I have learnt this afternoon via the media that the anti-discrimination complaint against me has been dropped by the complainant. I am both relieved at this outcome and furious at the abuse of process which has occurred.
If I had not refused to sign a confidentiality agreement, I would be currently sitting in a conciliation conference on the basis of a spurious complaint which the Commissioner had no legal authority to accept.
The withdrawal of the complaint conveniently saves the Commissioner from addressing my response, which clearly demonstrates that she had no authority to accept the complaint and direct me to a mandatory conciliation conference. One of the most glaring errors was the Commissioner purporting that the complaint submitted to EOT on 18 July was inclusive of an email not sent until 20 July.
This process continues a pattern of behaviour by Equal Opportunity Tasmania in directing conciliation on complaints which have no substance and are only intended to compel the respondent to attend conciliation. It’s clear that the Anti-Discrimination Act needs to be substantially amended to prevent these tactics being used in the case of frivolous complaints and in regards to statements made as part of normal political debate and discussion.
The withdrawal of the complaint also leaves the broader community in legal limbo around what statements members of the public can make about sex-based rights. Having erroneously accepted this complaint, there is an onus on the Commissioner to clarify that Tasmanians are able to discuss the reality of biological sex and advocate for sex-based rights. If this does not occur, there will continue to be a chilling effect on free speech in Tasmania.
The reason I have been advocating for fairness and safety in women’s sport, and for the retention of female-only spaces and services, is because Tasmanians and Australians of all political persuasions and backgrounds have asked me to do so. My advocacy is simply a defence of women’s rights and the common sense position that biological sex is and will always remain relevant to certain parts of public policy and life.