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Premier Too Weak to Tackle Religious Right in his Party

Cassy O'Connor MP

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Thursday, 10 November 2022


Cassy O'Connor MP | Greens Leader

Premier Rockliff failed the courage test in Parliament this morning.

With one of his backbenchers set to host a pro-conversion ‘therapy’, anti-transgender forum in Parliament on 23 November, the Greens asked the Premier whether he agreed this event has the potential to cause harm to LGBTIQ+ Tasmanians, and runs counter to his commitment to ban harmful conversion ‘therapy’.

Mr Rockliff would not, could not, condemn the planned event.

It is Jeremy Rockliff’s policy to adopt the recommendations of the Tasmanian Law Reform Institute (TLRI) report that sets out the evidence base for the need to ban  conversion ‘therapy’ which has, caused such suffering to LGBTIQ+ people.

His backbencher is undermining this commitment.

This follows the Premier’s refusal yesterday to criticise disgraceful claims from Liberal Senator Alex Antic, accusing the ABC of 'grooming' over the reading of a book that tells young women it is okay to wear pants.

Today, the Premier claims the transphobes behind the planned event are exercising free speech.  Why then does he consistently fail to exercise his right to freedom of speech, and make it clear he recognises the proposed event, and comments from Senator Antic, are hateful and harmful to LGBTIQ+ people?

The Premier seems to accept the rhetoric of the far-right that freedom of speech means spewing hateful lies about LGBTIQ+ people is ok – but somehow criticising this hate speech is not ok.

The Premier needs to understand that freedom of speech is not just something that bigots get to exercise to spew hateful misinformation. It is also a tool he is free to use to defend the persecuted and marginalized.

The Religious Right in Jeremy Rockliff’s party room seems to have the numbers.