Response from the Tasmanian Greens
Overriding Tasmanian discrimination legislation
1. The Religious Discrimination Bill sought to override and weaken sections of the Tasmanian Anti-Discrimination Act.
Will you commit to vote against any legislative provision that weakens existing protections under Tasmania’s gold-standard Anti-Discrimination Act?
In the Australian Greens dissenting report to the Religious Discrimination Bill, we echoed the sentiments of the submission made by the Tasmanian Government to the PJCHR, “in relation to the provisions of the principal which appear to effectively invalidate the operation of the Tasmanian Anti-Discrimination Act, and specifically section 17(1) of that Act, to the extent that the conduct complained of amounts to a statement of belief … I would like to reiterate that the Tasmanian Government’s view is that the Religious Discrimination legislative package as drafted would diminish the ability of the Tasmanian Anti-Discrimination Tribunal to deal with certain complaints and that, as a Government, we continue to strongly advocate for no weakening of our Anti-Discrimination laws.”
That Greens report specifically recommend that “... any new Religious Discrimination bill adopt a similar approach to other anti-discrimination legislation, operating as a shield not a sword”
Discrimination in faith-based schools
2. Tasmanian law currently protects LGBTIQ+ students, staff and clients from discrimination in faith-based schools and services.
Will you vote for an amendment to the federal Sex Discrimination Act to provide similar protections nationally?
The Greens will make schools safer for LGBTIQA+ students and teachers by:
removing provisions that enable discrimination in schools on religious grounds, including s38 of the Sex Discrimination Act;
providing over $50m in funding to enable every current and new teacher to receive training on LGBTIQA+ inclusion, and refreshers every five years;
creating and implementing guidelines and an inclusive curriculum for schools, including ensuring that the health and physical education curriculum, including sexual education, is LGBTIQA+ inclusive, and;
scrapping the School Chaplains Program and investing the $61m a year in secular, inclusive support for students through counsellors and anti-bullying initiatives such as the Safe Schools Program.
Overriding Tasmanian gender legislation
3. The Tasmanian Law Reform Institute has endorsed Tasmania’s gold-standard sex and gender recognition laws, however some federal members have called for them to be overridden and weakened.
Will you commit to vote against any such override or weakening?
At the Australian Greens, we believe that “people have the right to self-identify their gender, which is integral to people's lived experiences as citizens and members of the community. We recognise transgender and non-binary gender identities exist and are valid.
In line with those principles, the Greens will always fight to oppose any weakening of Gender Recognition laws. The Australian Government Guidelines on the Recognition of Sex and Gender call for accurate identification and reflection of gender of trans and gender-diverse people in their documents and data collections. We will always work to affirm the gender of trans and gender-diverse people, along with making it easier for them to receive healthcare and update their documents to reflect their identities.
Trans women and sport
4. Tasmanian Senator Claire Chandler has introduced a Bill that would allow increased exclusion of transgender women and girls from women's sport, despite existing provisions working well for many years and no sporting code asking for such legislation. The Senator’s Bill sets a much lower standard than the strong discrimination protections for trans and gender diverse people that current exist in Tasmania.
Q: Will you vote against this or any other Bill that seeks to increase discrimination trans and gender diverse people?
The Greens have always been vocal opponents of the Liberal party’s scapegoating of trans women and girls to pander to transphobes for votes.
The ability to participate in sport can have tremendous benefits. Sport and physical activity more broadly have been linked to reduce risk of illness, physical and mental health benefits, and stronger social connections.
Sadly, many members of LGBTIQA+ communities still face major barriers to participating in sport:
80% of all sports participants in Australia have experienced or witnessed discrimination on the basis of sexuality;
In a survey of LGBTIQA+ people, more than half of all transgender people, a quarter of males and 10% of females avoided playing sports they would like to play because of their sexuality or gender identity;
Nearly half of all LGBTIQA+ sports participants aren’t out as sexuality or gender diverse to their sporting peers.
Those barriers are even higher for trans, gender diverse and non-binary people.
The research shows that most women who play community sports are not concerned about the inclusion of trans women and girls.
On the issue of the belief that trans women have an unfair advantage or that it’s unsafe for them to play with and against cisgender women, the Sex Discrimination Act already includes a specific provision to address this, and key sporting bodies have already done extensive work on this issue.
As set out in the legislation, s42 provides a very broad exemption, enabling people to be excluded from sports where the “strength, stamina or physique of competitors is relevant”. In fact, building on the legislative framework, the Australian Human Rights Commission, working together with Sport Australia and the major sporting codes, released in 2019 theGuidelines for the inclusion of transgender and gender diverse people in sport. Those Guidelines “ provide practical assistance on how to create and promote an inclusive environment in Australian sport for transgender and gender diverse people. The Guidelines are relevant to all sporting organisations, from national sporting bodies, to state and local associations.”
We will always fight to include trans and gender diverse people, in every walk of society, including in sport. The Australian Greens support the work undertaken by Proud 2 Play and other national and community organisations around Australia to improve inclusion in sport. The Greens will commit $10m in funding for public education about the importance of inclusion for trans, gender diverse and non binary people, including in sport. We will always fight changes to s42 of the Sex Discrimination Act that seek to make it harder for trans, gender diverse and non binary people to participate in sport.
We will always vote against any Bill that seeks to increase discrimination against trans and gender diverse people.
Authorised by Rodney Croome on behalf of Just.Equal Australia, 26 Davey Street, Hobart