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Anti-Discrimination Act Amendments - Effect on LGBTI Community

Parliamentary Activity - Wednesday, 16 August 2017, Cassy O'Connor MP


Ms O'CONNOR question to PREMIER, Mr HODGMAN

As you are aware, Australians are about to take part in a $122 million postal survey on marriage equality because the Prime Minister did not apparently have the courage or moral authority to allow for a free vote. Since the postal survey was announced, we are already hearing reports of the very loved and wanted children of same-sex couples being described as the stolen generation. Some of the same cohort of children are being told their parents' love is not legitimate. There are real concerns about the harm the debate on this survey will have on LGBTI Australians, particularly young people.

Why is your Government proceeding with amendments to the Anti-Discrimination Act, we understand to be debated upstairs tomorrow, to make it easier for hurtful, hateful, discriminatory things to be said about LGBTI Tasmanians and same-sex couples? Are you not concerned about the damage this will cause?


ANSWER

Madam Speaker, I thank the member for the question. I again state clearly that it is a mischaracterisation of the legislation we have put before the parliament and that now sits within the Legislative Council and is a matter they are now considering. It is not right to say, nor is it lawful for anyone to engage in the sorts of practices the member has outlined in a question. Our legislation and legislative amendments are designed to allow and expand the right to free speech for those who might have a religious perspective to join the various other groups that have an exemption under the legislation. This is about broadening and expanding the right to free speech but always acknowledging that all Tasmanians should do so, reasonably and respectfully. That is the core part of our democracy. It is a right for all members of our community to be protected from discrimination and incitement of hatred.

Let us be very clear here: the Tasmanian Anti-Discrimination Act prohibits the incitement of hatred, serious contempt, or ridicule of a person on the basis of race, disability, sexual orientation or lawful sexual activity, or religious belief affiliation or activity. That is the law as it currently stands. The amendments we propose do nothing to diminish or water down those strict prohibitions on that sort of conduct.

The matter is currently before the upper House. It is in the hands of those members. I respect their right to debate this matter and we look forward to seeing the outcome.