House debates

Tuesday, 25 May 2021

Statements by Members


1:54 pm

Photo of Tanya PlibersekTanya Plibersek (Sydney, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Minister for Education) Share this | | Hansard source

I want to acknowledge the changes to consent laws announced today in New South Wales and congratulate New South Wales Attorney-General Mark Speakman on these legislative changes. New South Wales will now be adopting an affirmative-consent model in its legal system. This means that juries will no longer be able to find that an alleged perpetrator of sexual assault had reasonable grounds to believe the victim was consenting, unless they said or did something to obtain that consent. This is a very important step forward to keeping more people safe. Silence isn't consent. Freezing because you're terrified is not consent. It's not consent if someone promises to wear a condom and then slips it off during sex. Consent is an ongoing conversation, and it needs to continue throughout a sexual experience.

I want to mention the work of Saxon Mullins in particular, among many others, in advocating for and achieving this incredible legislative reform. She has worked tirelessly campaigning for this change. Saxon, you are a remarkable young woman who has turned a painful experience into meaningful change for many, many others. We need to continue this progress, from law reform through to education. When children are old enough to have such conversations, they should be learning about issues like consent in an age-appropriate manner. Parents and schools share this important responsibility.