Concerns on failure of Tasmania's Anti-Discrimination Act change

Western Tiers independent MLC Greg Hall
Western Tiers independent MLC Greg Hall

Western Tiers independent MLC Greg Hall has expressed disappointment that he was prevented from voting on the government’s failed changes to the state’s Anti-Discrimination Act last week.

Mr Hall had to preside over the chamber as acting Legislative Council president which meant that he did not get to vote in support of the changes.

The legislation was voted down 7 to 4 on Thursday.

The Anti-Discrimination Act forbids people from making offensive, humiliating, intimidating or insulting statements on race, sexuality and gender grounds.

Statements and acts made “in good faith” for academic, artistic, and scientific purposes are exempt under the law and the government wanted to extend this to cover comments made for religious purposes.

“I wanted to vote on the legislation last week and support amendments but unfortunately upper house rules in Tasmania prevent the presiding officer from expressing a point of view and casting a vote,” Mr Hall said.

“In other upper houses, seemingly the presiding officer does get to vote on legislation.

“Procedures could be changed so that the Legislative Council president can still exercise his or her rights as a representative of the people.”

Incumbent Legislative Council president Jim Wilkinson is on leave at the moment, recovering from surgery.