HAVE we forgotten about Tasmania’s Day or are we trying to deny the state’s history. On November 24,1642 Abel Tasman and the crews of the Heemskerk and Zeehan, sighted the West Coast of our island that now bears his name.
In 1802 Bass and Flinders confirmed Tasman’s importance when they named both Mount Zeehan and Mount Heemskirk after the two boats Tasman had sailed in. Tasman was perhaps the greatest of the Dutch navigators and explorers, who was the first European to sight Tasmania, New Zealand, Tonga, and the Fiji Islands.
On his first voyage (1642–43) in the service of the Dutch East India Company, Tasman officially named the island ‘Anthoony Vandiemenlandt’. This name was shortened when we became a self-governing colony under the name Van Diemen's Land in 1825. In 1854 the present Constitution of Tasmania was passed and the following year the colony changed its name to Tasmania.
These events were previously taught in our schools and the achievements in exploration and governance celebrated on the anniversary of Tasman’s first sighting. Yet this year the anniversary appears to be forgotten – no media reports, no community activity and no effort by local government to highlight this heritage.
Many of those visiting Salamanca Market would have been unaware of this link between the Dutch and Tasmania despite the nearby Tasman Fountain built in 1988 that includes bronze ships sailing and a full size bronze figure of Abel Tasman. We often complain of being left off the map, perhaps we need to ensure we remember how we came to be on the map.
Gordon Sutton, Queenstown.
I’M unsure as to what Don Davey is attempting to enunciate (The Examiner, November 28) however, I think the following may be pertinent. The Liberal Party of Australia is riven by conflict and vested interest driven primarily by its conservative element, the so-called Dries. They are most prominently represented by Abbott, Andrews, Abetz, Dutton and Cash, among other less prominent conservatives.
The Liberal Party is not, and never has been, a broad church of Australia’s citizenry as John Howard claims. It doesn’t possess a deep social conscience to compare it to that of the Australian Labor Party. It has delivered itself a mortal blow in dismissing a Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull (a wet or moderate Liberal), who had a fair chance of retaining government in 2018. This claim is evidenced by various polls leading up to his dismissal on August 24, 2018.
The subsequent resignation of Julie Bishop, a well regarded Minister for Foreign Affairs, the historic loss of the Federal Seat of Wentworth, the similarly historic loss of the Victorian election to Labor, and most recently, the loss of Julia Banks, Member for Chisholm, are all further elements of evidence as to the parlous state of the Liberal Party of Australia.
Whilst the Dries remain such a destabilising force within the Liberal Party, there can be little likelihood of the party retaining government. There is, however, a very real chance the party may fragment and lose the support of the Nationals. We live in most interesting times and the wounds in this particular war are all self-inflicted. Will there be even more fatalities?
Douglas Ross Robbins, Trevallyn.
Transgender and Intersex Law Reforms
SOME people arguing against the transgender and intersex law reforms that the Legislative Council will consider this week dismiss these changes as unimportant and unnecessary because they are irrelevant to the majority of Tasmanians.
The World Health Organisation estimates 1.7 per cent of the population are intersex, people born with physical or biological sex characteristics that are different to what most of us think of as female or male bodies.
These differences in sexual anatomy, reproductive organs, hormones or chromosomes may be apparent before or at birth, during puberty or later in life, 1.7 per cent of the Tasmanian population is around 8850 people.
Each of these people belongs to a family and is a part of our community.
At least 0.5 - 1 per cent of the overall population are transgender people, people whose gender identity – their sense of being female or male – differs from the sex they were assigned at birth.
That’s another 2600-5200 Tasmanians, each with families, all part of our community.
Surely one marker of a strong, healthy, fair society is that the human rights of minorities are protected.
The human rights of 11,000 to 14,000 Tasmanians – to be treated fairly, to have a range of choices, to make decisions about their own lives and bodies, and to be able to contribute fully to our society – matter to me.
Richard Hale, South Hobart.
I RECENTLY opined on these pages that the members of Tasmania’s Legislative Council would have good common sense and be able to see through the nonsense and negativity being spread regarding legislative changes to the way births are recorded.
Clearly I was wrong.
The MLCs have gone against the democratically agreed decision by the House of Assembly to alter the way births are registered, and have chosen delaying tactics.
This will cause further distress and unnecessary disruptions to the lives of transgender and intersex Australians here in Tasmania.
The lower house represents the will of the people and in this case the upper house seemingly represents other interest groups.
And so it goes.