Ms PATTEN (Northern Metropolitan) — I raise a matter for the Minister for Equality. This month I had the great opportunity of attending the ChillOut Festival in Daylesford. It was a wonderful day, and it was a shame about my friends from the north — Mr Drum, I missed you there! But it was a lovely day out, and it was wonderful — —
Mr Drum — I missed you too!
Ms PATTEN — Yes, I know. Next time we will bootscoot together. It was a beautiful day, and it was great to see the acceptance of diversity that people in regional areas have embraced. I mentioned bootscooting because the line dancers were bootscooting with the bootscooters. Everyone seemed to be getting along very well together.
One matter that the festival demonstrated was that there is still a lot of work to do around the stigma that people with HIV face on a daily basis. As someone who has been involved in the HIV/AIDS sector for more than 20 years, it saddens me that 20 years on people are still stigmatised to the point that they do not want to acknowledge their status, talk to people, get help about their status and sometimes even tell friends and partners about their HIV status.
People from the ENUF campaign and the Victorian AIDS Council did some great work at the Daylesford ChillOut Festival on this matter, particularly because the day coincided with International Women’s Day. They highlighted the fact that today in Victoria 2600 women are living with HIV and being stigmatised by that. People are living for many years with the virus, so the stigma affects them in many ways and for many years. That could be reduced by the removal of section 19A of the Crimes Act 1958. I commend the former health minister and the government on making a commitment to remove section 19A from the Crimes Act by July 2015, which will be the anniversary of the 20th International AIDS Conference held in Melbourne last year. I ask the minister to confirm that the amendments will be passed by July.
I take this opportunity to let members know that I asked a number of the people at the Daylesford festival what they would like to see me do and achieve in this house. They mentioned more genderless toilets, more humour and more dragons!