Under new leadership, the Victorian Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby (VGLRL) will push for stronger federal protection and will target vilification at state and federal levels.

New VGLRL convenor Anna Brown (pictured) has been working with the committee to create a strong agenda.

Brown told the Star Observer she was excited to lead the lobby this year despite there being no male co-convenor.

“I’m looking forward to a year where we have some energy and reinvigoration of the lobby and expand its base of activity,” she said.

“We’ve had a strategic planning day and settled in some priority issues this year.”

The key issues for 2012 were lobbying for stronger federal anti-discrimination laws, targeting LGBT vilification, creating LGBT-friendlier workplaces, and working towards developing a state peak body.

“We need coverage at federal level to protect LGBTI community from discrimination,” Brown said.

The federal Government is working on draft legislation that will consolidate anti-discrimination laws into a single law. With bipartisan support, LGBT people will also be protected by the new nationwide law.

“We need to keep the pressure on and make sure federal Parliament delivers the best outcome for our community,” Brown said.

States and territories, along with the Commonwealth, already have anti-discrimination laws in place, however, Brown said there was room for improvement.

“The simple answer is, I think the more protection, the better,” she said.

“The fact that we’re reforming the Commonwealth laws now is a chance to push to hopefully achieve an even greater level of protection.”

Brown said reforms for systemic discrimination were also needed as well as greater access to justice when it came to discrimination complaints.

“Most people wouldn’t be aware but if you have suffered discrimination, the process of taking forward a complaint under equal opportunity laws is very burdensome and it’s a big disincentive and we don’t actually get many cases coming through the courts for that reason,” she said.

The VGLRL is seeking a male co-convenor to help lead the organisation with Brown.

She said the lobby was also examining fundraising options, including a formal dinner to celebrate achievements in the LGBTI community. She urged anyone interested in the idea to contact the VGLRL.

INFO: www.vglrl.org.au

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