Supporters of Ben Jago mounted a ‘We stand with Ben’ protest outside the Tasmanian Coroner’s office on the weekend.
Following the death of Ben Jago’s partner in 2015, the Tasmanian Coroner wrongly denied him his lawful status as next-of-kin. Tasmania’s Supreme Court last week ruled Ben Jago could not bring a discrimination complaint against the coroner regarding that error. Current legislation gifts the coroner immunity from complaints about discrimination.
Tasmanian LGBTIQ advocates demanded that Premier Peter Gutwein intervene in the matter. Equality Tasmania spokesperson Rodney Croome pointed to an existing precedent. A similar situation occurred in 2016 in South Australia. Then, a same-sex partner visiting Australia was denied next-of-kin status in South Australia. On that occasion, then SA Premier Jay Weatherill acted decisively to correct the situation.
Rodney Croome said the Tasmanian government needed to amend the Coroner’s Act.
“LGBTIQ+ Tasmanians want the Government to apologise for what Ben has been through, redress for the trauma he has experienced, and amend the Coroner’s Act to ensure no-one else suffers this kind of mistreatment.”
We stand with Ben
Rodney said the action outside the coroner’s offices showed the community support for Ben Jago.
“Today’s action outside the Coroner’s Office showed the LGBTIQ+ community stands with Ben Jago. We refuse to accept the violation of our legal rights by any public official including the Coroner.”
Ben Jago spoke to express his gratitude to everyone who showed support since the announcement of the Supreme Court decision.
Rodney Croome also addressed the protest. He said that the Tasmanian Attorney-General, Elise Archer, contacted him to arrange a meeting with Mr Jago to discuss the case.
Tasmanian same-sex partners have had equal spousal rights, including next-of-kin rights, since 2003. In the 2017 marriage postal survey, Tasmania returned a Yes vote for marriage equality above the national average.
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