LGBTI youth, government engagement, and marriage equality will be on their agenda in the lead up to this year’s federal election, theVictorian and New South Wales gay and lesbian rights lobbies said.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull recently announced that Australians will head to the polls for a federal election on July 2.

This prompted both the Victorian Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby (VGLRL) and the New South Wales Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby (NSW GLRL) to outline a joint campaign on LGBTI rights in the lead up to the election.

In light of the recent debate around Safe Schools and its program for students, the rights of queer youth will be championed heavily by the lobbies.

VGLRL co-convenor Sean Mulcahy said it’s critical that all political parties are committed to helping sex and gender diverse students in primary and high school.

“The mental health and wellbeing of LGBTI young people should not be political football,” he said.

“It is essential that all parties have a commitment to ending homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia in our schools.

“This is particularly important for young people in rural and regional Australia who may not have easy access to support services outside of school.”

Following in the footsteps of the appointment of Rowena Allen as Victoria’s first gender and sexuality commissioner, Mulcahy said the lobbies also hope the federal government appoints a national commissioner for LGBTI rights.

“Victoria’s gender and sexuality commissioner is an example of what can be achieved when a focus is given to LGBTI inclusion across all areas of government and society,” he said.

“It also provides an important voice within government machinery to advocate for change.”

The lobbies also plan to campaign for marriage equality, and against the potential plebiscite the government has put aside $160 million in the 2016/17 budget for.

“70 per cent of LGBTI Australians do not support a national vote on marriage equality,” NSW GLRL co-convenor Chris Pycroft said.

“It is unnecessary, costly, and potentially harmful to young or vulnerable LGBTI people and their families.”

Mulcahy shared these sentiments.

“We are calling on pollies to call an end to this tedious plebiscite debate and legislate so that all Australians can have the freedom to marry,” he said.

“I get the strong sense that everyday Australians are frustrated that this is taking so long.”

In the lead up to the election both lobbies also intend to campaign for the mental health of LGBTI people, and against discrimination and harassment.

 

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