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Attorney-General and Justice – Birth Certificate Changes


Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Wednesday, 25 November 2020

Tags: Birth Certificates, Legislation

Dr WOODRUFF - Also on the births, deaths and marriages legislation, you were in The Examiner this morning: their headline is that you will not rule out gender law change. I will not verbal you but you say in that - and these are your words -

Ms ARCHER - Have they directly quoted me?

Dr WOODRUFF - "I am not going to defend the laws because it wasn't my law reform so it's not my law reform to defend." Fine, but are you going to commit to not white-anting it?

Ms ARCHER - By' not white-anting it', what do you mean?

Dr WOODRUFF - By not repealing the part of the law that the Sandy Bay Liberal Party branch policy motion seeks to repeal?

Ms ARCHER - Chair, I have already answered this question.

CHAIR - I was going to say you are just repeating a question that has already been asked, Dr Woodruff.

Dr WOODRUFF - I have not asked that question.

CHAIR - I do not think it matters whether you have asked it; it has been asked.

Ms ARCHER - I am very happy to repeat my answer if you want to waste time

Dr WOODRUFF - I have asked the question whether the minister will not white-ant it?

Ms ARCHER - If you want to waste time, motions from State Council are not binding on the Parliamentary Liberal Party. What I have said, and what the then Premier has said and indeed our government position, is that we reserve the right to make changes to that legislation should unintended consequences arise.

Dr WOODRUFF - I am concerned to hear the comments you made earlier which were effectively an attack on the TLRI because you did not approve of the things they recommended in their report.

Ms ARCHER - No, I did not say because I did not approve. I said it was disappointing they went outside their terms of reference. That is two different answers, Chair.

Dr WOODRUFF - It is unlike you to use those terms about an independent law reform advisory body but the question, minister, is about the TLRI's report on the legal recognition of sex and gender. They noted the very positive impacts that birth certificate changes have had on the lives on transgender Tasmanians and they made a number of recommendations for further reforms that would benefit LGBTI people in Tasmania. Does your Government - do you - intend to progress those reforms?

Ms ARCHER - I have said publicly, whether or not it has been printed in the paper, but I have answered numerous media inquiries on this that with that TLRI report, the department is considering what has been recommended, as we always do, and so I am still considering the recommendations of the TLRI. What I said is that I am and I have raised this with TLRI and certainly their board, in relation to I am disappointed that they went outside their terms of reference and focused on something that was occurring in parliament, and did occur in parliament, outside of what my original reference was. That's what I am disappointed about, that's all.

Dr WOODRUFF - Aren't they able to write about what they want to write about?

Ms ARCHER - They were funded by the Government, and provided with terms of reference to report back on, and I am disappointed that it went outside the terms of reference that they were asked to consider, and provided funding to do.

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Dr WOODRUFF - Minister, we would like to understand whether you have consulted with the Minister for Health and Wellbeing about the TLRI's recommended reforms for the LGBTI community because I questioned the minister yesterday and -

Ms ARCHER - Are we on the gender certificate issue, because there's a number of initiatives that fall under LGBTI?

Dr WOODRUFF - It was about the legal recognition of sex and gender, the TLRI's report on that, and their recommendations on that. Yesterday the Minister for Health and Wellbeing said he believed that the mental health of transgender Tasmanians has been improved because of the legal changes that have been made. He said that yesterday.

Have you consulted with him about the TLRI's recommendations?

Ms ARCHER - I haven't needed to specifically consult yet because I'm not at that phase. As I said, the department is considering the TLRI report and any further recommendations that have come out of that.

The way government works is if there is anything I recommend progressed to that stage that, we have a discussion in Cabinet. Those discussions are obviously Cabinet-in-confidence. I haven't needed to speak to Mr Rockliff about those issues, but I think he's stated certainly from his perspective in his portfolio, he's had feedback in that regard and that feedback would be factual. I have no qualms about what he's said because that's his portfolio and he's obviously had various meetings at various stages on a number of mental health issues.