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Hodgman Abandons LGBTI Tasmanians and other Groups to Risk of Hate Speech

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Tags: Anti-Discrimination Act, LGBTI, Marriage Equality, Women, Multicultural Affairs, Disability, Hate Speech

Cassy O'Connor MP | Greens Leader 

The Premier demonstrated his weakness and the utter hypocrisy of his Party today.

On the one hand he was speaking against sexist language at the launch of a report into the impact of family violence on children, while on the other, tabling an amendment Bill which will give license to hurtful and hateful language.

The irony is almost sickening. 

The proposed amendments to the Anti-Discrimination Act 1998 will enable anyone to cite religious beliefs as an excuse to denigrate LGBTI people, women, people from a culturally and linguistically diverse background, people living with a disability and the list of attributes under S.16 of the Act goes on.

There is no question that these proposed changes will give rise to discriminatory and hurtful language, and provide an exemption for hate speech on religious grounds.

Despite not a shred of evidence that the Act as it currently stands has inhibited respectful free speech, the Liberals want to weaken the law and expose vulnerable people to the risk of hate speech.

This is not about freedom of speech, but freedom from consequence. 

These changes provide a privileged exemption to powerful religious groups to denigrate LGBTI Tasmanians, but the proposed amendments go much further than that.

A whole range of people are potentially negatively affected by these changes.  In fact, they are made more powerless while the hard Right of the churches and Hodgman Cabinet will be empowered by these changes should they pass.

In her submission to the government, Equal Opportunities Commissioner, Robin Banks, makes it clear the amendments are unnecessary and the rationale for them, 'not sustainable'.

All the Commissioner's concerns raised in her submission have been ignored, as have the Greens'.  

It appears all submissions that warned these changes would unleash dark forces in our community at the expense of already marginalised groups have been completely disregarded.

It is clear the Liberal Government went through a sham consultation process.  They had the amendments drafted just a few days after submissions closed.

It is also clear the Premier will listen to the voice of extremists