As we get into election season, I’m shopping for pollies. Here’s what I want from mine.
Same-sex marriage. The ‘nationally consistent system of state-based registers’ the Government wants remains a joke. The NSW proposal is the feeblest effort yet, and not consistent with any existing scheme.
The Victorian Register is fraying, with the VCAT decision — currently being appealed to the Supreme Court — that its residency restrictions are distinctly elastic. Because the state-based schemes are all different, they are and will likely remain non-transferable from state to state. Marriage is the only sensible solution to this farce.
I also want new, enforceable equality legislation. Equality and anti-discrimination laws are ineffective, because they make the victim — the person with the least resources — do all the work. The law should assume that an act which has the effect of discriminating is discrimination — unless the alleged discriminator can prove otherwise. The Equal Opportunity Commissioners must be given the power to investigate and prosecute on behalf of a victim.
We need a comprehensive law, backed by a Human Rights Charter, run from a one-stop shop, covering discrimination on any grounds: age, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, gender expression and identity.
Public funding and government contracts must be conditional on compliance, with regular audits by the Commission. Audit recommendations must be legally enforceable.
Government departments, city councils, aged-care providers, school boards, sporting bodies, hospitals, even the companies contracted to clean council offices will have to enforce proper diversity training, policies and procedures.
Immigration also needs some changes.
Under current policy, gay asylum seekers are sent back to countries with homophobic regimes, even the death penalty, and told to hide their sexuality. Even the leader of the British Conservatives has said this is wrong, that they should be allowed to stay if they would be in danger at home.
Neo-fascists accused him of pledging “to flood Britain with homosexual African ‘asylum seekers’… 10 times more likely to have AIDS than the heterosexual African population”. He took no notice. Can we please have similarly principled action from an Australian politician?
Of course, there’s more — but that’ll do for a start. What’s on your wish list, and why?