HER boots and tights tell me she loves purple, but Tasmanian politician and former midwife Ruth Forrest, 57, is no shrinking violet. The Murchison MLC could not have chosen a more fitting colour to wear when we meet to talk about an honour that would make any good feminist proud.
A member of the state’s Legislative Council since 2005, Forrest is the only Tasmanian finalist in the 2019 Australian Financial Review 100 Women of Influence Awards.
Nominated by Speaker Sue Hickey in the public affairs category, Forrest has been recognised for her recent contributions to debate and reform around marriage equality and gender law and her advocacy in a host of women’s issues over decades.
Tasmanian discrimination law is among the most discussed, debated and scrutinised of any legislation passed in the State. Most recently in 2017 additional religious exemptions were rejected because they risked fundamentally diminishing the protections available under the existing Act.
The right to free speech is important to all Australians. However, this right is not an unmitigated freedom to say whatever you want. There are established boundaries and social standards. The right to free speech has an inherent obligation to moderate our own contributions. With rights comes responsibilities and an obligation to not harm.