Employed white men aged over 30 years old need to be more included in Canberra society, an ACT Opposition frontbencher has urged.
Canberra Liberals gaming spokesman Mark Parton on Wednesday told the Legislative Assembly that the political debate about inclusion had focussed on minority groups and the LGBTIQ community.
"But if you are a heterosexual white male over the age of 30, you're not really included in anything," he said.
"I know that those opposite would say that heterosexual white males over the age of 30 have opportunities aplenty, so we don't need to look after them, they'll be okay."
Mr Parton, who supports the 'yes' campaign for same sex marriage, made the comments during a passionate debate on a motion from Labor whip Tara Cheyne about diversity and inclusion in Canberra.
While many MLAs put forth their views supporting initiatives to help the LGBTIQ community, women and other groups, Mr Parton said that the government "picks its favourites for inclusion".
"If somehow you don't fit that mould, then you are likely to be ignored," he said.
Mr Parton said the government should commit to "inclusion" for everyone, given 70 per cent of suicides in Australia were men aged 30 to 54 years old.
He also said that the government had" bullied and demonised" the greyhound racing community, causing "serious mental health issues" in the racing fraternity.
"They've been pushed to the edge through no fault of their own, I fear that when the final legislation is tabled that it will push some of them over the edge," he said.
In an exchange after his comments on a social media platform, Mr Parton said that the Assembly had a majority of female members, and that his speech was "mainly" about the greyhound industry.
Chief Minister Andrew Barr told the Assembly that he found it "a little distressing" that in the context of a wider debate on same sex marriage, that come were claiming "it is stressful for everyone".
He said issues that were "bitterly fought" as little as a decade ago were now the subject of bipartisan or tripartite support.
Mr Barr told the Assembly that 10 years on from debates when civil partnerships were referred to as "the end of civilisation", the community was now being told to "settle for that outcome".
He said that while some people wanted freedom of religion, he wanted "freedom from religion" in his life.
"I don't need other people to impose their views on my life, my relationships, my family and anything to do with how I conduct myself in the context of being a law abiding citizen in this secular liberal democracy," he said.
"It's not to say we don't appreciate that others hold different views, but our view is not for changing."
Labor backbencher Chris Steel used his adjournment speech to compare Mr Parton to Donald Trump.
"That statement was a rallying call reminiscent of another place. I'm not sure the message resonates in the ACT but that's not for me to judge,' Mr Steel said.
Mr Steel, who is gay, said there was one institution heterosexual white males over the age of 30 were included in - marriage.
Daniel Burdon is a reporter for The Canberra Times
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