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Liberals Cynically Delay Two Controversial Bills Hoping MLC Mix Will Change

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Saturday, 15 April 2017

Tags: Anti-Discrimination Act, Discrimination, Native Forest Logging, Legislative Council, LGBTI, Environment, Forests, Tasmanian Forest Agreement

Cassy O’Connor MP | Greens' Leader

Facing a storm of stakeholder and community condemnation and defeat in the Legislative Council, the Hodgman Liberals have cynically delayed debate on two divisive, contentious pieces of legislation until after the 3 May Legislative Council election.

There isn't much that's transparent about the Liberals, but we can see straight through this attempt to see if a shift in the balance in the Upper House will tip the vote on high conservation value logging and weakening the anti-discrimination Act in their favour.

Outside the Liberal Cabinet, there is almost zero support for these Bills and a high degree of understanding about the damage they could cause if passed.

On the plan to open up 356 000 hectares of high conservation value forests, now the sawmillers the Liberals claimed to have on side have expressed their opposition.

They join every key forest industry player in the State in calling on the Liberals not to reignite conflict over forests which were set aside to go into reserves under the Tasmanian Forest Agreement.

Proposed changes to the Anti-Discrimination Act 1998 would make it easier for a person to use religious belief as a defence for spouting racism, sexism, homophobia, ignorance and hate.

The decision to delay debate on the Anti-Discrimination Amendment Bill 2016 was made on the same day the Premier and the Parliament apologised to lesbian, gay, transgender, bisexual and intersex Tasmanians and their families for the harm caused by past unjust laws.

It's pretty clear that debate on both these cynical and unjustifiable pieces of legislation has been put off by the Liberals until after the Legislative Council elections, not because it's the right thing to do, but because they are hoping the numbers will eventually fall their way.