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Women - Transgender Discrimination

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Thursday, 9 September 2021

Tags: Women, State Budget, Gender Identity

Ms O'CONNOR - I want to build on that line of questioning a little bit and acknowledge, minister, your sincerity in responding to transgender Tasmanians.

I am wondering if you have any thoughts or observations to make about federal Liberal colleague Senator Claire Chandler, who has and this touches on women and sport and rec in a way - made much politics and potentially caused a huge amount of harm over her targeting of transgender women. What can Government do and you, as minister, to counter some of the damage that can be caused by that attitude towards transgender women, particularly in sport?

Ms HOWLETT - Senator Claire Chandler's comments are a matter for her. I am there to support all Tasmanians and I will continue to do so. My door is always open to anyone and I will continue to support all Tasmanians, as I have done.

Ms O'CONNOR - Have you had any conversations with Senator Chandler to try to help to educate her? I say this in all sincerity. I know you get it, as minister, and I appreciate your approach to transgender issues. But we have a senior Liberal figure who is writing opinion pieces, undertaking social media advertising in a way that is harmful to women. Have you had any conversation with Senator Chandler about it to try to bring her into the 21st century and stop her from doing these harms?

Ms HOWLETT - I appreciate your comments, Ms O'Connor. I love my job, I am very focused on my job, and my portfolios, and the people of Tasmania, and my door is always open for any issue that anyone has. If I can help them, I will do everything in my power to help them.

CHAIR - Members, I would just reiterate that this is a budget Estimates committee.

Ms O'CONNOR - With respect, Chair, it is about women's policy so that is where you can draw a link to issues that affect women.

Ms HOWLETT - That's a great point - it is about women's policy and I am really proud of what we have achieved so far as a Government. We have $3.95 million in this Budget and we are doing so many good things for women to get them into the non-traditional workforce. We have industries on board with us as well. We are doing some really good things. I know there is a lot more to be done but we'll work together and we will achieve the best outcomes for women in this state.

Ms O'CONNOR - What sort of tangible support can your ministry and your agency provide to transgender women who are experiencing vilification or distress as a result of, not just Senator Chandler's views, but transphobic views?

Ms HOWLETT - Everyone should feel safe, whether it be online or in their workplace. It's not okay to victimise people and we will look at all aspects of that when we're developing the Women's Strategy that we will release in December this year.

Ms O'CONNOR - And it will touch on the issues of transgender women as well?

Ms HOWLETT - Ah, well -.

Ms O'CONNOR - As minister, you can make sure it does. I am just letting you know.

Ms HOWLETT - What I've committed to is working with all genders and I am committed that my door is always open. As far as the Women's portfolio, it's about collaborating, working together, hearing everyone's thoughts, then I will develop the strategy.

Ms O'CONNOR - A really inclusive one.