Truth, not ideology, must guide courtrooms

The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Queensland, Helen Bowskill, delivered the seventh annual “Pride in Law Address” this month, during which she reinforced the use of “preferred pronouns” in courtrooms, calling it a matter of “respect”.

Far from being respectful, this move compels Australians to deny reality and coerces their speech.

This follows a recent practice direction made by South Australian Supreme Court Justice Chris Kourakis earlier this month which provided that legal practitioners may “consider the gender pronouns of a person and their preferred title … that includes, but is not limited to, counsel, parties, witnesses, interpreters, solicitors and entities”.

Chief Justice Bowskill praised the controversial South Australian decision:

“The idea behind the practice direction is to simply make it the ‘norm’ by having a box to tick on an appearance slip, for a person who wishes to do so to identify their preferred salutation or pronoun” she said.

The ruling from Chief Justice Kourakis attracted criticism from high profile author J.K. Rowling, who referred to it as a type of “state sanctioned abuse”:

“Asking a woman to refer to her male rapist or violent assaulter as ‘she’ in court is a form of state-sanctioned abuse,” she said.

“Female victims of male violence are further traumatised by being forced to speak a lie.”

Every person appearing before a court of law in Australia has a right to be heard by a judge who is impartial and independent. Courts must be guided by truth, and should be seen to be free of extreme ideology and influences that could compromise their impartiality.

Judicial activism forces Australians to deny reality and violate their consciences. A courtroom that affirms controversial gender ideology will necessarily compel officers of the court and parties to use language that goes against their own consciences and the truth.

There are alternative ways to be respectful without compelling speech or compromising the truth.

HRLA client Jillian Spencer, a respected child psychiatrist with over 20 years’ experience as a medical practitioner, is arguing for her right not to be compelled against her conscience to accept gender ideology in her workplace.

As Dr Spencer has discovered, living according to your own conscience is becoming more difficult in a regulated profession. Doctors and other professionals now have their very careers at stake when they speak up for what they believe.

Unfortunately, many Australians are encountering this issue as workplaces increasingly impose pronouns and terminology that align with gender ideology. 

On issues of conscience a person’s speech should not be coerced, especially in a court of law.

HRLA provides advice to those Australians who face pressure to conform with current ideological narratives in violation of their consciences and their religious beliefs.