportunity to change them? Does he not think that, if we can identify areas for improvement, we should not do that? Clearly he does. Clearly this motion is not about outcomes or achieving things. The member for Warringah has clearly identified that he is ill-informed. His motion is sloppy. In fact, he is much more concerned about politicking than actually getting outcomes for Indigenous communities. That is absolutely clear. (Time expired)