HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSIONER CALLS FOR END TO STATE SANCTIONED LGBTI DISCRIMINATION


Australian Human Rights Commissioner Tim Wilson has called for the ending of State sanctioned discrimination against LGBTI people.

Noting that 70% of LGBTI people surveyed had been subject to vilification and bullying because of their sexuality, and that LGBTI people wanted things as basic as being able to go out holding hands, Commissioner Wilson, an Abbott Government appointee, has provided a comprehensive checklist of change to Commonwealth, state and territory laws discriminating against LGBTI Australians.

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“The legacy of State-sanctioned discrimination is significant in its legitimisation of institutional and interpersonal discrimination across society. Governments have had a leading role in creating this culture, and so must also take a lead role in undoing it,” Commissioner Wilson said.

Aside from the obvious changes recommended, such as equal marriage, were many others including in Queensland an equal age of consent, to 16, removal of adoption discrimination and abolition of the gay panic defence and that Queensland follow through on expungement of homosexual convictions.

He also recommended alternative options be identified to the requirement of a Family Court order for access to hormone treatment for trans children under the age of 18, getting rid of the odious requirement for couples to get divorced in order for a trans person to have the transition recognised in official documentation, and that all states and territories legislate to require that a self-identified legal declaration, such as a statutory declaration, is sufficient proof to change a person’s gender for the purposes of government records and proof of identity documentation.

Commissioner Wilson recommended that discrimination in surrogacy laws (WA and SA) also be ended. There is no discrimination in surrogacy laws in Queensland.

He also called for trans prisoners and patients be properly recognised and respected, including Medicare rebates for treatment.

Stephen Page is an accredited family law specialist and writes courtesy of Harrington Family Law. He is LGBTIQ Activist of the Year.