You are here

Right-Wing Extremism

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Tuesday, 14 November 2023

Tags: LGBTI, Protest

Dr WOODRUFF (Franklin - Leader of the Greens) - Mr Speaker, I rise tonight to speak about the harm that right wing ideologies and ideologues are having in our community.

I was proud to stand on the steps of parliament with Tasmania's trans community and their allies in March this year. We were visited by the infamous transphobe and fake feminist, Kellie-Jay Keen, also known as Posie Parker. She was fresh from her event outside Victoria's parliament where she was flanked by saluting Nazis. She had come to Tasmania in vain, in an attempt to spread her hateful message here. Those are scenes I will never forget. Outside parliament, Kellie-Jay Keen's words were drowned out by many hundreds of people from all walks of life. They had made a snap decision to rally in support of trans and all LGBTIQA+ people. The constant chanting in support of trans people while Kellie-Jay Keen stood there and spouted a barrage of hate speech and bile, we knew this island was no place for Nazi-sympathising transphobes.

Standing alongside Kellie-Jay Keen in March this year, cheering her on, was Hobart City Councillor Louise Elliot, TERF and well-known for her hate speech herself. I will not reiterate Ms Elliot's comments from the rally. Her poisonous sentiments do not bear repeating. She has done enough harm already. Her transphobic statements that day have found Louise Elliot referred to the Anti-Discrimination Commissioner. Last week the Anti-Discrimination Commissioner found that she had incited hatred and that the matter could not be conciliated, and Ms Bolt referred it to be examined by TASCAT.

Ms Elliot has told The Australian newspaper this morning that she plans to take the matter to the High Court as a test case, claiming the Anti-Discrimination Commissioner's referral has impinged on her constitutional implied right to political communication. She also told The Australian that she plans to fundraise $100 000 for the legal challenge. Coincidentally, that is exactly the same amount that Ms Elliot received from this Government. She was gifted those public funds to provide an education campaign, supposedly, to landlords, although there was no real group that she represented at the time, and she did not even have sufficient office bearers when she set out the organisational structure to receive the funds that she was given. The cynical amongst us would say that she got the money from the Liberals to fund her election to the Hobart City Council.

We know that Louise Elliot was admitted as a member into the Clark Liberal branch at their meeting last week. It seems clear that Tasmania's Liberal Party is welcoming into the fold a raging TERF who harms people without shame, not to mention a landlord of multiple properties who has abused taxpayers' money to campaign against renters' rights and against Airbnb regulations. It seems like this is what John Howard meant when he talked about the so-called 'broad church' in the Liberal Party. We should not forget that John Howard himself was the person who moved to ban marriage equality. It seems as though the Liberals in Tasmania are experiencing the same rise of the right, just like their federal colleague Peter Dutton.

It is another extremely sad sign. It was clear to us this morning. We were watching. We have been listening to the Premier, and to the former attorney general and the current Attorney General, who, multiple times when asked by journalists and members of the community, have promised, hand on heart, that they will be bringing to parliament legislation to ban conversion practices. It should have arrived here. If it was going to be debated this year, as promised, it would have been tabled today. No legislation was tabled today to do that. Now there is no time to pass that bill. We can only assume that the many people in Tasmania's LGBTIAQ+ community will be grievously saddened and damaged by this broken promise.

Instead of that promised law, it seems as though the first thing that Guy Barnett did when he became Attorney-General was to put his shoulder to the wheel of reform instead of following up on the commission of inquiry legislation, instead of working on the conversion practices legislation as he promised he was doing at the time when asked. He did push through despicable mandatory minimum legislation we saw today. That is the priority that you get under the right-heavy Rockliff Liberal Government.

We know that former senator Eric Abetz, who was here this afternoon for yet another inaugural speech, has this place in his sights at the next election. We can only assume and expect that Louise Elliot does too. Given the harmful transphobic comments that she has made, and we know the harm that does to Tasmanians, we hope the Premier will block this move. He can do that. He is the Premier of the Tasmanian Liberal Party. He has that power if he chooses to use it.

So the culture wars and the hate speech heats up. All leaders need to stand with the LGBTIAQ+ community and protect their rights and mental health. We need to be leaders in actions and not just in words. In the interests of Tasmania and its people, we urge Jeremy Rockliff to grow a spine and oppose Ms Elliot's inclusion in the party he leads and her inevitable pitch for preselection in Clark.