It’s alarming that some members of Tasmania’s Legislative Council and Rosemary Armitage the current member for Launceston are considering removing the words “offend” and “insult” from section 17(1) of the Anti-Discrimination Act.

Have they forgotten that these words were recommended as a result of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody? The Royal Commission found that racial hatred and vilification can cause emotional and psychological harm to their targets, and reinforce other forms of discrimination, and seemingly low-level behaviour can soften the environment for more severe acts of harassment, intimidation or violence by impliedly condoning of such acts.

The words “offend” and “insult” in section 17(1) of the Anti-Discrimination Act currently provide key protection for minority groups against vilification, and their removal would significantly weakened the Act.

What words do Ms Armitage and the other members Legislative Council think Tasmanians should be able say about minority groups that they cannot say now?

What additional information does Ms Armitage and the other members of the Legislative Council need in making their decision?

If I was elected to the Legislative Council I wouldn’t be putting up with such a backwards step for Tasmania. The Greens position is clear and I will not support the watering down of anti-discrimination legislation.

With the election in less than a month, the people of Launceston deserve to know where their current Legislative Councillor and all the candidates for Launceston stand on the Liberals’ attempt led by Eric Abetz to weaken the Anti-Discrimination Act and thus weaken legal protections for LGBTI Tasmanians, women, people from a culturally and linguistically diverse background, people living with a disability, and the list goes on.

Given the government has chosen to withdraw this legislation until after the Legislative Council election it is more important than ever that Ms Armitage and other candidates clearly declare their position on this legislation.
Emma Anglesey, Greens’ Candidate for Launceston