The NSW Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby has called on the Rudd Government to introduce anti-discrimination laws.

The call comes after the Government today revealed it would not be implementing a  Human Rights Act.

Lobby convenor Kellie McDonald said although the organisation was encouraged by the Government’s proposal to instead harmonise current anti-discrimination legislation, it would urge the Government to implement comprehensive federal legislation to ensure individuals are given the greatest protection against discrimination on the basis of sexuality and gender identity.

“Australia currently has federal legislation which protects against discrimination on the grounds of sex, race, disability and age,” McDonald said.

“However, sexual preference or gender identity remains a notable absence.”

Lobby policy and development co-ordinator Senthorun Raj, said the Government, in its refusal to implement a Human Rights Act, should reform Federal anti-discrimination law.

“While improving the scrutiny of laws for human rights compliance and introducing human rights education is promising, it is not a substitute for rights protection,” he said.

“This would be an essential step forward in endorsing our international obligations under Article 26 of the UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights that entitles all people to equality and anti-discrimination protection in the law”.

McDonald said the Government, honour its commitment of a ‘fair go for all’, must introduce legislation that protects people on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

“The Government needs to ensure any reforms to existing anti-discrimination laws offer individuals the highest level of protection against sexuality and gender identity discrimination, as well as providing access to remedies if these anti-discrimination provisions have been breached,” she said.

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