Advocates welcome Labor policy platform – but cautiously


labor platform

LGBTIQA+ lobby group Just-Equal welcomes improvements to the Labor platform on LGBTIQA+ rights — but cautiously. Just-Equal President Brian Greig says Labor must go much further.

Draft Labor Platform

Labor distributed a draft platform to delegates last week ahead of the party’s 49th National Conference. The conference takes place at the Brisbane Convention Centre from Thursday 17 to Saturday 19 August.

The draft platform restores a previously omitted commitment to “work to strengthen laws against discrimination, vilification and harassment on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or sex characteristics”.

The draft Labor platform also contains welcome news on the Census.

“Labor believes that LGBTIQ+ Australians should be counted as part of the national census.”

The document nominates the 2026 census as starting point to gather relevant data.

Just-Equal Australia

Just-Equal Australia welcomed the strengthening of the platform after it was gutted of LGBTIQA+ content in 2019.

An internal review suggested “too much focus” on LGBTIQA+ issues cost votes in western Sydney at the 2019 election.

Consequently, when Anthony Albanese became leader, he removed the Equality portfolio from his Shadow Ministry.

President for Just Equal, Brian Greig, rejected those fears as groundless.

“The US Democrats have far more comprehensive LGBTIQA+ policies and are never afraid to support the LGBTIQA+ community.

The current proposals

“The proposed improvements to Labor’s platform are positive steps forward, including national anti-vilification laws and counting LGBTIQA+ people in the next census.

“However, the proposed changes fall short of the reforms required.

“This includes lifting the ban on blood donation, appointing an LGBTIQA+ Commissioner to the Australian Human Rights Commission, protecting LGBTIQA+ teachers and students in faith schools and employees in faith-based services, such as aged care homes.”

Brian said Anthony Albanese was clear about ending discrimination against students in faith schools. However, he was less clear about teachers — and silent on faith-based service employees.

“Labor has also failed to rule out supporting any Religious Discrimination Bill that weakens or undermines existing state and federal protections for LGBTIQA+ people.

“And it remains concerning that despite the rising tide of hateful fear-mongering against trans and gender diverse people, there has been silence from the Prime Minister and Government in response.

“It was promising to see Mr Albanese march across Sydney Harbour Bridge in support of LGBTIQA+ equality during World Pride. But his government has yet to match this symbolism with practical legislation.

Brian Greig acknowledged recent changes to the Fair Work Act advocated by Just-Equal, which now aligns the FWA with the Sex Discrimination Act.

“This allows people who are transgender and intersex to lodge complaints of employment-based discrimination directly with the Fair Work Commission just like everyone else.”

Just Equal said it will continue to lobby for a much wider range of federal reforms.

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For the latest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) news in Australia, visit qnews.com.au. Check out our latest magazines or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

Destiny Rogers

Destiny Rogers embarked on her career in the media industry immediately after high school, initially joining Mirror News, which later evolved into News Ltd. She fondly recalls editing Ian Byford's 'Passing Glances: A History of Gay Cairns' as one of her most fulfilling projects. Additionally, Destiny co-researched and co-wrote 'The Queen's Ball', chronicling the history of the world's longest-running continuous queer event. Her investigative work on the history of Australia's COON Cheese and Edward Coon culminated in the publication 'COON: More Holes than Swiss Cheese', a collaborative effort with Dr. Stephen Hagan. Destiny's journey at QNews began as a feature writer, and she was subsequently elevated to the role of Managing Editor of QNews Magazine in 2018. However, in July 2022, she decided to resign from this role to refocus on research and feature writing. For contact, please reach out at destinyr@qnews.com.au.

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