Expect to hear more from the Victorian Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby in the coming months as it forges ahead with two campaigns.
The Lobby has Attorney-General Rob Hulls in its sights after his announcement religious bodies will be able to continue to discriminate against gay and lesbian people, on the back of the Inquiry into Exemptions and Exceptions under the Equal Opportunity Act.
Decrying the decision as “state-sanctioned discrimination”, the Lobby met last week to determine where gains can be made once the changes go through Parliament.
VGLRL co-convenor Hayley Conway said the fallout from Hulls’ announcement was great and many in the community are angered by what they say gives religious bodies a free pass to discriminate and further “entrench bigotry”.
“Obviously we’re incredibly disappointed and although there were some positive changes [announced] it was nowhere near good enough in brokering the varying positions from the two groups,” Conway said.
Conway said the Lobby is reviewing strategies to prevent the legislation passing and is seeking an audience with Hulls to discuss community concerns.
In the second campaign, anecdotal reports of an increase in homophobic violence in Brunswick have prompted the Lobby to establish a campaign working group. The group has met once, and will meet again on Oct 19.
Conway said an anti-violence campaign would feed into a broader push against homophobic violence in the lead-up to next year’s state election.
“It’s not just about police targeting people who perpetrate violence on the street… we need to step up the campaign and we want government to take more of a role,” Conway said.
In related news, the Lobby’s Annual General Meeting elected acting co-convenor Anthony Bendall to the permanent role, alongside Conway. Bendall is Victoria’s Deputy Privacy Commissioner.
The committee of management remains unchanged with treasurer Sally Goldner, secretary Joseph Crichton and general committee members Craig Galbraith-Evans, Sarah Rogan, Ellie Marin and Barbary Clarke.

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