Developed by the Victorian Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby, the NSW Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby, Transgender Victoria and Organisation Intersex International (Australia), the extensive survey is broken up into 11 sections with 43 questions in total.
Topics include anti-discrimination, relationship recognition, health, foreign affairs, and intersex and trans issues, and the questions are designed to help set an agenda for LGBTI advocacy during the next federal parliament. It has been distributed to the Australian Labor Party, the Liberal-National Coalition and the Australian Greens to solicit specific information on their policies and positions.
LGBTI rights advocate Corey Irlam (pictured) has been instrumental in developing the survey, and told the Star Observer the focus for the groups involved has been on issues that haven’t received a lot of attention.
“There’s a good mix of things that they should be able to come out and say yes, because they’ve spent a lot of time thinking about, like marriage equality, maintaining anti-discrimination laws, a leadership position on a national consistency for transgender and intersex documentation including birth certificates,” said Irlam.
“But then there are some things they won’t have thought about, that by providing the questions we’ll make them think about it, and we’ll lay the foundations for discussion between our community and the incoming government in the next term of parliament.”
Irlam said the survey results would also help inform voters in the LGBTI community about the major parties before the election on September 7. The survey and results will form part of a larger engagement plan during the election campaign, culminating in an LGBTI community forum planned for August 31.
“Not only is this a dialogue between community advocates and parliament, but of course it’s a dialogue between what the party says they’re going to do and the voters,” Irlam explained.
“The survey will be released prior to the forum and it will be an opportunity to probe further with the representatives of those parties on their particular answers.”
Irlam argued information from the parties on trans, intersex and gender diverse Australians was vital, and that these issues in particular should be at the core of the LGBTI community’s advocacy campaigns.
He also said the global G20 summit taking place in Saint Petersburg just days before the federal election would be a good test for the current government’s commitment to LGBTI rights as a foreign policy platform.
“The Foreign Minister will be in Russia at the G20 just before the election, so lets see what public statements are made on LGBTI rights. It’s an opportunity to test just how ‘core’ LGBTI people will be as part of Australia’s Foreign Affairs priorities,” Irlam said.
The survey results and further information on the LGBTI forum are forthcoming.