The Australian Christian Lobby today warned that the radical amendments which passed Tasmania’s lower house last night will mean freedom of speech is now all but dead.
ACL’s state director Mark Brown said, “The changes pushed by Labor and the Greens mean that gender will become opt-in for all Tasmanian’s - a move which 95% of 44,000 respondents to a news poll did not agree with.”
“There has been no community consultation and these amendments have been rammed through without any consideration of the unintended consequences they may have,” commented Mr Brown.
One of the amendments pushed by Labor and the Greens changes the definition of gender identity in the Anti-Discrimination Act to include gender expression which means, “...any personal physical expression, appearance (whether by way of medical intervention or not), speech, mannerisms, behavioural patterns, names and personal references that manifest or express gender or gender identity.”
Managing director of the ACL Martyn Iles said, “Prohibiting speech that ‘offends’ or ‘insults’ based on gender expression opens a Pandora's box. Gender expression includes any behaviour whatsoever if justified by reference to one of the infinite genders people have invented. It is unenforceable madness enshrined in law, which will be abused constantly.”
“Failing to use someone’s preferred pronouns will also be hate speech if these laws pass the upper house.”
“There was an opportunity for Parliament to repeal the section 17 hate speech law last year, but they baulked at the idea because the politics seemed too difficult at the time. Now we see it being weaponised even further.”
“We are now in a position where laws preventing and removing democratic freedoms are being pushed through parliaments across the country while legislation to protect religious freedom has stagnated.”
“This shows the increasing and compounding cost associated with the government delaying action on religious freedom in Australia,” said Mr Iles.