LGBTIQ+ groups urge Qld government to reform ‘outdated’ laws

Shannon fentiman is queensland attorney-general and will introduce transgender law reform
Image: Queensland Government

LGBTIQ+ organisations have urged the Queensland government to adopt all of the recommendations of a landmark report into the state’s anti-discrimination laws.

For over 12 months, the Queensland Human Rights Commission (QHRC) conducted a major review into the state’s Anti-Discrimination Act 1991.

The government tabled the QHRC’s final report to parliament last week. It recommends an overhaul of the laws to protect more Queenslanders, and makes 46 recommendations. LGBTIQ+ organisations have called for the government to implement all of them.

Among the recommendations are the repeal of existing provisions currently enabling religious schools to require employees to hide their sexuality or gender identity, or only express anti-LGBTIQ+ views, as a condition of their employment.

Equality Australia has likened those provisions to “don’t ask, don’t tell” clauses and said they should be wound back.

“Every person deserves to live with dignity and respect, no matter who they are, whom they love or the sex characteristics they were born with,” legal director Ghassan Kassisieh said.

“Even today, LGBTQ+ teachers in religious schools in Queensland may be forced to hide their sexuality or gender identity in order to keep their jobs.

“In delivering this landmark report, the Queensland Human Rights Commission has outlined a clear blueprint to the Queensland Government for fixing these outdated ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ provisions.”

Also recommended are the use of new inclusive attributes “sexual orientation”, “gender identity”, and also “sex characteristics” to protect Queenslanders with intersex variations.

Other changes include the introduction of a positive duty to require organisations and businesses to take reasonable and proportionate steps to prevent discrimination, before it happens.

LGBTIQ+ Queenslanders courageously shared their experiences

Queensland Council for LGBTI Health CEO Rebecca Reynolds told she’d collaborated with the Commission and multiple partners statewide on the review.

Reynolds thanked the community members who courageously shared their experiences of harassment and discrimination to help shape the review.

She said the report has now recommended the removal of some provisions that “let some of the most awful things to happen to our communities go unchecked”.

“The Anti-Discrimination Act is the backbone for the building of a system that could – if done well – establish and enshrine safety for our LGBTIQ+ communities in Queensland,” Reynolds said.

LGBTI Legal Service patron Matilda Alexander also urged the government to adopt the recommendations and make Queensland “a more fair and safe place.”

“We have lived for too long with outdated laws that discriminate and harm those of us that need protection from prejudice,” she said.

Queensland government is considering recommendations

Queensland Attorney-General Shannon Fentiman (pictured) said the government is now “carefully considering” the QHRC report and recommendations.

Fentiman said the report shows it is “essential our laws are protecting and promoting equality to the greatest extent possible.”

“It has been over 30 years since the Goss Government introduced Queensland’s Anti-Discrimination Act,” she said.

“At the time, the legislation was groundbreaking, but three decades on our society is a different place with different values.”

She also said the recommendations to strengthen protections for the LGBTIQ community were “important”.

“This report recommends reforms that will mean LGBTIQ+ students and staff feel safe in religious schools, while still protecting religious freedoms,” she said.

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Jordan Hirst
Jordan Hirst

Jordan Hirst is an experienced journalist and content creator with a career spanning over a decade at QNews. Since 2012, the Brisbane local has covered an enormous range of topics and subjects in-depth affecting the LGBTIQA+ community, both in Australia and overseas. Today, the Brisbane-based journalist covers everything from current affairs, politics and health to sport and entertainment.

QNews, Brisbane Gay, App, Gay App, LGBTI, LGBTI News, Gay Australia

1 Comment

  1. Peter Turner
    8 September 2022

    It’s hard to get excited about these changes to our Queensland Anti-discrimination Legislation when we hear of members of our Global Community being arrested, jailed and even executed because of who they love.
    We should be seeing sanctions and restriction of movement laws at the very least.
    We all know that Saudi and Iranian officials are heading to SOP venuesand saunas while in Western Countries.
    Pathetic hypocrites!

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