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Priorities for an election year
With the date for the 2013 election now known (September 14), I think it’s time we thought about what this election should be about.
After the announcement of the date, Australian Marriage Equality made clear what many people think, marriage should be a top priority this year.
“We intend to make marriage equality a central issue in the campaign. With a focus on key electorates, there will be important community events and a national survey of all candidates,” AME said.
It’s certain that marriage equality will be on the national agenda. But I think there are so many important issues that we should be focusing on, most of which I think are more important than marriage equality.
Given that AME, and other marriage advocates are going to have a pretty loud voice, I’m going to aim to start some discussion on the other issues that I think are more important.
To start, there’s high rates of suicide in queer communities, the need for comprehensive sex-ed in our schools, and religious organisations’ ability to discriminate against queer people – including firing staff because of their sexuality, blocking queer students from enrolling in their schools, or stopping queer couples from going to school formals together.
There’s the immense range of gender discrimination still on our books; discrimination that hurts trans and intersex people every day. There’s also the economic disparities and extremely high rate of unemployment for many in the queer community, in particular for trans people.
Queerphobic violence and bullying, particularly for young members of our community is still an issue. It is particularly prevalent in more conservative and rural/remote areas.
And it’s not just ‘queer issues’ that we should be thinking about. Every issue affects the queer community in some way or another. The below-poverty levels of employment and single-parent benefits (linked to the economic issues queer people face), the growing costs of education and health care, particular with the push to privatise services, and the social and environmental issues from mining and climate change.
These are among the issues I’ll be thinking about. And whilst you may not think they’re more important than marriage equality (like I do), we should at least be involving them in the conversation. These are important issues, but too often they get ignored. Let’s not let that happen this year.
Got other ideas about what our priorities should be this election? Please contact me.
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