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On RUOK Day Liberals Should Rethink Anti-Discrimination Act Changes

Cassy O'Connor MP

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Thursday, 8 September 2016

Tags: Mental Health, Suicide Prevention, Marriage Equality, Anti-Discrimination Act

Cassy O'Connor MP | Greens Leader

RUOK Day is an important reminder that reaching out to people in mental distress is something we can all do.  We can all ask our friends and people we care about if they are OK.  For a person experiencing mental distress, this reaching out can have a very positive effect.

On this day, we acknowledge the terrible toll suicide has on individuals, families and communities.

Tasmania, tragically, has one of the highest suicide rates in the country.  We can do more to save lives, to provide support and care.  It takes a whole of community, whole of government effort.

On RUOK Day, the State Liberals need to consider the mental health of LGBTI Tasmanians, who are concerned that proposed changes to the Anti-Discrimination Act 1998 will lead to more hurtful and discriminatory language towards them. 

The proposed changes to the State's anti-discrimination laws have the potential to open the floodgates to bigoted and offensive language from hardline opponents of marriage equality, some of whom will be homophobes, if the planned plebiscite goes ahead.

The suicide rate is already far too high in the LGBTI community across Australia and globally.  

Many young LGBTI Tasmanians already struggle to find acceptance within themselves and their community. We can't allow ourselves to make them more vulnerable.

The planned weakening of the Anti-Discrimination Act risks the public debate being inundated with offensive and potentially hurtful language.

Tasmania should be a safe and supportive haven for young LGBTI people and our government should be protecting them.  The Liberals need to abandon proposed changes to the State's anti-discrimination laws to avoid the harm they are likely to cause.