TASMANIAN GENDER LAW REPEAL BID LIKELY AFTER POWER SHIFT

A bid to amend or repeal Tasmania’s controversial transgender laws is “highly likely” following a shift in the balance of power in the state’s lower house.  The nation-first changes passed in April by Labor and the Greens, with support from Speaker Sue Hickey, allow sex-free birth certificates, gender change by affirmation, and extend hate speech protections to cover “gender expression”.  However, the make-up of the House of Assembly has changed significantly, with former Labor MP Madeleine Ogilvie elected on a recount to replace a retiring Labor MP, declaring she would sit as an independent.

This means the socially conservative Catholic and former ALP Right faction MP, returning to the seat of Clark she lost at the 2018 state election, will have a balance-of-power role, along with Ms Hickey.  Ms Ogilvie is understood to have concerns about aspects of the transgender laws, as well as a history of disagreement with LGTBI activists over gay marriage.  Ms Ogilvie has already been approached by opponents of the transgender laws to enter into talks with the Liberal government on amending and ultimately repealing the legislation.  Liberal Attorney-General Elise Archer indicated the government would welcome the chance to revisit the laws, which were passed by opposition parties and Ms Hickey against the wishes of the government.

“Because of the refusal by Labor and the Greens to consider the legal consequences of their amendments, it is highly likely the parliament will need to fix up problems with the legislation and repeal Labor-Green amendments at a later date,” Ms Archer said.  “Labor and the Greens refused to properly consult with all Tasmanians on what they were proposing.”  Ms Ogilvie, a descendant of two former Labor MPs, including former premier Albert Ogilvie, declined to comment on the issue.  However, she said she would consider all legislation on its merits and stressed the need for adequate consultation.

“I’ll look at every bill as it comes up,” she said, backing the Liberal government to run “full term”. “I’ll analyse it and I’ll make sure it’s properly consulted.  That’s what people want.”  A critic of the transgender laws, feminist group Women Speak Tasmania (WST), said it had already approached Ms Ogilvie on the issue and was confident she would support a legislative rethink.  WST spokeswoman Isla MacGregor said while the make-up of the independent-dominated upper house had not changed, this may occur at elections in May next year.  “We would not have much hope of repeal of the gender laws until next year but it is possible that we will be discussing some amendments before then, specifically the different definitions of sex and gender,” Ms MacGregor said.

Source: Compiled by APN from media reports

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