Ms PATTEN (Northern Metropolitan) (09:45): Last week was International Face Equality Week, and this year’s theme was ‘Face equality is a human right’. I was really fortunate to meet with Carly Findlay OAM, writer, speaker and appearance activist, who highlighted the Face Equality International report, and I would encourage all members to have a read of it.
The report shows that the global experience of disfigurement and facial difference is one of inequality, marginalisation, being hidden away and human rights violations. Wherever in the world someone with facial difference might be, the impact of stigma and prejudice towards facial difference can have a profound impact upon mental health and wellbeing.
Change can start with the language we use: ‘facial difference’ instead of ‘disfigurement’, and this goes to the heart of the anti-vilification bill that I introduced into this house in 2019 that would have protected people from vilification based on gender, sexuality or disability. The bill was referred for a parliamentary inquiry. The inquiry made favourable recommendations, including that the government will carefully consider extending anti-vilification protections to additional groups of people, including all those groups protected by the current Equal Opportunity Act 2010.
So on behalf of Carly and many others, I urge the Attorney-General to hasten on that reform.
Fiona Patten MP
Leader of Reason
Member for Northern Metropolitan Region
Members statement 25/5/22