What will the election mean for LGBTIQA+ Australians?


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Veteran activist Rodney Croome looks at likely outcomes for LGBTIQA+ Australians in the event of a Coalition, Labor or minority government.

It’s not hard to predict what each of the possible election outcomes will mean for LGBTIQA+ people.

Here’s what I foresee when I consider the parties’ behaviour over the last three years, together with their election commitments.

Liberal/National Coalition

If the Coalition wins a majority it will launch attacks on LGBTIQA+ equality worse than we have already seen.

It will feel it has a mandate to roll back existing discrimination protections in the name of ‘religious freedom’ and ‘women’s safety’.

It will bring back the Religious Discrimination Bill combining all its worst features from previous iterations.

The coalition will also probably support the misleadingly-named ‘Save Women’s Sport Bill’. That will allow the exclusion of trans women, gender diverse and intersex people from all sports regardless of their age.

It may also seek to restrict LGBTIQA+ school inclusion programs along the lines of the US ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bills.

On the plus side, the Coalition has committed funds to LGBTIQA+ mental health funding.

Labor

If Labor wins a majority, I fear it will once again revert to the long-term ALP doctrine of ‘one queer reform per term’.

Labor strategists will feel the Party’s small-target, do-little approach to LGBTIQA+ equality has won it government and that it should stick to this policy to keep government.

Labor might protect trans and intersex people from workplace discrimination in the Fair Work Act.

Alternatively, it might protect LGBT+ kids from discrimination in faith-based schools.

Unfortunately, it seems unlikely Labor would include teachers given how ambivalent it is on that issue.

Labor has promised to spend some money on LGBTIQA+ health and may well establish LGBTIQA+ liaison groups in some government departments.

But don’t expect an Albanese Government to be much like the Andrews’ Government in Victoria.

Federal Labor feels too constrained by the false perception that LGBTIQA+ equality costs votes in Western Sydney and regional Queensland.

I had previously hoped marriage equality would open the door to many overdue reforms. But I have resigned myself to the fact that won’t happen at a federal level for quite some time.

The backlash to marriage equality is still too strong.

Labor has no big LGBTIQA+ law reform agenda ready to be unveiled if it wins.

Minority government

A minority government may offer more hope.

Progressive cross-benchers might restrain the worst impulses of a minority Coalition Government or prompt a Labor Government to act on a wider range of issues.

The obvious precedent is the minority Gillard / Rudd Labor government.

It didn’t achieve marriage equality but it did deliver discrimination protections for LGBTIQ+ people, transgender recognition on passports, an LGBTIQ+ aged care strategy and the Safe Schools program.

Whatever the result of the election, our community must be nimble enough to respond quickly to defend what equality we have and push for greater equality if we can.

Rodney Croome is a national spokesperson for Just.Equal Australia. Check out the results from Just.Equal Australia’s 2022 LGBTIQA+ Election Priorities survey.

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3 Comments

  1. Alley Bee
    17 May 2022
    Reply

    Seriously Rodney Croome. In a two party preferred government it is Labor which is most likely to support the LGBTIQ+ community.
    Labor has openly queer candidates.
    Seems you have shifted your allegiance from the conservative right to supporting unknown independents. That’s ok but be honest

    • Rodney Croome
      20 May 2022
      Reply

      Ally, my only allegiance is to the LGBTIQA+ community. It’s important people for us to be under no illusion. Yes, Labor will be better than the Coalition. But we have to be prepared to fight for reforms if Labor wins. They won’t be offered to us on a silver platter. Labor has openly queer candidates but so does the Coalition. Clearly, that’s not enough. I’ve never supported the conservative right, independents or any particular party or faction.

  2. Peter Turner
    19 May 2022
    Reply

    Our community will always do better under a Labor government than a re-elected Morriscum shit show.

    Maybe if the Greens hold the balance of power we will see a more progressive agenda.

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