This week the National Human Rights Consultation Committee should release its report on whether Australia needs to better protect and promote human rights. The NSW Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby hopes the Committee identifies the need to provide greater protection and promotion of rights for the LGBT community.
A national Human Rights Act should be enacted to protect a broad range of rights recognised at international law, including the right to equality and the right to equal protection of the law without discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation; and the right of a child to be protected from all forms of discrimination on the basis of the sexual orientation of the child’s parents, legal guardians or family members.
Importantly the Act should require Parliament to consider how laws impact on human rights, require the Government to respect human rights in policy development, and provide effective remedies when rights have been violated.
Workplace discrimination against lesbians and gay men remains significant, which results in many modifying their behaviour in particular environments.
Discrimination against lesbian and gay students and teachers also remains a significant problem. It can result in students changing schools, performing below their academic ability, and potentially developing mental health problems including depression.
Children of same-sex families continue to suffer legal and social discrimination. This is evidenced by NSW adoption laws that prohibit adoption by same-sex couples, thereby denying children the same entitlements and protections other children enjoy.
Currently there is no comprehensive federal anti-discrimination legislation which covers discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. The GLRL recommends the Australian Government enacts legislation that addresses discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in addition to a Human Rights Act.
To view the GLRL’s own submission and full set of recommendations to the National Human Rights Consultation, visit www.glrl.org.au

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