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Attorney-General and Justice – Consent to Medical Treatment

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Monday, 6 June 2022

Tags: LGBTI, Health, Human Rights

Dr WOODRUFF - Thank you. The Tasmanian Law Reform Institute has also done another excellent body of research on legal recognition of sex and gender. They made 10 recommendations to support the protection and recognition of intersex individuals and both the TLRI's report and ACT draft legislation make the decisions around who is protected by the legislation, turn on questions of capacity to make informed consent. The TLRI report recommends a Consent to Medical Treatment Act to cover the field with regard to children's medical care. The ACT goes further and makes it clear that capacity to provide informed consent also applies to adults with variations in sex characteristics who may have limited capacity to decide.

Will you commit to implementing in general the recommendations on sex and gender from the TLRI's report and provide the same protections that the ACT does to adult individuals with variations in sex characteristics, as well as for children?

Ms ARCHER - Again, a large body of work, Dr Woodruff, and important. The Government is considering departmental advice in relation to the report's 10 recommendations, noting that a range of administrative matters have already been undertaken by Births, Deaths and Marriages Registry and government departments to address the amendments, so that it's partly responded to and then obviously, I need to respond to other recommendations.

Dr WOODRUFF - You can't commit to looking at whether you agree with children and adults being considered in the same way?

Ms ARCHER - A lot of these issues again come under Health, the Premier's portfolio, and obviously, it's our Government's belief that all Tasmanians have the right to be treated equally and with respect and with high quality health services. In referring to what the Premier is doing and undertaking, he has said that he values the research and analysis undertaken by the TLRI and given the complexity of matters addressed in that report that you refer to, at his request, the department of Health - a lot of it comes under his portfolio - is undertaking detailed analysis of the report's recommendations regarding consent of a child to medical care and a legal framework for surgical intervention to alter the sex characteristics of children.

With that final report, there are interlinked issues surrounding sex and gender and he has asked his department to work collaboratively with my department to examine these matters and to provide comprehensive advice back on action required to respond. This work will consider policy perspectives and necessary legislative reforms from a whole-of-government perspective to respond to the recommendations of the TLR Institute's recent report.

I cannot speak for the department of Health and I am conscious of the agenda for this year from my department's perspective and can say that in relation to this body of work, that although my department might be able to respond this year with regard to a co ordinated approach with Health and not knowing Health's deadline, I would say we would be looking at possibly next year, but I cannot commit to a timeframe of another department or another output.

Dr WOODRUFF - At your own department?

Ms ARCHER - In relation to the Justice part, I can consider any recommendations that are put forward by the department of Justice, but I need to be conscious of the department of Health needing to provide their advice to the Premier yet and then we need to co ordinate that response.