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Updated: May 7, 2021

Hate crimes of physical violence against LGBTIQ+ people are not covered by anti-discrimination legislation in the Tasmanian Anti-Discrimination Act 1998 (TADA). This means that the decisions of the Tasmanian Anti-Discrimination (TAD) Tribunal do not cover LGBTIQ+ hate crimes, which are only covered in the criminal code and restraint orders.

Hate crimes against LGBTIQ+ people require a different kind of ‘proof’ than those of the TAD and serve as an excuse for police and other legal entities to escape any provision of protection for LGBTQ+ people who are under attack, even with a restraint order in place. Usually the police, when visiting victims of LGBTIQ+ hate crime, will advise them to find a new home or place to live. So much for police liaison officers when you can find them; they are powerless too!

LGBTIQ+ hate crime victims have not received their TADA Tribunal compensation:

Brian Doran and Julian Punch (above); Peter Powers, (unknown) and Alex Devantier (below)

Under section 90 (a) & (b) of the Act, the Anti-Discrimination Commissioner is obligated to register the TAD Tribunal compensation decision with the Supreme Court free of charge, thereby allowing victims to take out a caveat on the land or possessions of hate-crime perpetrators in order to receive their due compensation. More often than not however, violent perpetrators leave home or transfer their property and/or possessions to partners or family.

Given the failure of hate crime perpetrators to pay compensation, it is possible, with the assistance of the TAD Commissioners, to file for contempt of court in the Supreme Court.

However the last two Commissioners (including the current Commissioner) have been reluctant to enact Section 80 of the Act or to initiate contempt proceedings, thus disadvantaging severely the seven or eight LGBTIQ+ people (specifically gay men) who have had the courage and tenacity to proceed from complaint to proceedings in the Tasmanian Anti–Discrimination Commission and Tribunal (AKA Court of Petty Sessions) to the Supreme Court.

Once in the Supreme Court, writs are undertaken by the sheriff’s office to seize and sell property through the bailiff or caveats taken out on the perpetrator’s property through the Tasmanian Land Titles Office. Sound complicated? Well, yes; but especially when the TAD Commissioner will not even speak to the victims, not to mention the Auditor General, who does not support same-sex marriage.

Anybody interested in studying this situation and the many ‘case studies’ existing and unresolved can contact Julian Punch

Julian Punch AM OTL

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