Tasmanian Times

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche


Is mainstream media in Australia afraid to cover women’s views on the transgender rights debate?

Image: Deviantart

And what about the Mercury?

In the last few months Tasmanian Times has published several articles on the transgender rights debate written by women from Women Speak Tasmania.

Most of these articles were also sent out nationally as Media Releases.  No mainstream media in Australia has contacted us to follow up on our views.

This lack of coverage is a matter of public interest at a time when there is considerable coverage in the media about edicts on gender ideology and language being rolled out within various government and non-government institutions.

The UK trans rights campaign lobbying for changes to sex markers on birth certificates on the basis of self-identification alone is currently being fiercely opposed by women’s rights groups and thousands of people in the broader community.

Transgender rights do not exist in a vacuum and have direct impacts on women’s rights.  As women, we have a right to voice our opinions on an issue that will affect us all, including female children.

And, we have a right to express those opinions without threats of intimidation, retaliation, no-platforming, abuse or false claims being made to discredit us.

The Guardian UK covered the issue of silencing women’s voices in the trans rights debate just yesterday –

‘Nearly 200 prominent figures have signed an open letter raising concerns that public and private bodies are helping “close down discussion” about government plans to make it easier for trans people to have their preferred gender legally recognised.

Writers Marina Strinkovsky and Beatrix Campbell, actors James Dreyfus and Frances Barber, and Pragna Patel, the founder of the Southall Black Sisters Centre, are among 195 people to put their names to the letter, published in the Observer. “We believe the right to discuss proposed changes to the law is fundamental in a democratic society,” they write.

See –

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/oct/14/women-claim-intimidation-silencing-gender-recognition-act-debateronwywn Williams

Today, Bronwyn Williams contacted Mercury journalist Tim Martain on behalf of Women Speak Tasmania.  This is a comment on that conversation –

‘In August this year, Mercury journalist Tim Martain authored a four-page feature article in the TasWeekend magazine. The article, titled ‘Transcending Stereotypes’ gave a forum to several Tasmanian transgender people, and discussed, among other things, the legislative reforms currently being sought by transgender lobby group, Transforming Tasmania.

These reforms include an amendment to the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Act 1999 (Tas) that would allow transgender persons to change the sex marker on their birth certificate on the basis of self-identification alone. This would mean, for example, that a male-bodied person could become legally female simply by signing a declaration that they identify as a woman.

Legislative changes of this type are currently before parliament in the UK and are being strongly opposed by a number of women’s groups. Apart from the obvious assault on women’s rights to female-only spaces, services and facilities, it is naïve in the extreme to think some men will not take advantage of such laws, change their legal sex, and use their new status to exploit and abuse women and girls.

With this in mind, I contacted Tim Martain today and asked if he would be interested in running an article demonstrating the women’s rights perspective on the trans rights debate.

The answer was a firm, ‘no’.

Mr Martain said he raised the issues about which I was concerned with the interviewees for his original article and was entirely satisfied with their ‘ready responses’.  To run a story as I suggested, from a women’s rights position, would be ‘fear-mongering’.

Mr Martain also offered the following – ‘there’s a myth that balance is needed in journalism’ – that journalists need to present alternative views. In his opinion, an alternative view in this article would have created ‘conflict, not balance’, and was therefore unnecessary.

Because, after all, balance in journalism is just a myth – too bad if readers are relying on it.

Finally, Mr Martian said he was ‘not prepared to write this story’ and assured me his editor, Chris Jones, and the TasWeekend magazine editor, Kirsty Eade, would ‘back him up’.

I enjoy Mr Martain’s writing. I thought he was better than this, and I told him so.’

It comes as no surprise that the Mercury will not publish certain viewpoints, but the confidence Martain expressed in supporting biased journalism is astounding.

It is a credit to Tasmanian Times editor, Lindsay Tuffin, that he is committed to freedom of speech, independent journalism and the role of the fourth estate.






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  1. Minerva Strom

    October 24, 2018 at 12:29 pm

    Hi Bronwyn. Is there some way to find you on Twitter or Facebook?

    There is a very strong community of women around the world that is strenuously opposed to the encroachment on sex-based rights and the erasure of women.

    @feministcurrent is a website that would be very interested in the happenings in Tasmania, and it has a huge audience. I am horrified this is happening in Australia with extremely discrete community consultation, or mainstream exposure.

    The opposition to the GRA amendments in the UK is fierce, yet it is silent here. It needs to be exposed!

    • Isla MacGregor

      October 26, 2018 at 6:54 am

      Yes Minerva, you can see our facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/womenspeaktas/

      We have sent material to feminist current. Please share our facebook page and encourage people to support us by sending emails to Tasmanian Labor and Green members telling them your views on women’s rights.

      • Margaret

        November 1, 2018 at 1:41 am

        I live in Sydney and I am a veteran from the seventies activism for women’s rights. I would like to become involved in the fight against trans self ID.

        Do you know if there’s any group in my state, or should I just go to the Facebook page? I don’t actually have a Facebook account as I saw the pitfalls long ago, but I suppose I could join if need be.

        • Lola Moth

          November 1, 2018 at 5:29 am

          I’m with you Margaret. I have a FB account but only to look at groups such as these, but I don’t actually want to use the account at all.

          If there was a website that gave information about groups I could join I would be there in a flash, but when groups only have a FB life they leave me cold.


  2. Christopher Eastman-Nagle

    October 17, 2018 at 11:00 pm

    Ah Trish, human rights were once a respectable cultural artifact, but time has not been kind to them in the age of indulgence. Any opportunist can claim a human right just because they can, whether they qualify for it or not. Human rights are just another propaganda mechanism used by the dominant clique that runs our system of social administration.

    ‘Fearmongering’ is an ideological cliche that assumes that those who disagree with you are only motivated by fear and hate. this is an ideological fantasy.

    ‘Bigotry’ is a little more than a propaganda smear and meaningless term of abuse.

    It would not be a bad idea if you honestly argued some kind of a case for your beliefs. Their validity is not self evident. To believe that they are is the self indulgence of a spoilt brat. You cannot assume moral hegemony. You have to earn it.

  3. Trish Roberts

    October 17, 2018 at 12:04 pm

    Nice to see that trans rights (human rights) are advancing despite the fearmongering and bigotry of certain small groups.

    • Russell

      October 19, 2018 at 5:09 am

      Sounds like you’ve been taking lessons how to twist reality from to Pauline Hanson. Why don’t you form your own little groups and leave women’s and girls organisations to themselves? How come you’re not barging your way into men’s groups?

      Trans people just aren’t women and never will be. They will NEVER know what it’s like to conceive and give birth or experience the monthly cycles, no matter what operations they may lobby Frankenstein doctors to come up with. Grow up, you lot.

  4. Pixie

    October 16, 2018 at 11:37 am

    So Tim Martain sets himself up as the final arbiter of what conflicts of views should, and should not, be reported in The Mercury … and he knows his Editor will back him?

    The message for we women out here – don’t create conflicts – just shut up and go away. Men rule – get used to it.

    • Simon Warriner

      October 16, 2018 at 6:38 pm

      Actually, No. Martain has set himself up as an arbiter, but not on behalf of me or any other male of the species. It is not males doing the ruling in this instance, but the Murdoch media machine. Ponder a while on whose behalf it might be acting. I doubt Martin is clever enough to have figured that bit out, and if he has not he is simply a rather dumb cog in the machine.

      While ever these silly identity politics battles are being fought we are distracted from the forces that really do want to remove any and all freedom to think, act and create on our own terms. Martain is simply setting out to start another battle, as directed by his boss.

  5. Dan

    October 16, 2018 at 10:43 am

    The Mercury opposes freedom of speech and backs the rising tide of identifarian snowflakes. Next, they will back the thought police when they come for you!

  6. Christopher Eastman-Nagle

    October 15, 2018 at 9:40 pm

    In a previous article in this series being written by Isla and Bronwyn, I pointed out that anyone who opposes laissez-faire, deregulatory and privatisation agendas, the takedown of boundaries generally and the denial of/lack of respect for/attack upon fundamental biological boundaries particularly, just doesn’t, and won’t, get traction in the mainstream architecture of ideological discourse.

    Censorship within libertarian societies is rarely about obvious top down suppression of dissent. That is old fashioned censorship. Censorship under indulgence capitalism is marginalisation, or what I call ‘dead zoning’ where non-conforming messages become unplatformable, or they are platformed but only as a butt for libertarian ‘officialspeak’ where the non-conforming message is mediated through the filters and prejudices of the dominant ideology.

    What audiences very rarely hear is the non conforming voice speaking for itself without being mediated, interpolated and interrupted by interviewers who turn ‘questions’ into de facto ‘debate’ that they control .. and adjudicate, as the keepers of the official line.

    Journalists are rarely told what they cannot write or say. They do not need to be to be. They have all ingested the official line. They know what is acceptable or unacceptable and wouldn’t be where they are if they didn’t subscribe to the dominant paradigm. But if they do forget themselves too often, they might be told they are being ‘brave’, and their work starts to get ‘edited’, their contract may be degraded, rationalised or not renewed, or they get offered fewer career opportunities or get pushed into more humdrum areas that are less ‘controversial’.

    The censorship is in depth and runs from self censorship to ‘peer feedback’ to subtly coded ‘friendly advice’, and then if that isn’t enough, ‘unrelated’ workplace adversities. And the only places where that kind of censorship does not apply is in the margins, and where what happens, or doesn’t happen, doesn’t matter.

    Tim Martain is par for the course. He is not just speaking for himself, but the system he is working for. And no one needs to tell him what his attitude should be to ‘off message’ ideas.

    Anyone looking for insurgent solutions to this conundrum need look no further than the neo fascist ‘Indentitarians’ in Germany. They have become expert at creating dramatic actions and ‘scenes’ which they record themselves and spread throughout the architecture of social media .. and get millions of ‘hits’. They are sufficiently media savvy to bypass the mainstream media altogether .. and maintain absolute control of the message and how it is perceived.


    Their agenda is beside the point. Their media methodology is impeccable, and those trying to batter their heads against the libertarian deregulators should take note. Those young Blackshirts are getting traction and winning support, and not just because Merkel has made a real deregulatory mess of German multiculturalism.

  7. Isla MacGregor

    October 15, 2018 at 8:00 pm

    Media Blackouts should always be of great concern to citizens who support the public’s right to know, and to fair reporting.

    What do the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance say about Martain’s ‘journalist ethics’ and The Mercury’s ‘D notice’ on Women Speak Tasmania?

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