A NEW Tasmanian law making gender optional on birth certificates still has to pass scrutiny of the state’s lower house and be considered by the state’s independent law reform institute.
Amendments to the controversial bill were finalised after three-days of upper house debate concluded on April 4.
If passed, Tasmania would become the first Australian jurisdiction with a gender law that would allow 16-year-olds to change their registered gender via a statutory declaration without permission of their parents.
It would also remove the requirement for transgender people to have sexual reassignment surgery in order to have their new gender recognised.
The state government has labelled the legislation as “rushed through”, “deeply flawed” and lacking in consultation.
“(We) have strong concerns about the unintended legal consequences of the amendments,” Liberal Member of the Legislative Council Leonie Hiscutt said.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison (pictured) last year labelled the push to remove gender from birth certificates as “ridiculous”, while the Australian Christian Lobby has said the removal of gender on birth certificates was ignoring biological truths.
The Tasmanian bill was introduced by the Liberal Government to ensure state marriage laws were in line with federal marriage laws, but opposition parties added contentious amendments.
Tasmanian Coalition for Kids spokesman Ben Smith said the changes had been “rushed” and went against the advice of senior figures including the Solicitor-General and the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages.
“On top of that the Legislative Council has ignored the will of the 70 per cent plus of the Tasmanian people who we know from publicly released polling are against these changes,” he said.
Former political advisor, now Sky News commentator, Peta Credlin, described the intent of the Tasmanian law as “gender madness gone too far”.
“Following changes to the law, Jack could become Jill quite literally overnight, with no medical assessments, no psychological test or indeed without gender reassignment surgery, just the mere say-so of any child over 16 years,” Ms Credlin wrote in the Daily Telegraph.
“Such is the reach of new legislation designed to remove anomalies for the one per cent of transgender people, it has been hijacked to go so much further by allowing ‘at-whim’ changes to gender, as well as making gender optional on birth certificates.
“And where Tasmania has gone, you can bet other states will follow.”
The majority of Australian states and territories already permit birth certificates that record an individual’s sex as something other than male or female.
South Australia, the ACT, NSW and the Northern Territory all provide a range of gender-neutral options for recording a person’s sex on their birth certificate, including non-binary, indeterminate, intersex, other and unknown.
In April 2018, Queensland launched a review that would consider introducing similar measures.
“With the introduction of marriage equality in December 2017 it is critical that we also ensure registration services appropriately reflect the nature of Queensland’s same-sex families,” Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath, wrote in the initial review discussion paper.