Ahead of the state election, LBGTQIA+ organisation Equality Tasmania is calling for further law reform and is asking candidates and the major parties where they stand on some of the main issues.
ET spokesperson Rodney Croome said the community was aware it had some of the best laws/rights in Australia, but were concerned they could be wound back and wanted further reforms to ensure equality.
"We do regular consults with LGBTQIA+ Tasmanians and based off this we have determined the community's top priorities," he said.
The Sunday Examiner asked about the main issues raised by ET of the three major parties in the state - The Labor Party, The Liberal Party and The Greens.
1. Will the party look to prohibit LGBTQIA+ conversion practices in Tas?
Labor: We would act on legislation that prohibits and criminalises these dangerous practices.
Liberals: We remain open to considering the need for reform.
Greens: Yes, the ban on conversion practices is Greens' policy. It is homophobic, religious whackery dressed up as "healing".
2. Will the party look to prohibit non-medical surgeries on infants and children with variations of sex characteristics?
Labor: Labor does not support the use of non-medical surgeries intended to decide the gender of an intersex infant where the surgery is not required on medical grounds.
Liberals: Any proposed change to clinical guidelines or consent laws in Tasmania will need to be subject to significant consultation with both clinicians and the community, and will continue to carefully consider any recommendations regarding any changes to our current legal framework.
Greens: Yes. The evidence is overwhelming that unnecessary surgery on infants and children with variations in their sex characteristics can cause lifelong harm.
3. Does the party support the retention of the Anti-Discrimination Act in its current form?
Labor: Yes, it was a Labor reform and Labor is committed to the act and will always defend it. It should only be altered to strengthen protections, not weaken them.
Liberals: Yes, discrimination, offensive and insulting conduct and incitement of hatred on the basis of race and other attributes are prohibited under the act.
Greens: We support retaining the strong legislative protections in the act, absolutely.
4. Does the party promise to not water down the 2019 Tasmanian gender law reforms?
Labor: Yes, Labor led these reforms with the cross benches and would not support repeal or weakening of them.
Liberals: We will not be repealing them.
Greens: We are proud to be part of making Tasmania a kinder, happier place for transgender and intersex people. We would not undo that good work, ever.
5. Will the party implement the recommendations of the review into the expungement of historical LGBTQIA+ criminal records, including compensation for those convicted?
Labor: We support legislation to expunge historic criminal records and compensation for those convicted.
Liberals: We will consider compensation as part of any refinement.
Greens: Yes. We should be compensating Tasmanians who were convicted under these terrible laws.
6. Will the party amend the Coroner’s Act to ensure there is a clear process for determining senior-next-of-kin and that same sex partners are not treated differently?
Labor: Labor is committed to reviewing the Coroner's Act.
Liberals: We are committed to changing the Coroner's Act to ensure there is a clear process for determining next of kin and everyone under the law is treated equally.
Greens: We need real changes to ensure same-sex partners are equal under the law. We strongly support amending the Coroner's Act.
7. Will the party commit funding to address the higher than average levels of mental health issues in the LGBTQIA+ community?
Labor: We would consider specific funding to address the higher than average levels of mental health issues in the LGBTQIA+ community.
Liberals: As a priority population group, LGBTQIA+ Tasmanians will be consulted over the coming months regarding actions that can help services better respond to their specific needs.
Greens: We want to see more resources going in to the entire mental health system. We are particularly concerned to see young LGBTQIA+ Tasmanians get the support they need early, at home, in schools and in the community.
8. Will the party ensure there is professional development for all healthcare workers so they are able to meet the needs of LGBTQIA+ people?
Labor: Our health action plan will, by definition, ensure health care workers have professional development for health care workers to meet the needs of the LGBTQIA+ community.
Liberals: We have committed to provide professional development for staff, as well as work underway to develop a network for our staff with diverse sexualities and gender identities.
Greens: Yes. This professional development should be implemented across the public and community sectors.
9. Will you implement legislation for the health department/system to have a gender affirming policy?
Liberals: We have a LGBTQIA+ reference group which works to improve health outcomes and access to services for the community.
Greens: In principle, but this may be able to be achieved through leadership and the development of reformed workplace practices, and gender affirming policy as a priority.
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