Equality Tasmania seeks assurances on conversion therapy ban

Equality Tasmania is seeking assurances from the Rockliff Liberal government that they will remain committed to bringing in a ban on conversion therapy after the shock resignation of Attorney General Elise Archer.

Equality Tasmania wants an assurance from Premier Jeremy Rockliff and acting Attorney-General, Michael Ferguson, that a ban on conversion practices will still be introduced by the end of the year.

Archer, who was working on the legislation, announced her immediate resignation from parliament today following allegations of workplace bullying. Premier Jeremy Rockliff called a snap media conference this afternoon to announce he’d demanded the Attorney General’s resignation.

Equality Tasmania spokesperson, Rodney Croome, said the government needed to give assurances to the Tasmanian community that the work would be delivered as promised.

“We will write to the Premier and the acting Attorney-General asking for their assurance that the Government’s commitment to a conversion ban by the end of 2023 remains in place.”

“It has been a year and a half since the Tasmanian Law Reform Institute released its report calling for a conversion ban and the Premier committed to the reform.”

“Vulnerable LGBTIQA+ Tasmanians continue to be subject to the torture of conversion practices and the longer the State Government delays the more damage will be done.”

Croome said other important reforrms being pursued by Ms Archer should also not be delayed.

They include reforms to legislation expunging convictions under the state’s former laws against homosexuality and cross-dressing, and reforms to the Sentencing Act allowing stronger penalties for hate-motivated crime against LGBTIQA+ people.

Leaked WhatsApp messages revealed in The Australian newspaper appear to show Archer criticising the Premier and his predecessor Peter Gutwein, as well as other members of the government and her staff.

“Those remarks were unacceptable by any standard and unequivocally fall short of expectations for a minister of the Crown.” Rockliff told the media.

“I won’t stand for a culture of belittling and a culture whereby people are not valued and respected for the work that they do and indeed for the people they are,” he said.

His government will now slip further into minority only holding 10 of the 25 seats in the state’s House of Assembly. Tasmania is the only state to have a liberal government, and Archer was the most senior Liberal office holder in Australia.

The premier is now seeking advice on whether parliament can be prorogued to avoid a no confidence motion being moved by Labor.

Elise Archer has commented on the situation saying “It is clear to me that the leadership of the Liberal Party continues to fail to support ambitious women.”

“It takes incredible strength and resilience to be a woman in a senior government role and to strive to be treated the same as male colleagues, despite many years of dedicated, hardworking service.”

Archer has not commented on the content of the messages which have been attributed to her.

OIP Staff

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