A Liberal Party candidate for the Legislative Council seat of Pembroke has refused to apologise after a transgender rights group called for action over what it describes as "damaging and divisive" campaign material - a claim denied by the state government.
Newspaper advertisements outlining the priorities and commitments of the candidate, Kristy Johnson, list one as "protecting your children", beneath which is two dot points reading "mandatory sentencing for pedophiles" and "against removal of gender on birth certificates".
Changes relating to birth certificates allow parents to choose whether the sex of a child - which would still be recorded by the Registar - is recorded on the document. Premier Will Hodgman has threatened to repeal the legislation.
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In a statement issued Saturday, Transforming Tasmania said the advertisement linked child abuse to transgender law reform and called on Premier Will Hodgman to stop advertisements that "demonise" transgender rights.
Transforming Tasmania spokesperson Roen Meijers said: "The real threat to young people is from election material that stirs up prejudice against them, like the ads from Kristy Johnson."
"The Liberal Party should apologise for the damage that has been caused to those transgender and gender diverse young people whose lives are already difficult enough."
Transforming Tasmania's Martine Delaney also called on Mr Hodgman to honour a 2006 commitment he gave her "not to politicise and pander to anti-transgender prejudice" by intervening to withdraw the material "immediately".
How dare the Tas Libs lump together paedophilia and transgender law reform as threats children need protection from. Trans folk are some of the most vulnerable members of our community. Anyone who whips up prejudice for tawdry political gain should hang their head in shame. pic.twitter.com/z4oeCXVoL3— Rodney Croome (@RodneyCroome) April 19, 2019
In response, Ms Johnson said the advertisement stated she was against the removal of gender on birth certificates and "won't apologise for that".
"It's a view shared by an overwhelming majority of Tasmanians who Labor and the Greens failed to consult when rushing these laws through Parliament," Ms Johnson said.
A government spokesperson said the two "completely separate" dot points were not related, "nor is there any implication they are related".
"We will concentrate on delivering what the people of Tasmania want and protecting our way of life, rather than political point scoring dressed up as outrage," they added.
"We will not be bullied into silence for raising the community's very real concerns about these changes."
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