Tasmanian advocates have encouraged Australia’s re-elected Coalition Government to follow the state’s lead when it comes to cross-party cooperation.
Citing the recent passage of landmark trans laws in Tasmania, advocates have said the state has set a precedent for positive LGBTI law reform under Coalition Government.
Equality Tasmania spokesperson, Rodney Croome, said the enactment of Tasmania’s trans laws proved it was possible advance LGBTI rights irrespective of the government’s stance.
“In Tasmania we have shown it is possible to make substantial progress towards LGBTI equality, regardless of the government’s stance,” he said.
“People of goodwill across all three Tasmanian parties, and from among independent MPs, worked together for positive change, setting a precedent we will seek to apply federally when it comes to banning conversion therapy and ending discrimination by faith-linked services.
“Under our Constitution, Parliament makes laws, not the government, and we will encourage a return to that principle.”
Earlier this year, a number of “historic” landmark legal reforms for trans and gender diverse people were passed in Tasmania.
The new laws remove the mandatory surgery requirement for changing gender on a birth certificate, instead allowing self-identification through a statutory declaration.
Young people older than 16 will be able to change their gender marker without parental consent, but with appropriate counselling.
Tasmanians will now have the option of removing gender markers from birth certificates, meaning parents of newborns can leave gender off their child’s birth certificate.
This means parents of intersex children will be able to opt out of displaying gender on birth certificates, minimising the incentive for unnecessary surgery on infants.
The legislation also places restrictions on hate speech and offensive language on the grounds of gender identity and intersex status, and the forced divorce requirement where a trans person would have to divorce their spouse in order to change their gender marker will be removed.
Croome said he was “deeply concerned” about the federal Coalition’s opposition to Tasmania’s LGBTI equality regime.
“In recent months, Coalition members have expressed strident opposition to Tasmania’s landmark transgender laws,” he said.
“There is also a long history of conservative religious groups opposing Tasmania’s strong LGBTI discrimination and hate speech laws in the name of ‘freedom of speech’ and ‘freedom of religion’.
“Tasmania has one of the best LGBTI human rights frameworks in the world and we will defend it with everything we have.”