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Hodgman Confirms Plan to Weaken Anti-Discrimination Laws

Cassy O'Connor MP

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Tags: Anti-Discrimination Act, LGBTI, Marriage Equality, Discrimination

Cassy O'Connor MP | Greens Leader

Premier Hodgman's proposed changes to the Anti-Discrimination Act 1998 are the sign of the power in the extreme Right in the Liberal Party and lobbying from the churches.

The Premier made it clear in question time today that he wants to weaken legislation that protects Tasmanians from offence, humiliation, intimidation, insult, ridicule or even incitement of hatred. These changes would have an effect on LGBTI Tasmanians, older Tasmanians, people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, women, and a whole range of people.

The Premier indicated today that the Liberals don't believe the Act has the right balance.  Perhaps, the translation is that the Act is not right wing enough?

This is all about enabling opponents of marriage equality and intolerant religious groups to be able to use discriminatory, harmful language in the lead up to any plebiscite on marriage equality.  The changes will, however, have potentially damaging implications for a much larger cross-section of the community.

These proposed changes have been criticised by the Equal Opportunities Commissioner, the Australian Lawyers Alliance and by a former Tasmanian of the Year. That criticism is because these changes are dangerous.

The free speech argument doesn't add up. What is it that the opponents of marriage equality want to say, that they can't say now?

The Premier hasn't been able to answer that question at all and he's standing on very thin ground.

No concern has been raised with the Act until we were heading into a national debate on marriage equality.

This is backwards, unethical and counter to principles of equality and tolerance. In Australia, the church and State should be separate.  In Tasmania, apparently they are not.