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Liberals Set to Weaken Protection for LGBTI Tasmanians Pre-Plebiscite

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Sunday, 14 August 2016

Tags: LGBTI, Marriage Equality, Anti-Discrimination Act, Australian Christian Lobby

Cassy O'Connor MP | Greens Leader

The Premier has caved in to opponents of marriage equality and is overseeing changes to the State's anti-discrimination laws that will weaken protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans-gender and intersex Tasmanians in the lead up to the Liberals' planned plebiscite.

The Greens understand the Office of Parliamentary Counsel is currently drafting amendments to the Anti-Discrimination Act 1998 that will remove some provisions under S.17 (1) that make it an offence to offend, humiliate, intimidate, insult or ridicule someone on the basis of a characteristic that includes sexuality and gender identity.

While LGBTI Tasmanians, their families, friends and supporters are deeply concerned about the proposed changes, other groups should also be concerned.

If the changes go through, it will also open up the possibility of discriminatory language being used to hurt people on the basis of their race, age, gender, disability, marital status and a range of other characteristics defined under the Act.

This is a regressive step which exposes Premier Hodgman as pandering to the deep conservatives in his own party and the Australian Christian Lobby.

If the plebiscite passes the Federal Parliament and is held, LGBTI Tasmanians will likely be subject to a debate marked by extreme and homophobic language. Instead of working to avoid this, the Premier is apparently trying to facilitate it.

The Tasmanian Greens will argue and vote against any weakening of the State's anti-discrimination laws.