Ms PATTEN (Northern Metropolitan) (18:01:48):
I guess in many ways I am sad to be speaking to this bill again. We spoke about it in December 2016. Many of us in this chamber will remember that particular day, and I am sure many of the people in the gallery will also remember that particular day, because it was horrible, it was absolutely horrible. The vileness of what was said on that day I will not forget.
I was looking back at the notes and the contribution that I had made on that day, and I did not speak positively. I seemed to be just defending and addressing some of the horrible things that other people in this chamber had said and bringing them to task and showing the hypocrisy of some of the things they said. It does not come out of my mouth very often as an atheist, but what would Jesus do?
Mr Melhem interjected.
Thank you, Mr Melhem, I am not planning to convert today. But I did consider what would Jesus do? And as Ms Garrett so beautifully said, Jesus would have walked with us and Jesus would have voted with us, I believe. I again will be supporting this legislation because it is the right thing to do.
As Mr Jennings said, it is very, very simple. This is the right thing to do. This is about people. This is about our community. This is about our sons. This is about our children. This is about our friends. This is about our loved ones. It is not often that we do debate a bill that is so personal and so important to individuals, but this is one of them.
I have had no difficulty with this legislation. It is very simple: you are who you are.
And I am not here to tell anyone otherwise, and nor should our governments and nor should our birth certificates. Our birth certificates should be a description of who we are, and that is what this piece of legislation will do. Ms Shing so eloquently spoke and raised some of the startling and most horrific statistics that we know about what happens to our trans and gender-diverse friends and family.
This bill, I hope, will in some way go to alleviate some of that. We are not going to solve the discrimination, solve the vilification that we sometimes see. We are probably not going to be able to solve the Australian newspaper.
You would hope, like I did, that occasionally the Australian newspaper might actually speak to an expert rather than the deputy president of Fred Niles’ Christian Democratic Party, who appears to be the expert on all things trans even though in the articles in that paper he acknowledges that, as far as he knows, he has never met a trans person, nor has he ever looked at any research around trans or gender diversity.
I spoke to many of the organisations and some of the people who are opposed to this legislation, and I spoke to them genuinely. I genuinely did want to understand their fear about allowing another person to be who they are, and I listened. Some of it was rubbish, but much of it I respect and I understand that it was heartfelt.
I do not think it was correct because I actually spoke to the experts, and that was our trans and gender-diverse friends and family. Those are the experts on this bill. This is who this bill is for. The bill is for their families. Judy Garland said, ‘Always be a first-rate version of yourself instead of a second-rate version of somebody else’. How beautiful is that?
This bill is about catching up with where our community is. This bill is about love. This bill is about doing the right thing and standing up for some in our community who have had so much struggle and have had to be so bloody brave to stand up for themselves, to fight for us to be here today. I commend this bill to the house.
Fiona Patten MP
Leader of Reason
Member for Northern Metropolitan Region
Speech given 27/8/19