Tasmanian Anti-Discrimination board accused of law breaking

The Tasmanian Anti-Discrimination Commission has been accused of breaking a state privacy law while it dealt with a complaint against Liberal Senator Claire Chandler (pictured).

The suggestion that laws have been broken has been raised by The Australian newspaper.

The Commission recently dealt with a complaint filed against Senator Chandler over comments she had made on the issue of transgender women participating in sport. The complaint also covered an email exchange with a constituent.

The senator spoke about the complaint in the media on several occasion and shared her concern about the commissions powers and the legislation that allowed the complaint to be recognised. When the commission started to receive harshly worded correspondence from people who supported the senator’s stance they warned Senator Chandler that there were laws against inciting offensive correspondence. The commission allegedly forwarded some of the messages they had received to the senator.

Chandler in response suggested she may report the commission to the federal Senate Privileges Committee, suggesting that the Commission was interfering with her work as a member of parliament.  The complaint was ultimately withdrawn when Senator Chandler refused to sign a confidentiality agreement before beginning a conciliation process.

The Australian newspaper has now published an exclusive report citing a privacy expert who suggests the commission may have broken privacy laws when it forwarded correspondence to Senator Chandler’s office.

Privacy law expert Professor Barbara McDonald said she believed the commission’s actions were “not appropriate” and appeared to constitute “improper disclosure” of personal information. She said equal Opportunity Tasmania appeared to have breached Tasmania’s Personal ­Information Protection Act, as well as common law protections.

The Tasmanian Ombudsman Richard Connock told The Australian that he could only investigate the matter if a complaint was made, but none had been made to date. Equal Opportunity Tasmania has declined to comment on the matter citing confidentiality. Senator Chandler has in turn called on the body to contact all the people whose letters were forwarded to her office and inform them that their privacy was breached.

Senator Chandler says anti-discrimination laws could soon affect elections and democracy

The senator has written about her view that the Tasmanian anti-discrimination laws need to be changed in the latest edition of Quadrant Online. In an opinion piece Senator Chandler says anti-discrimination laws are used as weapons.

“The recent anti-discrimination complaint against me — for saying that women’s sports, changerooms and toilets are designed for females and should remain that way — was a perfect representation of how the Left have weaponised discrimination law, empowered bureaucrats to police ‘wrongthink’, and promoted a dangerous mantra that ‘words are violence’ and debate is ‘hate speech’.” Senator Chandler said.

The Senator says “woke activists” are using the laws to compel people to believe things which are not true, and those who do not comply are the subjects of multi-pronged attacked and vile online abuse.  Senator Chandler says the use of anti-discrimination laws is limiting free speech and damaging democracy.

“Topics like who can compete in women’s sport, who can access women’s health services and women’s prisons, whether it’s medically and legally appropriate to give children drugs to stop them going through puberty on the basis of their gender dysphoria are all important public policy matters. Yet according to activists and bureaucrats, any discussion of these issues which doesn’t fully accord with their radical views should be shut down.” Senator Chandler said.

The Tasmanian senator said she feared that in the future elections would be compromised.

“With every day, Australians, high-profile figures and elected representatives all being hauled before courts and tribunals to answer for the crime of offending someone, it’s only a matter of time before this issue reaches the flashpoint of an unelected bureaucrat attempting to intervene in an election campaign by ruling that one side’s position simply can’t be expressed. Given the past behaviour of these anti-discrimination and human rights commissions, I think we can safely predict it won’t be Labor or Greens candidates who are told their views are too ‘offensive’ to express to voters.”

OIP Staff

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