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A Tasmanian Liberal conscience vote on transgender law reform will diffuse potential hate campaigns

By Rodney Croome - posted Thursday, 14 March 2019

Will one of Will Hodgman's successors have to apologise for the Liberal Party's current anti-transgender campaign in the same way Will apologised for his predecessor's anti-gay campaign?

But my disappointment is nothing compared to the trepidation and anxiety transgender and gender diverse Tasmanians and their families feel right now.

They had their identities and rights demonised during the postal survey.


They rightly believed the Yes vote brought that to an end, especially in Tasmania where the vote was above the national average.

The last thing they need is for their hopeful bid at equality and dignity turned into the postal survey version 2.0.

The way to prevent this is simple: a Liberal conscience vote.

In 1996, after years of polarisation in regard to decriminalising homosexuality, the Liberal Party adopted a conscience vote, leading to gay law reform being embraced by most Tasmanians.

By allowing a conscience vote on LGBTI law reform ever since, including on same-sex parenting and marriage, the Liberal Party has helped forge the more inclusive and tolerant Tasmania we all enjoy today.

If the Liberal Party allows a conscience vote on transgender reform it will immediately stop the gathering hate campaigns and help foster greater community understanding, just as it did in the late 90s.


My plea to Tasmania's Liberals is not to go backwards to a time when fear was whipped up to win a few votes.

Instead, let's keep moving forward to a Tasmania where we are all treated with respect and dignity.

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This article was first published in the Tasmanian Times.

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About the Author

Rodney Croome is the National Convenor of Australian Marriage Equality and was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 2003 for his gay rights advocacy. He is co-author of Why vs Why: Gay Marriage.

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