Will there legally be no difference?
FamilyVoice Australia research officer Ros Phillips is among those deeply concerned about new bills in the SA and Victorian parliaments that would trivialise what it means to be male or female.
On 4 August, SA Premier Jay Weatherill personally introduced a bill in the House of Assembly to allow adults and children to change the sex recorded on their birth certificate – merely after undergoing ‘counselling’.
A similar bill has been introduced in the Victorian parliament, and promoted by the Anti-Discrimination Commissioner in Tasmania, while there are calls for similar legislation in Queensland.
“The Births, Deaths and Marriages (Gender Identity) Bill 2016 would not require hormone treatment or surgery,” Ros Phillips said. “Children under 16 would be deemed to have the capacity to apply to change their sex – and in these cases, the Court would not be bound by the rules of evidence.
“The bill would allow people to ‘change’ their sex more than once. The Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages would determine how often the ‘changes’ could occur.”
In Tasmania, a similar proposal – that would allow people to “change” sex as often as once a year – has angered the feminist Women’s Liberation Front (The Australian, 26/8/16). Spokeswoman Tessa Anne said it would “legally erase the existence of female people, and undermine protections for women under anti-discrimination law”.
“On this occasion, the Women’s Liberation Front is absolutely right,” Ros Phillips said. “The legislation could, among other things, deny women’s right to privacy in public toilets and change rooms. I urge all Australian parliaments not to go down this dangerous path.”
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