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Helen Dalton (Supplied)

Members of a committee examining New South Wales’ LGBT Equality Bill voted against more than a dozen amendments to their report, which aimed at bringing clarity to a “rushed” process before it was tabled in Parliament. Source: The Catholic Weekly.

Helen Dalton MP, the Independent member for Murray, raised 16 amendments to the seven-member committee, all of which were defeated, before the report was released on June 3, recommending the draft legislation be considered by the Parliament. 

She said the bill goes further than simply promoting the equality of LGBT persons and, if passed, will direct much-needed resources from the bush to city electorates.

The green light for debate comes despite an online survey by the NSW Legislative Assembly Committee on Community Services indicating 85 per cent of more than 13,000 respondents were opposed to the bill and the vast majority also opposed to its specific recommendations. 

Ms Dalton first moved that the report recommend the Parliament not proceed to consider the Equality Legislation Amendment (LGBTIQA+) Bill 2023. 

Failing that, she sought to include several key arguments presented to the committee that had not made it into the report, including from the Catholic Bishops of NSW and the Australasian-Middle East Christian Apostolic Churches, that it is “inappropriate” to amend the state’s anti-discrimination laws while the NSW Law Reform Commission is reviewing them. 

Also voted down were Ms Dalton’s attempts to insert arguments from advocacy group Women’s Forum Australia against the decriminalisation of prostitution due to its “harmful and exploitative nature,” and the Feminist Legal Clinic against reducing prohibitions against commercial surrogacy laws. 

Both proposals are in the bill, which recommends changes to 20 different laws. 

Some amendments were supported by Nationals MP Tanya Thompson, but all were defeated. 

“I just think every part of this bill should be dealt with separately, it’s brushing over some really significant changes to legislation,” Ms Dalton said. 

“The time frames for this have been so rushed and when you’re looking at things like surrogacy and birth certificates [laws] there are a lot of consequences with this and it’s unfair to not give it the time it deserves.” 


NSW’s “Equality” bill ignores needs of the bush, says MP (By Marilyn Rodrigues, The Catholic Weekly)