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Transgender Rights - Gathering on Parliament House Lawns

Cassy O'Connor MP

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Tuesday, 21 March 2023


Ms O'CONNOR (Clark - Leader of the Greens) - Mr Speaker, over the journey of this building's central place in our democracy, we have seen some amazing scenes on the steps and lawns of parliament, but nothing like we saw today. Just as last Saturday's scenes of actual Nazis saluting on the steps of Victoria's parliament in support of UK-based anti-transgender activist Kellie-Jay Keen-Minshull, also known as Posey Parker, and her group of trans-exclusive fake feminists, were unprecedented in our nation's history, so, too, was the sight of hundreds of vocal, passionate Tasmanians seeing off this awful woman outside. And, boy, did we see her off.

We were there to defend the rights of transgender people, to affirm that trans rights are human rights. We were there to show love and support to a group of marginalised people who are vilified and whose very existence is being brought into question by Posie Parker and her supporters. Denying someone's humanity and their right to be who they are is not just a difference of opinion. It is bigotry. Telling a group of people in our society that they have no right to exist is hate speech. That is how fascism is seeded.

True feminists - women, men and non-binary people, were there in strength today. Nala Mansell from the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre was there representing a people who know well discrimination and vilification. Jeff Schneider from the Hobart Hebrew Congregation was there, too, for reasons that should be obvious to all. So, too, gutsy women who defend our forests, women who fight for animal rights, older feminists who have been in the fray for many decades. Dr Woodruff and I, the Opposition Leader Ms White, Ms O'Byrne, Ms Haddad, Ms Lovell, the President of the Legislative Council, Craig Farrell, Murchison MLC Ruth Forrest, proud and brave trans woman and Clarence councillor Jade Darko, and hundreds of other allies - by some accounts 600 in all. Unfortunately, not the Premier.

Also there was my beautiful transgender son, Jasper Lees, and his trans friend, Ollie. The same Jasper who told my late mum when he was three, 'Nanna, there's been a mistake. I'm not a girl'. He knew, we knew, my mum knew and she was so proud of him to her last breath. Why is it so hard for some to understand transgender and gender-diverse people exist, they belong and they have inalienable human rights. What makes some people's hearts so hard?

Posie Parker's group were numbered in the couple of dozens and included Hobart councillor Louise Elliot, who is making a real name for herself as someone seriously lacking in empathy and understanding.

Today's stunning turnout tells us that love and inclusion trump hate and exclusion in nipaluna/Hobart and lutruwita/Tasmania. We had some cracking chants going too. There was 'Go home, Posie, go home', 'Trans rights are human rights', 'No terfs on our turf' and my personal favourite, 'Posie Parker, you can't hide, you've got Nazis on your side'.

In my life I have encountered some terrible people, as have we all, but I can honestly say I have never come across a person of such manifest malignancy as Kellie-Jay Keen, aka Posie Parker. Kellie-Jay Keen just oozes hate and viciousness and raging narcissism. The stuff that came out of her mouth today was just vile. I am sure actual feminists were there for Let Women Speak, confused as they are about what it is to be a woman. But they are making a massive mistake to think that this woman represents feminism or anything other than herself. When actual Nazis show up to support your cause, as they did in Melbourne, surely you want to question your life choices.

There was an incident once Kellie-Jay Keen and her small group of supporters illegally occupied parliament steps to get away from the counter-protest on the lawns. She went inside the building so I followed because I was worried about the people who work in this place and because I do not want fascists in the building. I discovered that she was shouting at the attendants at reception, as if the counter-protest was their fault or something they could control.

One of her supporters around her told her I was the Leader of the Greens and I said, 'Yes, and you should not be here or on the steps'. I also asked if she would like to meet my transgender son Jasper and pointed to him as he was then beside me. Quick as a flash, from her vicious snarling lips, she spat: 'Ah, so you are a groomer, you're a groomer,' she said to me, and she said to Jasper: 'And you are a girl'.

This woman is malignant, a repugnant human being. Ms Keen or Posie Parker, or whatever she calls herself, then repeatedly continued to call me a groomer in front of the crowd. It is hate speech, it is defamatory, of course, and it is captured on a video which has now gone global.

This is the person, I remind the House, that Hobart City councillor Louise Elliot warmly supports. Presumably, Posie 'Hate Preacher' Parker called me that because I supported my beautiful, intelligent, empathetic child to be who he is and he is most definitely happier for it. Young people like Jasper and his friend Ollie are, according to data on Tasmania Health's website, 15 times more likely to attempt suicide than the general population precisely because of people like Kellie-Jay Keen and her supporters, and the Nazis who support them. What a disgusting human being this fake feminist is. Seriously, anyone who spends as much time as she does thinking about other people's and children's genitals is sick and frankly dangerous.

Anyway, today love won, inclusion won. Kellie-Jay Keen, aka Posie 'Hate Preacher' Parker, the fake feminist, scuttled away from this place with her all-male security detail under police escort. I take this opportunity to warmly and sincerely thank Tasmania Police for their calm and professional presence today. They did our community proud.

In a final sweet serendipity, Posie 'Hate Preacher' Parker got a parking ticket which I will bet she does not pay. She boasted of her fancy house back in England and the fact she does not have a mortgage to pay. Not only does she hate transgender people she has contempt for poor people. Well, that is the way Nazis roll I guess, and that is what she is. We hope she never disgraces our island's shores again but if she does we will be ready for her because trans rights are human rights and they are not negotiable.