Tasmanian Times

Editor's Choice - Row 1

Not this, not us, not here, not now: why has the Tasmanian Government been so truculent about transgender law reform?

Salamanca Place ...

How did the Tasmanian Government thwart majority support for transgender law reform in the state’s Parliament?

Why was the Government so antagonistic to this law reform that it was willing to risk its employees being dragged before the High Court rather than pass it?

These are the questions posed by the unprecedented events in the Tasmanian Parliament in the final sitting days of 2018 which saw the Government go to extraordinary lengths to stop MPs doing their job.

By outlining these events, we hope to prepare future advocates for governments that are also willing to subvert democracy.

Here’s the background: A stipulation of last year’s marriage amendments was that, by December this year, each state had to repeal its law forcing married transgender people to divorce before they could have their gender officially recognised on their birth certificates.

Tasmanian transgender and gender diverse advocates saw an opportunity to remove other hurdles to the recognition of true gender on birth certificates.

This included removing expensive and sometimes dangerous surgery, as a prerequisite to amending birth certificates, and giving everyone a choice about whether their gender is mentioned on their birth certificate at all.

These reforms are linked to forced divorce by the same principles of individual choice and freedom from government interference, they disadvantage the same group of people in the same way, and they were promised by successive Tasmanian governments but never delivered.

A new advocacy group, Transforming Tasmania, approached the Tasmanian Liberal Attorney-General, Elise Archer, in May 2018 seeking to work with her to advance reform.

Transforming Tasmania wanted the reform to be about people, not partisanship, but Archer wasn’t interested.

The group approached her again in September, this time with amendments developed by skilled transgender and gender diverse professionals like Dede River and Roen Meijers, and in consultation with experts like former Anti-Discrimination Commissioner, Robin Banks.

Archer ruled out any Government involvement at all.

Transforming Tasmania was determined to follow proper process, so it was only after the Government had twice knocked it back that it approached the Labor and Green parties and Liberal speaker, Sue Hickey.

Hickey was a public supporter of marriage equality in her former role as Hobart Lord Mayor, and has the casting vote in the precariously balanced Tasmanian Lower House.

Fearing they might lose control of the process, the Government’s indifference suddenly disappeared and it became the champion of a Tasmanian Law Reform Institute inquiry.

This was despite the Tasmanian Anti-Discrimination Commission conducting such an inquiry two years before, which the Government has completely ignored.

Archer said she supported the reforms in principle, and her only concern was “proper process”. But when asked if she would implement any positive recommendations from the TLRI inquiry she refused to commit.

It was clear to advocates that talk of an inquiry was just another delaying tactic, not a path forward.

In essence, the Government was saying, “Not this, not us, not here, not now”.

When Labor and the Greens introduced their amendments to the Government’s bill on forced divorce, Archer’s sudden concern for the rights of transgender, gender diverse and intersex people just as suddenly vanished.

She issued rapid fire media releases fearmongering about the parents of intersex babies being gaoled for life, dog-whistling LGBTI hate with loaded phrases like “unintended consequences” and “secret agendas”, and using the hate thus mustered to score cheap political points from Labor and the Greens.

In the Australian newspaper and on outrage-radio in Sydney and Melbourne, transgender people were vilified and Tasmania was rubbished, but the resolve of reformers was undented.

We polished our amendments with yet more expert advice until they shone as the best of their kind ever drafted in Australia.

Meanwhile, transgender young people and their parents bravely and compellingly told their personal stories in the media and in tearful meetings with MPs.

Thus, reform passed the Lower House with Sue Hickey’s vote in early November.

The Government did its best to stop that vote. For example, it took the almost unprecedented step of bringing on other bills, once speeches on its forced divorce legislation were over and it became clear the extra transgender amendments would pass.

Sue Hickey had to adjourn the House for several hours, in an effort to cajole the Government into sticking to proper process.

But these shenanigans were nothing compared to the violations of protocol, convention and common decency the Government would perpetrate in the Upper House.

Like members in the Lower House, a majority of members in the traditionally-cautious Tasmanian Upper House – even some of the most conservative – were moved by personal stories and indicated their in-principle support for reform.

Thanks to months of brave advocacy and intelligent drafting, Tasmania – the last state to decriminalise homosexuality and the only state to once criminalise cross-dressing – was on the brink of leading the nation towards a new level of freedom and equality for transgender, gender diverse and intersex people.

There were several ways in which the Government attempted to prevent such an outcome.

First, it planned to split the legislation so it could comply with its Constitutional obligations regarding forced divorce while kicking the other reforms into a private members bill it could continue to block.

Remember how the Government called a Law Reform Institute inquiry “proper process”? Well, now that had failed to stop reform advancing, the Government began calling a private member’s bill “proper process”.

But despite all this spin, or perhaps because of it, the majorities in both houses weren’t for budging.

Two days before the end of Parliament the Government changed tack again, enveloping Upper House members with clouds of misinformation and doubt.

It convened a three hour briefing for Upper House members from parliamentary drafters and various other government legal officers.

Unlike other briefings, the public was excluded, and in a bizarre move by the Government, Upper House members were discouraged from taking notes.

Some did, and passed these notes on to advocates.

We were appalled by what we saw.

In amongst a few small changes easily made, was some real nonsense.

For example, government legal officers had criticised parts of the Labor and Green amendments for not conforming to Tasmanian drafting standards.

However, these parts had been taken directly from existing legislation drafted by the agency criticising them!

This suggests either the Government’s drafting of the existing legislation was flawed, the legal officers who briefed the Upper House didn’t understand existing legislation, or they failed to interpret the proposed amendments correctly. That they may have been instructed to provide incorrect advice to Upper House Members is something we find it difficult to contemplate.

Transforming Tasmania worked long into the evening to provide detailed responses to each criticism.

The next morning, the last day of Parliament for the year, Transforming Tasmania’s representatives were given a meagre fifteen minutes to respond to the Government’s three hour briefing.

Even then, part of that fifteen-minute slot was lost to Government-friendly members complaining that details of the Government briefing had been leaked.

Meanwhile, Sue Hickey was pulling out all the stops to get parliamentary drafters to speak to MLCs about how the problems the Government had identified could be fixed.

Initially they were too busy, but then the Premier intervened and the drafters began to respond to members’ emails.

It looked like the situation could be rescued, but then another order came from the Premier’s office.

In an extremely unusual move, all Upper House members were sequestered in a meeting about what to do with the legislation, something they would usually resolve on the floor of the chamber.

The meeting dragged on and the minutes ticked by. Attempts were made to keep the Lower House sitting so it could pass any amendments made by the Upper House.

But the Government did not allow this, and the Lower House was adjourned just minutes after the Upper House meeting ended.

What had been effectively one long frustrating filibuster had served its purpose. There would be no reform this year.

The Government that couldn’t stop talking about the need for “proper process” had subverted proper process at every point in order to block reform.

So determined was the Government to block reform, nothing passed, not even the forced divorce provision.

Government officials like the Registrar of Births Deaths and Marriages are now at risk of High Court action if they obey state law and refuse to allow married transgender partners to amend their birth certificates.

Together with all the transgender, gender diverse and intersex people the Government has sacrificed in its perverse scorched earth campaign against change, it has now sacrificed its own employees.

The one concession reformers managed to wrest from the Government was a letter from the Premier committing to revisiting the legislation in March, this time with the cooperation of parliamentary drafters.

But members of the transgender community and their parents knew victory had been unnecessarily delayed by manipulation and subterfuge.

They knew that, because they had won the argument, the Government had to resort to trickery to get its way.

When the Premier’s letter was tabled in the Upper House, they stood in protest.

As Upper House members rose to speak to the letter, many turned to the gallery and, often through tears and sobs, tried to explain what had gone wrong and apologise for the failure of our parliamentary system.

It was cold comfort to a community that knows it is now in for a Summer of hate.

National organisations and local politicians who fought against marriage equality, and never reconciled themselves to defeat, will kick off another No campaign.

Their rationale will be that if they can stop this reform in Tasmania they can stop it across the nation.

Why did this happen?

It’s not enough to say, as many people do, that the Liberals are determined to look united in the face of Sue Hickey’s equal determination to be her own person, or that the problem is just personal antagonism between key players. 

Rational political actors in the Liberal Party would seek to work with Sue Hickey.

Instead, the Liberals make cooperation ever more difficult with their petulant attempts to cajole and intimidate her.

Rational Liberals would also want to see the transgender law reform issue resolved quickly, to mitigate fallout from Sue Hickey voting against the Liberal line.

Instead, they have drawn the debate out over many months, reminding the electorate, again and again, of the Liberal Party’s divisions.

Clearly, for some Liberals this is about more than just overcoming the everyday challenges of government.

Neither is it enough to say, as some people have, that this is the kind of LGBTI fearmongering to be expected from the Liberal Party.

In the last few years, the Tasmanian Liberal Party has gone to great lengths to show its support for LGBTI people.

Tasmania’s Liberals were the first to allow a conscience vote on LGBTI parenting legislation and marriage equality motions, with a majority voting for both.

The Liberals were the first to offer an apology for former laws criminalising LGBTI people.

In recent months Tasmania’s Liberal Government has started upgrading its whole-of-government strategy for ending LGBTI discrimination, re-funded LGBTI inclusive schools programs and erected a new bench in Parliament Gardens paying tribute to LGBTI equality.

Of course, there’s a dark side to the Liberals’ record. They have attempted several times to chip away at the Anti-Discrimination Act by allowing discrimination on the grounds of religion.

For example, last year they tried unsuccessfully to amend the Anti-Discrimination Act to allow hate speech if it could be justified by a holy book.

But even with these campaigns against existing LGBTI discrimination protections, there was some degree of moderation and virtually no fearmongering.

For many years the Liberal Party has been a body inhabited by two souls, one moderate, one far right, which have been more or less in balance.

But the recent transgender law debacle showed no balance, no moderation, not even any rationality. What has changed?

One change is the new culture war, imported from the US, against transgender people.

When the American religious right lost its battle against marriage equality it went after transgender people with bathroom laws and fearmongering about gender fluidity, cultural Marxism and school boys in dresses.

Australia saw something similar during the postal survey, but many people assumed that was an aberration.

Moderate Liberals, happy and relieved marriage equality is over, have been caught off-guard by the continuation of this new LGBTI battlefront.

The other development is Trumpism, specifically the authoritarian belief that moderation, a willingness to negotiate and rational, pragmatic political decision-making are moral failings, while getting your way at all costs is a sign of strength and moral superiority.

As we have all seen, Trumpists are particularly triggered when strong women, defiant minorities, principled legislators or proper procedures stand in their way.

The arrival of this mindset in Tasmania caught many LGBTI equality advocates by surprise.

In their 2013-17 term of government, the Tasmanian Liberals engaged constructively on LGBTI law reform issues like the expungement of gay and transgender criminal records.

We didn’t always agree, but we could negotiate, and we arrived at outcomes everyone was happy with.

Now, the Government’s approach is oppose, oppose, oppose; even if that means they lose, lose, lose by driving away the middle ground and creating more sympathy for those they are opposing.

The same right-wing trend to strongman politics is evident across the nation, as are its disastrous consequences – including the sacking of Malcolm Turnbull, defections from the Morrison Government and the crushing defeat of the Liberals in Victoria and Wentworth.

Some pundits are now predicting the disintegration of the Liberal Party.

None of us should take joy in that possibility.

The casualties of ascendant authoritarianism in Tasmania are some of the most vulnerable members of our island community, not to mention hope for a viable, sensible and effective centre-right party.

We hold out little hope the Tasmanian Government will change its approach and facilitate reform in March.

But we are still optimistic reform will pass.

As we have noted already, the personal stories of everyday transgender and gender diverse people, and their parents, have had a profound impact on moving reform forward.

Reforms that attracted virtually no public attention a year ago are now supported by a majority of state MPs.

Like Trumpism more broadly, the Government’s obstruction has galvanised those under attack.

The message sent by the silent standing vigil of advocates in the Upper House was that defenders of change are more determined than ever.

The message sent by the tears of Upper House members was that they are equally determined to find a way around Government obstruction.

To paraphrase Abraham Lincoln, you can thwart Parliament some of the time, but not all of the time.

Truth and love will, yet again, win out.

Martine Delaney & Rodney Croome are long-time Tasmanian LGBTI equality advocates

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


  1. Lola Moth

    December 16, 2018 at 5:58 am

    There was recently a question asked of women on the Web, “What would you do if there was a night curfew on men?” The most common answer from women was that they would go for a walk at night. The answer reveals just how confining women’s lives are because of the presence of men in the same space. Women fear all men because they can’t tell the harmless from the dangerous ones, so even good men are considered a danger.

    I have no doubt that transsexuals also don’t feel safe walking down the street at night, but they can take their dresses off and become men in an instant. Biological women can’t do that so their lives will always be curtailed by the mere presence of men on the streets.

    The only spaces women have that are male-free are women’s toilets, change-rooms, refuges, etc. These are safe places that women can access knowing there will be no men in them. By allowing biological men into women’s safe spaces we take away the last safe spaces women have, and this curtails their freedom. A transsexual may be one of the good guys, but his presence in a female only place makes it a dangerous place for women.

    These proposals for biological men to magically and legally become women might make 1% of the population feel better about themselves, but they would come at the expense of the freedom and safety of 50% of the population. How incredibly selfish.

    • Christopher Eastman-Nagle

      December 16, 2018 at 10:12 pm

      Well said, sister.

      The deregulatory sexual politics of our age have dudded women by turning them into commodified games in a sex-on-demand hunt that makes every woman vulnerable, no matter where she goes.

      Women cannot confront this alone as individuals, in the same way that working class individuals could not change their circumstances. They unionised, and so must women, in sororities that bring to bear a collective will to change the way the game is played.

      That game is not about some abstract notion of ‘justice’ and ‘righteousness’. It is about the application of disciplined collective power that confronts established practice and attitudes with a social force that has to be reckoned with .. and cannot be avoided.

      Men need to know that behind every woman is a collective will that will not be gainsaid, and will move to protect its own whenever necessary.

      Women will never be empowered sufficiently unless they take collective action to make their visions for a better future real.

      That will change the game.

    • Barbara Mitchell

      December 17, 2018 at 2:22 pm

      The fact women cannot move around the streets at night, WITHOUT being concerned for their safety, isn’t even up for discussion. We only need to recall the women who have been assaulted, or worse, in recent years and over the course of time to know that NO woman feels completely safe in that situation.

      Even though I have always known this to be the case, because I am female, one particular incident stands out in my mind as proof positive of its universality. Several years ago, I was waiting in my car one night to pick up my three adult sons. They’d been out at the pub with friends and needed a ride home. As they walked towards me down a relatively well-lit street, I saw a woman approaching them turn, and quickly cross to the other side of the road to avoid walking past them.

      These were my sons, raised to be respectful and considerate of women. I knew they were no danger to the woman, but she didn’t. And I completely understood her response and the nervousness she obviously felt. If they hadn’t been my sons, I would have been apprehensive as they walked past the car.

      With no way of knowing which men might harm them, women, for their own safety, have to assume they all men are potential attackers. It might be a case of misjudging the many because of the actions of a few, but when their safety is at risk, women tend to err on the side of caution.

      Which brings me to the strident catch-cry of the trans activist movement – that ‘transwomen are women’. If they were women – if they truly understood the very real fear every woman has (a fear that is realised far too often) of being attacked or assaulted by a male person, they would understand that women need female-only safe spaces.

      They wouldn’t be relentlessly agitating to appropriate those spaces for themselves. They wouldn’t be forcing the law and society at large to buy into the fiction that they are female, and that their male genitalia is female. Female persons start learning, from a very young age, that their female bodies make them vulnerable to male-bodied people. The possibilities of sexual assault and unwanted pregnancy are realities they ignore at their peril. A person born male might think they are female, but they have NO idea what it means to live with a female body.

      I wonder why so many women support this part of the trans agenda. Is it because it’s socially and politically fashionable, or because they don’t wish to appear uncaring, or because they’re so inured to the subjugation of their own needs, as biological females, that they’re incapable of critical analysis? Or is it that they’re incapable of recognising the illogical absurdity of asserting that a male person can be female and vice versa?

      • Lola Moth

        December 17, 2018 at 5:17 pm

        Barbara, I honestly believe that people have been sucked in to the lie that if you are against anything the LGBTQ community wants, you are a bigoted homophobe and should be publicly flogged for your views. Even asking sensible questions about this issue rewards you with abuse for daring to ask such a disgustingly transphobic thing. But you never get an answer – just hate.

        This issue has become a taboo subject. For some reason we aren’t allowed to upset the trans agenda by asking questions, or giving examples of when it has gone wrong overseas. People need to be challenged about their views if those views have been given to them rather than being formed through their own thoughts and experiences.

        Women too often try to please everybody. In this particular case they are trying to placate the trans community to their own detriment without knowing it. Women have the most to lose from this proposal, so they need to think for themselves instead of parroting the trans agenda script.

  2. Teejay

    December 11, 2018 at 10:46 pm

    Why does the Hard Right of Liberal party keep continuing to import US style culture wars to Australia, given that the Same Sex Marriage Plebiscite was a failure for them?

    This sort of insanity is increasingly alienating their socially progressive middle class base.

    • Lola Moth

      December 12, 2018 at 5:11 am

      I don’t think this is a political issue of right Vs left. It is a social issue that needs to be seriously looked at from every perspective because while it is good to give rights to one group, those rights should not come at the expense of another group. It has been pointed out how these proposals can impinge on the rights of women and girls but nobody wants to address these issues. They want these laws passed without giving answers, or even allowing questions to be asked. That in itself in wrong and deceitful.

      I am against any changes to birth certificates and I have considered myself a socialist for the last 45 years, so the RWNJ versus the intelligent progressive left does not apply on this issue. These proposals are not progressive but regressive as they are a huge leap backwards for women’s rights.

    • Christopher Eastman-Nagle

      December 12, 2018 at 2:38 pm

      Damn it, Teejay! Are you hard of hearing? Have you been following this discussion at all? It doesn’t look like it to me.

      What ‘hard right’ of the Liberal Party are we talking about here? Isla and Bronwyn are described by their detractors as ‘radical feminists’ for heaven’s sake!

      And what the hell does ‘hard right’ really mean in a post Marxist world? ‘The right’ are representatives of the bourgeoisie, as opposed to the working class, who are (or were supposed to be once-upon-a-time) the progressive force of history who would lead us to socialism and eventually communism.

      The petty bourgeoisie was considered to be politically ‘unreliable’ and their intellectuals, while occasionally useful, needed to be controlled by party discipline because they are such self absorbed individualists that they needed working class guidance to be any bloody use at all.

      Your so-called petty bourgeois ‘progressives’ are what anyone would expect of an ‘unreliable’ social class that, having abandoned socialism, has fallen prey to the indulgent ‘false consciousness’ of deregulated privatisation of the social commonwealth, orchestrated by capital to integrate opposition into its maw .. and make them its instruments, alongside the corporates, to ensure that the system’s master agenda runs efficiently, right across all its operations.

      Your progressive petty bourgeois ‘intelligentsia’ are bunch of ideological sots who stand to attention and salute when anyone drops an ideological keyword or slogan, go into a trance and obey, like a bunch of zombies, even when the voices are telling them to vilify, discredit and deplatform feminists who are trying to defend the most truly oppressed class of them all….women!….from a bunch of ideologically pretentious dragsters who do not give shit about anyone or anything else but theirown microscopic sectional interests!

      Progressive? My arse!

      You mate need to pull your head out of the stereotypes and cliches bin and actually observe what is really going on, instead of falling for the myths and fairy stories spun by your class mates.

  3. Christopher Eastman-Nagle

    December 10, 2018 at 10:12 pm

    Now Leon, let us go back to the argument about a lobby group that represents a microscopic constituency that is trying to ram its agenda through a supposedly democratic process that ought to take on board the very reasonable objections that Isla and Bronwyn have raised on behalf of the interests of half the population.

    You have to argue that their objections are unfounded. You, Delaney and Groome have danced the ideological fandango, and anything you like, except doing that in an even plausible fashion.

    You have to justify why this lobby has to resort to dirty tactics like deplatforming in order to marginalise opposition.

    And it isn’t just any old opposition. Isla and Bronwyn are feminists who are fighting for the rights and integrity of women. They are not ‘far right’ (whatever that means these days) liberal party trogos.

    I assert that Groome and Delaney represent deregulatory and privatisation agendas that actually mesh in within the prevailing forces organised and rolled out by Indulgence Capitalism through its social and economic libertarian agents. They are not friends of women and represent very narrow sectional interests who do not give a damn about anyone but themselves.

    Now Leon, see if you can actually manage to get your head around any of that. Attacking me is a waste of time. Cut to the mustard. Address the issues.

  4. Christopher Eastman-Nagle

    December 8, 2018 at 7:05 am

    Leon Russo, you have not intellectually addressed anything I have said. Either you can’t, or won’t, critically address the issues and arguments being raised.

    What you are doing is what any ideological ascendency does when challenged, which is to attack the messenger and try and discredit him with high flown sounding stereotypes, dysphemisms, cliches and noisy indignation. And you and yours are so used to getting away with it that you have forgotten what real analysis actually is.

    Now I don’t give a damn what you think of me, Leon. I think you are an ideological stooge for Delaney and Croome. I think what you and your narcissistic trannie mates are doing to the interests of women stinks, and represents the sort of unconscionable ideological scum that that one can expect to float off the top of any society whose compass and existential grounding has been severely compromised.

    You and yours are the ones with an ugly truth about yourselves .. and you are getting the feedback from people whose moral sensibility hasn’t been paralysed yet.

    Get used to it.

    • Leon Russo

      December 8, 2018 at 2:06 pm

      Christopher … be honest, please!

      You DO give a damn about what I think of you, and you’re just shitty ’cause I called you out for being a Nazi sympathiser.

      Look, if you wanna get around in jackboots and a codpiece, I don’t really care, so long as you’re not bothering anyone else. And there’s the problem – you feel the need for yourself alone to dictate how the world and individuals and groups within it should behave.

      Your fascination with “trannies” had me a little confused, until I realised you were denigrating people: I was wondering ‘who still owns a tranny’ when ipods are so convenient? Probably only some old codger whose time has come and gone with no joy at all in between.

      That’s when I snapped back into reality and remembered I was reading the strange world of Christopher Nagle, where only Christopher knows the real truth and everyone that isn’t goose-stepping along with him is a damned fool.

      The problem with the Left, old boy, is this: for the past 40 years we were too polite and gave raum zum Atmen to ‘quiet’ fascists, when we should have (socially) confined and crushed them. Now they’re out of the closet as Nazis and are marching in the US and becoming ‘public’ here.

      I give no quarter to Nazis; no ‘freedom’ of speech, no nothing. They are outlaws as far as I (and they themselves) are concerned. This is why I’m not going to engage you in some narcissistic pseudo-academic wank-fest that you’re the King of.

      Like Johnny Rotten said “I have no time for lies or fantasies”. (You probably haven’t heard of him; while you were wearing out your thesaurus and your friends at Uni, he changed the world .. something that you will only ever achieve in your own withering mind. Isn’t it a fabulous quote, though?)

      And if you think you can get a bit of traction for pretending to champion women, you’re wrong again!

      You probably didn’t notice, but about half of those brown people you so shamelessly despise and belittle, do you remember them, are women! And I know you’ll be mortified, but black women can read, too! (Let me give you a tip Christopher – women don’t forget being patronised by chauvinistic racists.)

      And one only has to Google that snooty bifurcated name to discover a yellow brick road of gobbledegook cake topped with the cream of dog-whistling white trash self-superior delusion, and the tutti-fruity sprinkles of distorted history, fabricated sociological structures and concepts, and an embarrassing self indulgence pungent enough to make one shart one’s Y-fronts.

      Be Best!

      • spikey

        December 8, 2018 at 7:34 pm

        Bit harsh, but to me, a totally fair, honest, accurate assessment.
        Also, freaking hilarious, five stars.

      • Christopher Eastman-Nagle

        December 10, 2018 at 9:47 pm

        Leon, you are not giving me anything I can respond to because all you have done is offer an extended ideological smear-out by creating highly imaginative straw man targets, and then peppering them with ideological cliches and stereotypes at three paces.

        You have managed to throw some muck at me, and I am sure that there are plenty of your mates out there who think some of it has stuck. Boo Hoo.

        If I worried about having to rub shoulders with people who really do not like what I have to say, who throw muck at me .. and in all probability possess insufficient education or intellect, or are just too damned lazy to mount a real attack on my ideas, I would steer clear of these columns.

        You can call me all the names under the sun, old matey. Fire away. Be my guest. Guys like you get me up in the morning to relish another summer’s day. Brushing off flies comes with the turf.

  5. Barbara Mitchell

    December 8, 2018 at 12:26 am

    This article would make an interesting case study in the psychology of narcissistic emotional manipulation. The authors demonstrate all the classic signs of persons skilled in the practice of such manipulation. They are perpetual victims, abused by circumstances and the evil actions of their ‘enemies’. None of the constant misfortune that befalls them is of their own doing.

    They adopt a cavalier approach to the truth, and ‘spin’ their heartbreaking story to gain as much sympathy as possible. They prey on the good nature of others and exploit their lack of familiarity with the facts of any given situation.

    They deride those who supposedly victimise them as evil, hateful bigots based on NO evidence whatsoever.

    The fact here, as Melissa so correctly observes, is that the amendments Transforming Tasmania put forward ‘just stank’. Despite the ‘polishing’ by so-called legislative experts, it was a challenge too great for the beleaguered Office of Parliamentary Counsel to whip them into any sort of sensible shape. I suspect it will take weeks to do so.

    If either Rodney Croome or Martine Delaney has any doubt about this, I suggest they sit down with Speaker, Sue Hickey and an OPC officer, and ask Ms Hickey to explain each of the amendments, their practical effect and their implications for other laws.

    I guarantee she will be unable to do so, but she voted for them.

    Miss Hickey might favour ‘big, brave, bold’ government, but flamboyant gestures don’t necessarily mean good, solid legislation.

    And, please, a ‘summer of hate’ for transgender and gender diverse Tasmanians? Get a grip. You’re not the centre of the universe and a difference of opinion is not ‘hate’ – unless you’re two years old, that is.

    • Jack

      December 8, 2018 at 2:23 pm

      Barbara … I think you have come close to some important issues here.

      There is a big difference between asking for tolerance and acceptance and demanding affirmation and ideological conformity through threat, intimidation and blackmail.

      I’m prepared to accept that transgender people have a right to live their lives as they see fit. The irony is that they seek an affirmation and self-actualisation through others that they can never have.

      Personally I know several transgender people who function very well .. and others who don’t. Those who do well never demand affirmation or false platitudes, yet others are full of rage if they cannot manipulate affirmation. This seems to be due to a deep desire for others to reinforce their self-image .. and a deep anger when this does not happen.

      We have not, as a society, discussed the limits on what can be expected from others in affirming the identity of minorities. I don’t think that affirmation can be demanded – ever. This leaves transgender people in the lurch as they seem heavily dependent upon others for their own self-actualisation.

      Whatever the case, it should never require women to redefine their own gender, biological autonomy and legal protections to provide affirmation for a minority group. Nor should anyone have to sit passively and accept a barrage of histrionics and venom that attempts to silence them or paint them as villains if they don’t parrot the correct ideological narrative.

      My impression is that very few people spend much time worrying about the morality of transgender issues, or see it as a threat. It’s kind of a non-issue until the list of demands arrive. Then militancy, name calling and emotional manipulation kick in and all of a sudden the discourse is centred on a culture of anger and conflict rather than cool headed integration into wider society. This is so counter-productive that one has to wonder if attention-seeking is part of the game.

  6. Leon Russo

    December 7, 2018 at 9:02 pm

    Firstly .. there’s some dingbats on this page.

    To quote Christopher Eastman-Nagle, there’s quite a bit of “mellifluous ideological baloney …” here. It’s difficult to tell whether he himself tops that list.

    Christopher does in fact top that list with his bold assertion that “trannies” are taking over ‘public bathrooms, changing rooms, women’s shelters and prisons, and finally women’s homes’ when “the trannies come down the street led by the Pied Pipers of Cool, who want to groom their kiddies because they can.”

    Well, what can one say about that load of crap? Delusionary? Hateful? Bigoted?
    It’s Pauline Hanson all over again with “trannies” instead of “gook, kike, wog, chink or dago”. Oh, don’t forget “muslim”. Remember, all these groups were going to take over our society and subjugate us, like the Nazis, which the goodfellow Eastman-Nagle addresses with fondness in his very next paragraph, namely
    “Personally, I find that less tolerable than Nazi brownshirt bully boys taking over the place.”

    Good god. That’s some bad vibes you got goin’ there Chris; is that what you really think, or did you accidentally drop in a file from a private porno fantasy? Naughty boy!

    Here we see into the heart of this pseudo-intellectual, and the level of hate that some in our society feel for trans folk.

    I’ll leave Christopher and his sick opinions to be judged by other readers, although I expect a few to be chiming in and responding to his assertion that “Croome and Delaney are the New Totalitarians …”.

    Like I said, there’s some dingbats on this page …

    I’m not even going to bother responding to the ridiculous questionnaire from Suzie, and the same with Russell.

    Thanks to Tracey for the acronyms. Thanks to Martine for cutting through the bullshit.

    A question for ‘Russell’: If a woman uses a random male name, like, let’s say, ‘Russell’, is she still a woman?

    Be Best!

    • Russell

      December 8, 2018 at 9:01 am

      “A question for ‘Russell’: If a woman uses a random male name, like, let’s say, ‘Russell’, is she still a woman?”

      How about Kim Bassinger and Kim Booth, Leon? Does Kim Booth call himself a woman? What about Kerry O’Keefe? Do you call him a woman? And then there’s Robin Halton right here on TT. He fervently disagrees with being called a woman just because of his name. A name title doesn’t make anyone anything, just as transgenders have no right to make such false demands or enforce them on others.

      What a stupid and nonsensical proposition you pose.

      I’m talking about actual physical attributes which NO-ONE can argue with.

      As I stated, if you were not born naturally capable of menstruating, giving birth and breast feeding according to your sex. you are NOT a woman.

      How about you provide some information on where the public was ever consulted on this transgender issue?

      Be real.

      • Russell

        December 14, 2018 at 7:38 am

        No answer, Leon? You’ve had nearly a week to find some evidence.

  7. Al

    December 7, 2018 at 2:29 pm

  8. Christopher Eastman-Nagle

    December 7, 2018 at 1:17 pm

    Suzie, for women to have to paff off the trannies is an indicator of just how badly they have fared in the age of sexual ‘liberation’.

    Indulgent deregulation and privatisation of the social system is great for trannies because the designed breakdown in its infrastructure in favour of libertarian market and social forces means any opportunist at all can fill the vacuum with mellifluous ideological baloney, and it gets traction.

    Women on the other hand, and their feminist voice, got and get bounced because they actually want to rebuild and re-regulate social infrastructure with a new sexual politic with some social templates, disciplines, social mentorship, rules and boundaries that are actually enforceable, so that everybody, particularly males, come on board and stay there.

    Indulgence Capitalism doesn’t ‘do’ anything that might interrupt its libertarian program to turn freedom into disinhibition, and rights into consumer entitlement. Capitalism never ever does re-regulation of anything, because the organism wants to colonise us with its stamp so that we become its unquestioning acolytes.

    In a deregulated world, women are ‘liberated’ into sexual commodities and sexual servants-on-demand within a male sexual paradigm where patriarchy has been broken up and metastasised into less visible, formal and politicised formats. The sisters have been really screwed and used up by Indulgence Capitalism .. literally and metaphorically.

    That very same social and commercial commodification of sex into ‘sexuality’ which has so undone women means that anyone armed with a vaguely plausible looking identity suite can force their way into the reproductive centre, set up their glam bunting everywhere and invite the kids in .. you know; get ’em young/easy strung .. that sort of thing .. just what we really all want.

    Our social infrastructure is so full of holes that you could drive an army through. Fudging the hormonal sugar hit and fantasies of sex that get us to willingly reproduce has become an ideological winner. Conflating ‘gender identity’ and ‘sexuality’ into a fundamentally reproductive category whose basic business is creating and bring up children with a life affirming suite of values that can be passed on to the next generation has become a narrative model for committed steriles, like Groome and Delaney, who want to colonise and pervert its authentic business.

    Women as a class of people have a lot to lose at the hands of these colonists and it isn’t just in public bathrooms, changing rooms, women’s shelters and prisons. It is in their homes when the trannies come down the street led by the Pied Pipers of Cool, who want to groom their kiddies, because they can .. and we can’t ‘discriminate’ against them any more because the children are ‘gender fluid’ these days, as any school kid now ‘knows’ after the gender studies team has been through.

    Personally, I find that less tolerable than Nazi brownshirt bully boys taking over the place. There is a fundamental drive there to fight a violent intruder. It is a much crueller fate for a social evil to colonise a place to such an extent that all instincts of resistance become the ‘illegitimate’ expressions of ‘obsolete’ dorkasaurs who hardly understand what has happened to them.

    This is one of the faces of the indulgent totalitarianism that has blighted western affluent societies since the 1960s.

    People like Groome and Delaney are the New Totalitarians, and they behave in exactly the same way as the ‘oracular tyrants’ that Karl Popper pointed out in ‘The Open Society and Its Enemies’.

    Deplatforming and breaking up meetings is just the beginning.

  9. suzie

    December 7, 2018 at 11:27 am

    Sorry to say the vast majority of women do not agree with the transagendas’ push. Fairplay for Women has this to say about Sex-Self-ID:

    Sex-Self-ID means anyone who “feels like a woman” is a woman.
    Sex-Self-ID means no surgery, no doctors, no changes, no checks.
    Sex-Self-ID means ‘female-only’ also includes males.

    Women have a right to say how they define themselves, and to reject any claims by other people to redefine them. To say they don’t is misogyny at its worst.

    • Annie

      December 7, 2018 at 2:02 pm

      Well said, Suzie.

  10. Christopher Eastman-Nagle

    December 7, 2018 at 10:16 am

    Swerf and Terf … two brand spanking new clichéd heresy/deviationists/revanchist/adventurist stereotypes that can be used by fools to make themselves sound like they know what they are talking about, as well as having all the ideological clout they need to shut down discussion .. and opposition.

    “People ‘who know’ don’t need debate, do they children?”

    “No Mx!”

  11. Russell

    December 7, 2018 at 7:42 am

    “To paraphrase Abraham Lincoln, you can thwart Parliament some of the time, but not all of the time.”

    This is a very feeble and hypocritical attempt to make a point.

    Just as Trump is the USA’s current mega-hypocrite, Lincoln was his era’s equivalent regarding the abolition of slavery when on September 18, 1858, Lincoln made his position clear: “I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races…”

    As with the transgender demands, it’s all about themselves, and absolutely NOTHING about democracy.

    • Leon Russo

      December 7, 2018 at 10:26 am

      Russell, Russell, Russell, your ‘paraphrase’ of Lincoln is deliberately misleading.
      Bad form, cobber. The genuine quote is “You can fool some of the people all the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time.”

      It seems you are attempting to fool the silly and gullible ones!

      Another person once said “‘Twould be a great thing if bigge nosey weenie mind ne’er do wells minded their own f*cke’ affairs and let the rest of us get on with improving our situation…”.

      To paraphrase … if people like you spent their time and energies on improving all of our lives, instead of unnecessarily and vexatiously bothering others about an issue that has no more to do with ‘democracy’ than what I eat for dinner, then we would all be in a better place. To paraphrase that paraphrase – mind your own god-damned business.

      Your valiant efforts to ‘maintain democratic rule’ (that’s a paraphrase) are a worthless, in fact harmful, waste of everyone’s time.

      I can imagine you sitting up late into the night, before an icon of Abetz, steaming and rattling with indignation about how some innocent, harmless, decent folks that just want to live and let live are ‘taking away your right(s)’.

      Your turn.

      • suzie

        December 7, 2018 at 11:34 am

        ‘Live and let live’ in women’s refuges, prisons, sports etc, can only be considered as ‘unnecessarily and vexatiously’ engaging in a politically motivated attack on biological women .. Ha!

      • Peter Black

        December 7, 2018 at 4:51 pm

        Leon Russo, you failed to comprehend what you read. You did read the above Article ?

        And Russell idolising Erich. Ha ha.

        This is not the religious right here on Tas Times. The mainstream media likes to feed the public that all opposition comes the RR, but here on TT it is mainly secular, with concern for Woman’s Rights.

        I’m looking forward to Russell’s reply. Ha, ha, ha.

      • Russell

        December 8, 2018 at 9:07 am

        I gave you Abraham Lincoln’s quote in his own words recorded in his own Government’s journals.

        It was to display Lincoln’s hypocrisy. He pretended to want to free slaves, but no way did he think they were equal to whities.

        All fact, not my opinion.

        Your turn.

        • Leon Russo

          December 8, 2018 at 2:36 pm

          Russell, Russell, Russell … no you didn’t, you gave a paraphrase, and here it is in your own words: “To paraphrase Abraham Lincoln, you can thwart Parliament some of the time, but not all of the time.”

          In one post above you call this a paraphrase. In this post you refer to it as a reference and call it “… Lincoln’s quote in his own words recorded in his own Government’s journals.”

          So which is it? A quote or a paraphrase? Either way, one of your arguments is dead.

          Further, Lincoln was of a calibre that might have had the courage to realise, admit, and remedy a moral failing. Can you?

          There were many days and tribulations before that civil war began.

          • Lola Moth

            December 8, 2018 at 8:35 pm

            Leon, please read the article. In the second last paragraph you will find “To paraphrase Abraham Lincoln, you can thwart Parliament some of the time, but not all of the time”. The article was written by Martine Delaney and Rodney Croome. If you have a problem with it I suggest you take it up with them.
            Russell was quoting directly from the article, not paraphrasing Abraham Lincoln.

          • Russell

            December 9, 2018 at 7:37 am

            Either you can’t read or you can’t comprehend, or both. Read it again, put John and Betty down, and get your little dictionary out.

            When do you use quotation “” marks, Leon? Answer: when you are quoting something or someone. My original entry had DOUBLE quotation marks around the Croome quotation (which it seems you didn’t even read) before the Moderator, who constantly incorrectly edits my posts, published it, which means that I was quoting a quote.

            I never “paraphrased” ANYTHING. Back to elementary school for you to relearn your grammar.

            The part of the Lincoln speech I QUOTED is just that. Whack this up your Google and eat your words “I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races …”

            Lincoln was just another racist whitie who didn’t believe blacks would, or should EVER, be regarded as equal to the likes of himself.

            Well, many more than “Four score and seven years” later, Obama became President and was, and still is, more of a man than Lincoln or any other white USA President could ever imagine to be .. and that you possibly could ever be with your high and mighty, know-all whitie ignorance and attitude.

            “That civil war” never really freed anyone did it? American blacks are still treated less than dogs, and still shot by white police if they’re seen out on the streets .. just for the hell of it. Same here in Australia.

          • Peter Black

            December 9, 2018 at 3:26 pm

            Leon Russo, you failed/fail to comprehend what you read.

            After pointing out to you in my Reply that you failed to read/comprehend, you still failed to comprehend, and launched into another attack on Russell for a quote given by Martine Delaney and Rodney Croome.

            Laughable, comical and hilarious, Leon. Take your pick, they all fit.

            Martine and Rodney must be really excited to have you on their side of this issue.

            Well, you gave 6 visiting adults a good laugh this morning, so for that .. thank you.

          • Russell

            December 14, 2018 at 7:39 am

            No apology, Leon? Not man enough to admit your mistakes?

  12. Tracey Wing

    December 6, 2018 at 10:05 pm

    Jeez Melissa,

    Anyone who admits to forming a view before they actually read the article doesn’t deserve to have their response read, either.

    • Melissa

      December 7, 2018 at 6:59 am

      Nice try, Tracey.

    • Russell

      December 7, 2018 at 7:23 am

      Please answer these questions from the quoted article points below politely and honestly if you can.

      “How did the Tasmanian Government thwart majority support for transgender law reform in the state’s Parliament?”

      What majority?

      “Why was the Government so antagonistic to this law reform that it was willing to risk its employees being dragged before the High Court rather than pass it?”

      Who is being antagonistic and truculent with High Court threats?

      “By outlining these events, we hope to prepare future advocates for governments that are also willing to subvert democracy.”

      If you mean removing sex from Birth Certificates, then that should be strictly a Federal matter. “Gender” is not recorded on Birth Certificates at all. You can’t remove something which isn’t there, can you?

      If you want true democracy then the Government should put the matter to a public plebiscite where ALL Tasmanians and/or Australians can have a vote, as with the gay marriage issue, don’t you agree?

      • Martine Delaney

        December 7, 2018 at 9:48 am

        Russell … what majority?

        Firstly, a majority of the Lower house had passed the Bill, and a majority of the Upper House had very clearly stated its intention of debating the Bill, amending if it so decided, and passing it in the last days of Parliament for the year.

        It was prevented from doing so by an extraordinary series of Parliamentary manoeuvring, orchestrated by the Premier’s Office and the Attorney-General. So extraordinary, the President of the Upper House, in his adjournment speech, said he’d never seen such games during his time in Parliament.

        When a majority of the Legislative Council states its desire to debate and pass legislation, but is prevented from doing so by Government-concocted chicanery, then the government is clearly thwarting the will of the Parliament.

        The reference to the High Court? Amendments, last year, to the Federal Marriage Act, required all States and Territories to remove the existing “forced-divorce” provisions from their Births, Deaths and Marriages legislation. Since the government decided to block this Bill, as set out in the article, Tasmania has failed to comply with Federal law. Should a married individual seek to alter their birth certificate at this point in time, then Federal law says they can .. but the Registrar’s office would be forced to refuse them because of the Tasmanian law regulating the Registrar’s function. Ergo, the State government, and its employees, could face a High Court challenge.

        The Hodgman government prefers this, rather than to allow passage of legislation a majority in both Houses wanted passed.

        Sorry, it’s not a Federal matter. Any legislative issues relating to the registration of births, Deaths and Marriages are based on State/Territory legislation. For the Federal government to take control of this area it would require States and Territories to agree to allow the Federal takeover of their power to legislate in this field. Otherwise, it’s not a Federal concern.

        No, you can’t remove gender from birth certificates. If you studied the amendments passed by the House of Assembly, you’d see that they include definitions and explanations. It actually makes sense, and you’d understand it’s not an attempt to create a genderless society, nor will it mean important data isn’t collected. Everything about a child’s birth would still be recorded and available to the ABS, demographers, epidemiologists and others whose contribution to society matters. It just wouldn’t automatically be on the birth certificate, same as your birth certificate no longer lists your race or your parents’ marital status.

        Final one: Russell, please. A plebiscite? So many reasons why not. We elect Parliamentarians to legislate, to debate and to pass laws. The marriage equality plebiscite was, in reality, a government completely abrogating its responsibilities within a Westminster parliamentary democracy. I thought it shameful and morally bereft. And that’s without considering the harm done to people by months of ugly public commentary about their relationships .. citizens who weren’t seeking anything other than equitable treatment by their society. Which, if people took the time to look beyond the fear campaigns, is all these amendments actually create for transgender and gender-diverse Tasmanians.

        Unless you’re advocating the removal of our parliamentary system Russell, you can’t seriously suggest a plebiscite, so no, I don’t agree. The last one was a sign of bad governance, as was the Hodgman government’s shenanigans in Parliament in the last sitting days.

        • Russell

          December 8, 2018 at 9:19 am

          Martine. There was NO majority of the population support for this, nor was it EVER sought.

          You, nor anyone else, has or should have the right to change your sex on your Birth Certificate. Why? Because your sex has NOT been changed.

          Federal Law ALWAYS trumps State Laws, and Common Law ALWAYS trumps Federal Law.

          Why shouldn’t sex (NOT gender) be recorded on a Birth Certificate?

          Are you afraid you will lose a plebiscite? If not, why not hold one just to make sure true democracy is seen to be done?

          There is no law saying a plebiscite cannot be held on the issue as evidenced by the one held for gay marriage. Your argument about “advocating the removal of our parliamentary system” is seriously flawed, misinformed and mischevious. In fact it is just plain wrong.

  13. suzTanner

    December 6, 2018 at 2:16 pm

    Who was it that nominated you both for the Human Rights Week Anti Free Speech Award?

    • Tracey Wing

      December 6, 2018 at 10:02 pm

      Who was it that nominated you for the prize winning swerf & terf award?

      • Russell

        December 7, 2018 at 7:25 am

        You do yourself and your cause no favours with your male-like bullying, Tracey.

      • Russell

        December 7, 2018 at 7:48 am

        What a pathetic and childish response, Tracey.

        If you cannot menstruate, give birth to a child and breast feed, etc .. then you are NOT a woman.

        • Leon Russo

          December 7, 2018 at 10:31 am

          So women over 55 aren’t women?

          My friend Helen was born without a uterus. Maybe you should call her and tell her she’s not a woman.

          Bigots really need to tighten up their arguments.

          • suzie

            December 7, 2018 at 11:46 am

            Do you support freedom of speech for women or not, Leon? Do you support Robin Banks’ apparent threat that giving women in this group a platform will result in damage to the reputation of an internationally recognised women’s ‘peace and freedom’ organisation?

            Matt Denholm wrote in The Australian on Wednesday:

            ‘However, in an email to the WILPF, obtained by The Australian, former state anti-discrimination commissioner Robin Banks — a key advocate of the transgender reforms — warns the organisation against giving the duo a platform.

            “The giving to this group a platform for their hateful views … will be seen by many in the LGBTIQ community as an endorsement of those views,” Ms Banks wrote to prominent WILPF members on Friday.”

            Do you endorse Robin Banks’ vilification and slander of these women?

            How do you define misogyny, Leon?

          • Barbara Mitchell

            December 7, 2018 at 11:42 pm

            I guess you think that’s a really smart riposte, taking down a description that applies to the vast majority of women .. with a couple of specious exceptions.

            For your information (let’s call it Human Biology 101, Leon) women over 55 are generally menopausal. This means they once menstruated, but have now ceased to do so through the natural process of ageing. Female persons under the age of 10 to 12 also do not menstruate, because the hormonal activity that brings about the menarche has not yet occurred.

            Also, some women cease menstruating when all or part of their reproductive anatomy is removed, usually because of disease or trauma.

            Very rarely, a female person is born without a uterus. I’m not sure your friend Helen would appreciate you using what can be a very distressing condition as a way to point score in an argument about what makes a woman.

            So, female persons who menstruate are biological women, female persons who have not yet begun to menstruate are biological women, female persons who have ceased to menstruate are biological women, female persons who have ceased to menstruate prematurely are biological women, and female persons who were born with an absent uterus are biological women.

            People born with male anatomy and male biology are NOT women.

            And, before you start on the intersex argument, genuine anomalies of chromosomal makeup and/or genital appearance are physiological issues present at birth. They do not support the argument that biological sex exists on a spectrum. They are diagnosed as Disorders or Differences of Sex Development, and it’s frankly insulting to those dealing with the lifelong struggles and complications associated with such conditions to co-opt them into support for people born with no chromosomal or genital anomalies who decide their perfectly normal, healthy bodies are somehow WRONG.

          • Tessa

            December 8, 2018 at 4:46 am

            Indeed, Barbara. It’s not that hard is it? There are many states of being female, but being male is not one of them!

          • Russell

            December 8, 2018 at 9:26 am

            Many women over 55 can still do all the above. All were born naturally anatomically capable of doing so. No man was ever naturally born to do so.

            Your friend was unfortunate and it was probably the result of some sort of chemical, dietary or physical trauma to her or her parents. How about you enlighten us?

            Bigots should provide proof to back their claims.

  14. Dave Parsell

    December 6, 2018 at 12:29 pm

    The same old people … always thinking that the world revolves around them.

    • Tracey Wing

      December 6, 2018 at 10:03 pm

      Projecting Dave? Yet again?

  15. Melissa

    December 6, 2018 at 8:48 am

    Jeez, what a tearjerker.

    As soon as I saw the heading picture I knew this was going to be yet another attempt at conflating Trans political aims with Gay rights. You both know that it is advantageous to confuse and muddy the waters with this tripe, and so you persist, to the detriment of all in the end.

    Martine, just admit you saw an opportunity to sneak this through and you took advantage. You didn’t read the room and stuffed things up for your own community. No amount of children’s tears was going to sell this rubbish.

    Perhaps you both should start thinking about experiences outside your own, and take other people’s (eg women’s) concerns seriously, rather than resorting to cheap pot-shots about trumpism and the like. Maybe your amendments just stink.

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