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Premier - Anti-Discrimination Act

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Monday, 6 September 2021

Tags: Anti-Discrimination Act, Australian Christian Lobby, Legislation, State Budget

Ms O'CONNOR - On another topic, Premier, yesterday outside the Grand Chancellor, Equality Tasmania held a snap protest over the Australian Christian Lobby's campaign to have section 17 of our gold standard Anti-Discrimination Act watered down. I am sure you, like every member in this place, is receiving emails that are part of an organised campaign to have the Anti-Discrimination Act 1998 weakened, as your predecessor in government, Mr Hodgman, allowed to happen in the Tasmanian Parliament in 2016. Are you prepared, on behalf of the Government, to reassure LGBTIQ+ Tasmanians, as well as people living with disability, people who treasure their cultural and religious freedoms, that you won't endorse weakening section 17 of Tasmania's Anti-Discrimination Act?

Mr GUTWEIN - I do not believe the Attorney-General has ever said that's what our intention would be. I do not have a brief here on that at the moment. I was not aware yesterday of the gathering. I will get some advice and provide you with a response later in the day.

Ms O'CONNOR - Thank you. Let us talk about a higher order principle here. The LGBTIQ+ community, as well as a range of community sector organisations, regard Tasmania's Anti-Discrimination Act as gold standard and that it strikes the right balance. As Premier, and effectively the Chair of Cabinet, can you provide any reassurance to people from marginalised groups that you would not support weakening Tasmania's Anti Discrimination Act?

Mr GUTWEIN - It has never been my intention to weaken the act but I don't have any advice in front of me at the moment. I understand that the Attorney-General has made statements on this matter in the past and I would like to be able to refer to those before providing the committee with a formal response.

Ms O'CONNOR - To wind up on that question, do you acknowledge the concerns of people who Equality Tasmania, for example, represents but also advocacy organisations for people with disability, who the data shows are most likely to access the safety provisions in the act? Do you understand their concern and can you provide any reassurance that you will be watching this space very closely?

Mr GUTWEIN - I am certainly prepared to provide the assurance that I will watch this space very closely. But I would like to get some advice in terms of what the Attorney-General has said on this matter in the past before responding formally to the committee. Certainly, I can provide you with an assurance that I will watch this space very closely.

Ms O'CONNOR - We are trying to make sure the religious Right does not meet in Cabinet.