CONCERN CONVERSION BILL WILL ALLOW PRACTICES TO CONTINUE

“This is the kind of bill you would draft if you wanted to appear to ban conversion practices without actually banning them.”

– Rodney Croome

Equality Tasmania says a bill against conversion practices, released today by the Tasmanian Government, will allow such practices to continue.

The Government’s bill took eighteen months to draft following the release of a Tasmanian Law Reform Institute report recommending reform in May last year.

Equality Tasmania spokesperson, Rodney Croome, said,

“We are concerned that the bill doesn’t go far enough and doesn’t meet the standards recommended by the Tasmanian Law Reform Institute.”

“The bill will allow conversion practices to continue, both in health and religious settings, under the guise of ill-defined terms like ‘support’, ‘assistance’, ‘care’ and ‘guidance’.”

“It will also allow conversion practices if there is ‘consent’, despite the fact that it is impossible to consent to a ‘treatment’ that doesn’t work for a ‘condition’ that doesn’t exist”.

“Another problem is that in the other states most conversion practices are caught under civil law, not criminal, but in this bill there are no civil penalties so it is less likely conversion practitioners will be held to account.”

“These are the holes conversion practitioners will crawl through so they can continue to inflict their cruel and discredited ‘therapies’.”

“We are also disappointed this won’t be a stand-alone act with a preamble against conversion practices like in the other states where legislation has sent a stronger message.”

“Another big concern is that there’s no mention of the kind of education programs undertaken in other states that are necessary to ensure the legislation actually works on the ground.”

“This is the kind of bill that you would draft if you wanted to appear to ban conversion practices without actually banning them.”

The Government has launched a consultation on the bill that will close on February 16th.

Mr Croome said he will encourage Tasmanian survivors to write to the Government to highlight how the new law would may not have provided them with the protection they required when they were vulnerable to conversion practices.

For a copy of this statement on the web, click here

For more information contact Rodney Croome on 0409 010 668.

ROCKLIFF’S CONVERSION BAN COMMITMENT WELCOMED

Equality Tasmania has welcomed a commitment from Premier Jeremy Rockliff to unveil a ban on conversion practices in the next few days.

Mr Rockliff made the commitment while speaking to journalists this morning.

Equality Tasmania spokesperson, Rodney Croome, said,

“A ban on conversion practices is urgent because we know these cruel and damaging practices are still occurring in Tasmania.”

“We are pleased the Government’s legislation is imminent and that there will be an opportunity for conversion survivors to comment on it over the Summer break.”

The Government has repeatedly promised to unveil a ban on conversion practices by year’s end.

Mr Croome also welcomed a motion from Labor Justice spokesperson, Ella Haddad, calling on the Government to release its draft legislation immediately.

The motion was tabled in Parliament today and emphasises the on-going harm inflicted by conversion practices in Tasmania.

For a copy of this statement on the web, click here

For more information contact Rodney Croome on 0409 010 668.

ADVOCATES THANK TAS SENATORS WHO VOTED DOWN ANTI-TRANS BILL

Equality Tasmania has thanked those Tasmanian senators who today voted down a bill banning affirming health care for young trans people, and has said it will seek to meet those in favour of giving the bill further consideration.

Tasmanian Labor and Green senators, plus Lambie Network senators Jacqui Lambie and Tammy Tyrrell, voted against the bill being sent to an inquiry given the damage to trans and gender diverse people debate on the bill will cause. Tasmanian Liberal senators, Wendy Askew, Jonathon Duniam and Claire Chandler voted to keep the bill alive.

The motion to not send the bill to an inquiry was moved by Tasmanian Greens’ senator, Nick McKim.

Equality Tasmania spokesperson, Rose Boccalatte, said,

“Life’s already tough enough for young trans and gender diverse people without this extreme bill banning life-saving health care.”

“The bill would have put young lives at risk, as well as taken away the right of parents to decide what is best for their children.”

“Further debate on this bill would have stirred up antagonism and discrimination towards trans and gender people.”

“I thank all those Tasmanian senators who consigned this bill to oblivion.”

“Equality Tasmania will seek meetings with those senators who voted for the bill to be further debated so we can explain what deep damage it would have caused.”

The motion and vote are included below.

For a copy of this statement on the web, click here

For more information contact Rose Boccalatte on 0433 144 836.

***

Motion moved by Senator Antic (Liberal):

  • At the end of the motion add: “and, in respect of the Childhood Gender Transition Prohibition Bill 2023, the bill be referred immediately to the Community Affairs Legislation Committee for inquiry and report by 31 May 2024”

Motion moved by Senator McKim (Australian Greens):

  • At the end of the motion, add: “and the Childhood Gender Transition Prohibition Bill 2023 not be referred to a committee”

Senate divided to vote on Greens Motion – AYES: 32, Nos 23
AYES 32: Allman Payne, Bilyk, Chisholm, Ciccone, Cox, Faruqui Green, Grogan, Hanson-Young, Lambie, Lines, McAllister, McKim, O’Neill, Payman, Pocock B, Pocok D, Polley, Pratt, Rice, Sheldon, Shoebridge, Smith M, Steele-John, Sterle, Stewart, Tyrell, Urquhart, Walsh, Waters, Watt, Whish-Wilson

NOS 23: Antic, Askew, Babet, Brockman, Cadell, Canavan Cash, Chandler, Duniam, Fawcett, Hanson, Henderson, Hughes, McGrath, McKenzie, McLachlan, Nampujinpa Price, O’Sullivan, Paterson, Rennick, Roberts, Ruston, Scarr

DISAPPOINTMENT OVER TAS GOV’T FAILURE TO TABLE CONVERSION BAN

Equality Tasmania is deeply disappointed the State Government has failed to fulfill its promise to table a ban on conversion practices before the end of the parliamentary year. 

Speaking to Parliament’s Gender and Equality Committee on October 12th, Attorney-General, Guy Barnett, committed to tabling legislation by the end of the year. However, he confirmed yesterday that will not happen.

Equality Tasmania spokesperson, Rodney Croome, said, 

“We know there are young LGBTIQA+ Tasmanians who are suffering conversion practices right now.” 

“Tasmanian research shows LGBTIQA+ people who are subject to conversion practices are three to four times more likely to have PTSD and attempt suicide than other LGBTIQA+ people.”

“The longer the Government delays a ban on these cruel practices the more harm will be inflicted.” 

“We will be seeking meetings with the Premier and Attorney-General so conversion survivors can press the case for legislation to be made public before the end of the year.” 

Premier Jeremy Rockliff gave a commitment to banning conversion practices following the release of a Tasmanian Law Reform Institute report recommending such a ban. 

Victoria, Queensland and the ACT have banned conversion practices while the NSW, South Australian, West Australian and Northern Territory governments have committed to doing the same.

 Mr Croome said, 

“If Tasmania continues to drag its feet on this reform we risk becoming a haven for conversion practitioners who have been thrown out of the other states.” 

For a copy of this statement on the web, click here

For more information contact Rodney Croome on 0409 010 668.

CALL ON TAS GOV TO UNVEIL CONVERSION BAN AS PARL SET TO RISE

Equality Tasmania has called on the State Government to introduce its proposed conversion practices ban before State Parliament rises at the end of this week. 

The Government promised to unveil its legislation before the end of the year. 

Spokesperson, Rodney Croome, said, “Conversion practices cause deep harm and are being perpetrated right now in Tasmania. We need legislation as soon as possible to bring such practices to an end.” 

“Three mainland states and territories already have conversion bans, and the others are committed to reform, so Tasmania is at risk of becoming a haven for conversion practices if we don’t act quickly.” 

“We call on the Government to introduce its legislation this week so there is adequate time for community consultation before Parliament returns next year.” 

The Tasmanian Law Reform Institute recommended a ban on conversion practices in May 2022. 

Research commissioned by the Tasmanian Government and conducted by the University of Tasmania found that 1 in 20 LGBTIQA+ Tasmanians have been through formal conversion practices. 

National research has shown conversion survivors are three to four times more likely to have PTSD and attempt suicide than other LGBTIQA+ people. 

For a copy of this statement on the web, click here

For more information contact Rodney Croome on 0409 010 668.

TAS GOV’T REFUSES FINANCIAL REDRESS FOR VICTIMS OF FMR ANTI-GAY & ANTI-TRANS LAWS

CALL ON LABOR, GREENS AND INDEPENDENTS TO ENSURE JUSTICE IS DONE 

Equality Tasmania has called on Labor, the Greens and independents to support financial redress for victims of the state’s former laws against homosexuality and cross-dressing after the State Government refused.

Attorney-General, Guy Barnett, has introduced updates to legislation that allows victims of the former laws to have their criminal records erased.

These updates, recommended, by an independent review, include an expansion of the legislation to cover associated crimes such as resisting arrest.

But the Government has stopped short of providing financial redress as recommended by the review.

Equality Tasmania spokesperson, Rodney Croome, welcomed the Government’s proposal to include related offences, but said financial redress must be included.

“When gay and transgender people were charged or convicted under our former laws they faced gaol, fines, court-ordered aversion practices, involuntary outing, loss of jobs, loss of family, loss of relationships and exile from the state.”

“For decades after their conviction, having a criminal record made it much harder for those targeted under our old laws to find employment and housing.”

“The Government was directly responsible for these profound injustices and now it must repair the damage, not only by erasing old records but by providing financial redress.”

“We call on Labor, the Greens and independents to amend the Government’s bill so there is justice for Tasmanians who were victims of our old laws.” 

Mr Croome dismissed the Government’s argument that those who successfully erase their record can apply for an ex gratia payment from the Treasurer and that no other state provides compensation.

“Those who have already gone through the trauma of applying to erase their criminal record should not have to go through another application process for a discretionary Government ‘gift’ they may or may not receive.”

“The fact Tasmania was the last state to repeal its former laws, and that those laws were the most draconian in the western world, leaves a legacy that is deeper and more recent than elsewhere and means Tasmania has a moral responsibility to blaze the path forward.”

In 1997 Tasmania became the last state to decriminalise sex between men. Until then, all sex between men, including private, consenting sex between men in relationships, carried a maximum penalty of 21 years in prison. Tasmania was the only state that penalised males wearing female clothing. That law was used to intimidate and persecute transgender women until its repeal in 2000. 

Groups that support financial redress include Tasmania’s Community Legal Services, the Tasmanian Council of Social Services and the Tasmanian Women’s Legal Service.

For a copy of this statement on the web, click here

For more information contact Rodney Croome on 0409 010 668.

FEDERAL ANTI-TRANS BILL CONDEMNED

“Tasmanians do not want to co-parent with politicians like Senator Antic.” – Rodney Croome

Equality Tasmania says a bill flagged by South Australian Senator, Alex Antic, banning gender affirming health care for young people will harm young trans people and infringe on parental rights.

Spokesperson, Rodney Croome, said,

“Study after study shows that gender affirming health care saves lives so a bill banning it will put lives at risk.”

“The bill also takes away the rights of parents to decide what is in the best interest of their child.”

“Tasmanians do not want to co-parent with politicians like Senator Antic.”

Senator Antic says the bill will prevent young people regretting gender transition and “de-transitioning”.

But Mr Croome said de-transition is often because of social hostility and discrimination fostered by people like Senator Antic, and that the number of people who de-transition is vanishingly small.

“Overwhelmingly, trans and gender people who have gender affirming care are happier, more fulfilled and go on to lead better lives.”

For a news report on Senator Antic’s Bill: https://www.theaustralian.com.au/nation/politics/liberal-senator-alex-antics-bill-to-ban-child-gender-therapy/news-story/c47995465d8d77ce446c210843aa8122

For this statement on the web, click here

For more information contact Rodney Croome on 0409 010 668.

LEGAL AND COMMUNITY GROUPS SUPPORT REDRESS FOR HISTORICAL GAY AND TRANS CONVICTIONS

Tasmanian community and legal groups have united in support of financial redress for those convicted under Tasmania’s former laws against homosexuality and cross-dressing.

The Tasmanian Council of Social Services, Tasmania’s Community Legal Services, the Tasmanian Women’s Legal Service and Equality Tasmania have all called for the reform “to rectify past injustice”

In an article in today’s Hobart Mercury the groups say,

“Those who fell foul of our old laws endured humiliation, shame, stigma, discrimination, pain and trauma. Some took their own lives, while others lived lives deeply scarred by what they had endured.”

“If the state is serious about making up for the cruelty it directly, knowingly and deliberately inflicted, it must provide financial redress.”

In 2020 an independent review of Tasmania’s 2017 laws allowing historic convictions for homosexuality and cross-dressing to be erased, made a number of recommendations including redress.

The State Government has accepted all the independent review’s recommendations except redress.

The Government says the Treasurer has the choice to make ex-gratia payments on application and that no other state offers redress.

But the groups in support of reform say redress should be automatic when a historic criminal record is successfully erased, not made after a further application process with an uncertain outcome. They believe Tasmania should lead the nation given it was the last state to decriminalise homosexuality and the only state to criminalise cross-dressing.

Tasmania decriminalised homosexuality in 1997. The law against cross-dressing, which was enforced against transgender women, was repealed in 2000. 

For a copy of this statement on the web, click here

For further information contact Rodney Croome on 0409 010 668

Assurance sought on conversion ban

Equality Tasmania wants an assurance from Premier Jeremy Rockliff and acting Attorney-General, Michael Ferguson, that a ban on conversion practices will still be introduced by the end of the year.

The group’s call comes in the wake of the resignation from parliament of former Attorney-General, Elise Archer, who was working on conversion legislation.

Equality Tasmania spokesperson, Rodney Croome, said, “We will write to the Premier and the acting Attorney-General asking for their assurance that the Government’s commitment to a conversion ban by the end of 2023 remains in place.”

“It has been a year and a half since the Tasmanian Law Reform Institute released its report calling for a conversion ban and the Premier committed to the reform.”

“Vulnerable LGBTIQA+ Tasmanians continue to be subject to the torture of conversion practices and the longer the State Government delays the more damage will be done.”

Mr Croome said other important reforms being pursued by Ms Archer should also not be delayed. They include reforms to legislation expunging convictions under the state’s former laws against homosexuality and cross-dressing, and reforms to the Sentencing Act allowing stronger penalties for hate-motivated crime against LGBTIQA+ people.

For more information contact Rodney Croome on 0409 010 668.

Advocates to push for gay conviction compensation as State Gov’t balks

Equality Tasmania has welcomed a State Government bill improving 2016 legislation that allows for historical gay and transgender criminal records to be expunged. But the group says the bill does not go far enough because it does not allow for compensation as recommended by the independent review that is the basis of the new bill.

The Government has released its Expungement of Historical Offences Bill that improves landmark legislation passed by the Hodgman Liberal Government in 2016.

The 2016 law allows for historical convictions under Tasmania’s former anti-gay and anti-cross-dressing laws to be expunged from the record, with the new law proposing that associated charges such as resisting arrest also be expunged. But a recommendation from an independent review of the 2016 law, that successful applicants for expungement receive a one-off payment in compensation, is not in the draft legislation.

Equality Tasmania spokesperson, Rodney Croome, said, “Gay and transgender Tasmanians convicted under our repressive former laws too often suffered involuntary outing, deep humiliation, and loss of employment, family and friends.”

“Many had no choice but to leave the state and some took their own lives leaving families traumatised forever.”

“It is only fair that one-off compensation is paid to those people who successfully apply for records to be expunged.”

“We will lobby both the Government and other parties and independents to ensure compensation is available to those our old laws treated so brutally.”

Mr Croome said there have been few if any successful applications under Tasmania’s expungement legislation.

“Another recommendation of the 2016 review was more promotion of the Tasmanian scheme so that those who would benefit from expunging their record know this option is available.”

“Many of those convicted under our former laws are quite old now so improvements to the law and better promotion of the law must occur as quickly as possible.”

The Government will conduct consultations on its bill until September 22nd.

For a news report on the independent review’s recommendation of compensation:https://www.starobserver.com.au/news/calls-to-compensate-tasmanians-convicted-under-historical-homosexuality-laws/198657

For a copy of the independent review (compensation is recommendation 13): https://www.justice.tas.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0003/592176/Final-Report-Expungement-of-Historical-Offences-Act-2017.pdf

For a copy of the new bill and notes: https://www.justice.tas.gov.au/community-consultation/consultations/expungement-of-historical-offences-amendment-bill-2023

For a copy of this statement on the web, click here

For more information contact Rodney Croome on 0409 010 668.