Children's Commissioner Warns on Gender Law

Tasmania’s Children’s Commissioner has warned that the interests of children need to be considered more closely ahead of radical transgender reforms being championed by Labor and the Greens that have already passed Tasmania’s lower house.

The Australian Reports:

“Leanne McLean has written to members of the state’s upper house, expressing concern about aspects of the controversial reforms that make it easier for people, including children, to have their official sex or gender changed…

 “In my opinion, consideration should be given to including a requirement in the bill that a child or young person undergo appropriate counselling as a precondition to an application to remove or change sex or gender,” she wrote to Legislative Councillors…

In her letter to MLCs ahead of their vote on the reforms next month, Ms McLean also expressed concern that the changes remove the need for the “best interests” of the child to be considered before a child’s official sex or gender is changed.

“We must maintain a focus on the fundamental right of children and young people to have their best interests assessed and taken into account as a primary consideration in all actions and decisions that concern them,” she said.

“I am therefore concerned that the bill removes consideration of ‘best interests’ in applications to change a child’s name.”

Despite her common sense approach, the Commissioner should expect a call from the angry folk at Hobart City Council! Last weekend the Council warned a women’s rights group they were being “investigated” for distributing material that respectfully questions the legislation’s impact on women and children.

The Council issued a public apology to anyone offended by the distribution of the material at the Salamanca markets on Sunday by members of Women Speak Tasmania and said they were investigating the matter.

From The Australian:

“The pamphlet, entitled “Don’t De-Sex Tasmania”, said the group’s members “recognise and respect the human dignity of all people, including those who identify as transgender, intersex or gender diverse”.

However, it urged that “the dignity of female people and children … also be properly considered” and outlined concerns about legislation passed by the state’s lower house late last year… Women Speak Tasmania argues the changes could undermine the sanctity and safety of female-only services.”

Women Speak Tasmania has rightly pointed out that the Council’s action are an attack on freedom of speech and have demanded an apology from Council for their public actions.

Surely proponents of the legislation should stop and think twice when the rights of women and children are being either ignored or subjugated in order to impose new transgender rights? 

Advance Australia opposes this sort of sweeping transgender law reform.  Every human being has rights and responsibilities under the law and special carve outs on the basis of gender or sexuality are unnecessary, costly and - as we are finding out – can have far-reaching consequences.

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