Media Release

Anti-Discrimination Commission action against Senator Claire Chandler gags free speech

The anti-discrimination system in Tasmania is a wrecking-ball to free speech, as a farcical situation surrounding Tasmanian Senator Claire Chandler has demonstrated. The Senator’s opinion piece for the Hobart Mercury, advocating that women and girls’ sport should only be for the female sex, now sees her effectively gagged and dragged before an anti-discrimination tribunal.

“The Anti-Discrimination Commission is acting beyond power, and in a way that threatens the functioning of our democracy,” ACL Tasmanian Director Christopher Brohier said today. “The Commission’s action against the Senator effectively silences all Tasmanians who wish to speak the truth on these issues.

“The Australian Constitution contains an implied freedom for all Australians to engage in political communication. This is essential for the functioning of our democracy. That freedom bars all governments from gagging Australians speaking truthfully in public.

 “The ACL has consistently called for the repeal or restriction of such gag laws in Tasmania and Australia. Senator Claire Chandler’s case shows why. Laws should be repealed or ruled unconstitutional if they attack an MP for discussing an issue of great concern to her constituents. As Senator Chandler has said, this case is an attack not only on the freedom of speech but an attack on truth.”

ACL called on the Anti-Discrimination Commissioner to reject the complaint and for the Tasmanian Parliament to repeal these gag laws.


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