Tasmanian Times


Trans law reforms … Ms White, please don’t explain …

Rebecca White MP

With parliament set to debate Labor and the Greens’ amendments to the Justice and Related Legislation (Marriage Amendments) Bill 2018 next week, Women Speak Tasmania wrote to Opposition leader, Rebecca White and Opposition Justice spokesperson, Ella Haddad, on Tuesday 13 November last requesting a meeting to discuss the proposed changes.

We briefly outlined our position, and asked Ms White and Ms Haddad if we could meet with them to talk about Labor’s policy and the amendments they intended to put forward.

We received a prompt response, outlining Labor’s policy in very general terms and confirming the party’s commitment to “the rights of LGBTI people”.

Unfortunately, despite Ms White hoping her response would provide “some clarification about the upcoming debate”, we are none the wiser about the detail of Labor’s proposed changes to the law.

And, it seems our request for a meeting was ignored.

We’ve met with Speaker, Sue Hickey, Legislative Council member, Ruth Forrest, and the Attorney-General, Elise Archer. All three have given us a very fair hearing.

It’s disappointing the sponsors of the proposed legislative reforms can’t do the same.

Given Ms White’s failure to advise the Tasmanian people about the proposed amendments and their effect, we reiterate most strongly our call for the matter to be referred to the Tasmanian Law Reform Institute for proper legal analysis and community consultation.

Bronwyn Williams is a retired lawyer and social worker

Women Speak Tasmania is a network of women and their supporters based in Tasmania. We operate as a secular group. We are not aligned with any political party or ideology. We share research and information on a broad range of women’s rights issues. These include – female only spaces, services, groups and facilities; the sexualisation of girls and women; pornography/prostitution and the harms of the global sex trade; surrogacy as a violation of women’s human rights; and ending male violence against girls and women. We understand that sex-based oppression affects all women, and underlies all abuses of female rights. We support the right of women to speak freely about the inequities and discrimination they experience. We aim to give a voice to girls and women in the pursuit of justice, peace and security. We support full autonomy and personal freedom for all women.

Author Credits: [show_post_categories parent="no" parentcategory="writers" show = "category" hyperlink="yes"]


  1. sally

    November 16, 2018 at 5:49 pm

    I feel that the concerns raised by Women Speak Tasmania are well considered, and that they are not ranting at all.

    How is it that women are made to feel silenced and invisible?

    Many women feel kindness towards trans-identified people, however women are in a quandary as they feel that women’s needs and voices are silenced and minimised during this non debate that is being conflated with gay marriage.

    It does appear that the proposed reforms are being railroaded in parliament.

    Let us hope that the government and the legislative council will be sensible.


    “Sally” (and “others”) here is one Web definition of ‘astroturfing’:

    “Astroturfing is the attempt to create an impression of widespread grassroots support for a policy, individual, or product, where little such support exists. Multiple online identities and fake pressure groups are used to mislead the public into believing that the position of the astroturfer is the commonly held view.”

    — Moderator

  2. monica

    November 16, 2018 at 12:38 pm

    Could it be that the cult of mumbo-jumbo transgender compulsory naming systems could represent a form of emotional, psychological and cultural bullying and structural violence against women and girls?

    Many women I know actively support gay marriage. However many have pointed out that the group most in need of marriage/relationship equality are women!

    Also many women find the language ideology associated with the transgender ideology totally silly.

    All the best to all.

  3. A. Murphy

    November 16, 2018 at 12:34 pm

    Self ID is dangerous to women and girls. The Tasmanian Labor Party should be ashamed for even considering taking this to legislation.

  4. Bystander against violence

    November 16, 2018 at 12:20 pm

    Bravo for the Victorian Women’s trust for their current advocacy on behalf of girls.

    It is incredible that it has taken so long for people to realise that the need for privacy and dignity has prevented girls from attending primary and high schools due to a need for menstrual hygiene products, and also that feelings of anxiety, fear and embarrassment can have had long lasting effects. Advocacy so that the school system provides free tampons and sanitary items is a wonderful idea.

    In many other countries of the world, girls miss school because there is not a safe toilet for them, and also because they do not have access to menstrual hygiene products or because they are labelled as “unclean” due to cultural discrimination against women and girls.

  5. Ron

    November 16, 2018 at 11:51 am

    Same loud-mouthed trio ranting again. How boring. Just a Femo-Nazi fringe element, demanding sexists rights when they constantly attack the rights of the other gender, and those who can’t work out which gender they are.

    Your credibility is ZERO, and the vast majority of people could not give a rat’s bum about your continual ranting.

    • Russell

      November 17, 2018 at 7:03 am

      Same patriarchal bullying mouth ranting again on issues which don’t sit well with his male domineering stance.

      Your credibility is less than zero because you don’t even comment on the actual subject content. Please keep your comments to yourself unless you avail yourself to the facts of the topic. It is about the recording of sex on Birth Certificates, NOT gender.

      According to the sum total of comments (male and female) on this and another like thread, it is YOU whom is in the extreme minority Ron.

  6. bystander in prevention of violence

    November 16, 2018 at 10:17 am

    We do need to keep the focus upon ending violence against women and girls, as well as providing women and girls with friendly spaces and services.

    How is it for example, that in Tasmania we have only one dedicated mother baby bed for mothers experiencing post natal depression, and that the bed is in a private and not a public hospital?

    Also women and girls “cis gender this or that” but women and girls.

    It is incredible that in many countries .. and this is a total outrage .. that thousands of girls do not even have a birth certificate due to entrenched discrimination against women and girls? How do they claim their individual and collective rights and gain access to health care, education, legal representation etc, let alone protection within their country?

    It is vital that women and girls in Australia can make collective claims upon the state and federal governments and also hold them to account all the way to the United Nations, including holding the government to account under CEDAW .. the convention to end all forms of discrimination against women and girls.

    Could it be that the proposed so-called reforms are a form of mansplaining?

    I voted Yes for marriage equality, however could there be another way to resolve the current issues, and to make the proposed amendments public?

  7. Russell

    November 16, 2018 at 8:47 am

    Rebecca White will very quickly undo any of the gains she and the Tasmanian Labor Party had made if she continues to go down this pathetic path. The Tasmanian Greens are all but consigned to political history under Cassy O’Connor, as was the Democrats under Meg Lees.

  8. Isla MacGregor

    November 16, 2018 at 8:21 am

    Thank you for your very succinct comment, Christopher. It is the best summary of the broader context of power, and how it is exercised in our society.

    The attack on freedom of speech is very much at the centre of this agenda.

    In the pursuit of male rights we see yet again women as collateral damage, and their voices being silenced.

    Rebecca White – please do explain, if you can.

  9. Christopher Eastman-Nagle

    November 16, 2018 at 7:22 am

    When it comes to ideological causes celebre, whether it is climate change for the free marketers or sexistentialist identity politics for social libertarians, they are all equally intransigent because these issues define their regime power, legitimacy, and their commitment to deregulation in favour of private interest and personal discretion at the expense of the commons.

  10. Isla MacGregor

    November 16, 2018 at 6:14 am

    So much for Labor wanting to defend women’s rights and mistakenly putting transgender rights in the same bag as the campaign for same sex marriage – lest they are targeted as ‘transphobes’!

    Meanwhile Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party are in turmoil in the UK with women very critical of Corbyn’s position on reforms to the Gender Recognition Act and ignoring the vital importance of maintaining sex based protections for women …

    A veteran feminist and opponent of government plans to streamline how people can legally change their gender aims to set up a “new women’s liberation movement” to lobby a future Labour government.

    Ruth Serwotka, convener of the Socialist Feminist Network, said she and others on the left had been “frozen out” of voicing their concerns to the party leadership about what they believe would be the impact of the government’s proposed Gender Recognition Act. The act would make it easier for people to self-declare their gender without having to be assessed by clinicians.

    Nearly 500 people from Labour, the Greens, the Women’s Equality party and trade unions attended the latest meeting of the group, which took place in London at a location that was kept secret because of what the group alleges is intimidation by trans activists.

    “I think that in time there will be an impact on Labour’s support among women and trust in the party from women,” said Serwotka.

    Further meetings are planned around the country, she said, and will lead to the establishment of “a new women’s liberation movement” later this year.

    “It will talk about wider issues than just transgender issues and really go back to the founding principles of the women’s liberation movement, look at whether they are fit for purpose, and consider what any new founding principles might look like. We want to do that because we certainly want to be able to influence a Labour government.”

    The campaign by Serwotka and other feminists comes against the backdrop of divisions in Labour over whether transgender women can be included on all-women shortlists for parliamentary seats. The party is embarking on a consultation after confirming they are welcome to stand without a gender recognition certificate.’

    More: https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/mar/04/labour-left-infighting-over-gender-recognition

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