A day before the elections all three major national parties have promised the LGBTQI community equality and freedom from discrimination – but not to the same degree. 

National LGBTQI advocacy organisation Equality Australia on Friday released its scorecard for Labor, Liberal and Greens, ahead of the federal elections on Saturday May 21. 

“Every person in Australia deserves to be treated with dignity and respect, and to work, study and access services without fear of discrimination,” said Anna Brown, CEO of Equality Australia. 

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“LGBTIQ+ voters have told us emphatically that equality matters to them. By asking the parties vying for the support of LGBTIQ+ voters where they stand on the issues that affect our community, we have ensured that people can make an informed choice. We will continue to work to ensure whoever wins government acts to progress equality for all of us.” 

Image: Equality Australia

Religious Discrimination Bill

One of the major issues this year for the community was Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s Religious Discrimination Bill. The Bill was indefinitely shelved after Labor, Independents and five Liberal MPs voted for amendments to protect gay and trans students. 

Morrison has promised to bring back the unamended Religious Discrimination Bill if his government is re-elected. The Liberals have assured that an amendment would be passed to the Sex Discrimination Act to protect gay and bisexual students from expulsions, but other forms of discrimination may remain. The proposed protections from expulsion will not be extended to for trans students. Instead, Morrison has endorsed Tasmanian Senator Claire Chandler’s bill to ban trans girls from female sport.

Both Labor and Greens have promised a law to protect people of faith from discrimination and villification, but not at the cost of the rights of other communities. Greens have committed to removal of all exemptions under the anti-discrimination laws for religious organisations . Labor has said they would remove exemptions to protect all LGBTQI students and to some extent LGBTQI teachers from discrimination. 

Equality Australia pointed to its survey of around 8,000 people, including over 5,000 LGBTQI persons, who had said ending discrimination was one of the the top priorities.

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“Our community’s top priority for whoever forms government this weekend is to end discrimination against LGBTQ+ people in religious organisations, including faith-based schools who can currently fire, expel or discriminate against LGBTQ+ students and staff,” said Brown. 

 

Conversion Practices

Labor has said it opposes “damaging and discredited” conversion practices and pointed to laws banning it passed by its governments in Victoria and Queensland. Greens said it would “advocate at state and federal levels for a complete ban on reparative, sexual orientation and gender identity conversion therapies.”

Liberals are silent on the issue of banning conversion practices. 

Counting LGBTQI People In The Census 

Labor and Greens have supported counting LGBTQI Australians in the national census. 

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Liberals said while it was supportive of collection of data with regard to sexual orientation, gender identity and intersex status where it was relevant,  “decisions on data collection are ultimately the responsibility of agencies such as the Australian Bureau of Statistics and the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.”

Health And Wellbeing Of LGBTQI People

Labor has committed to working with LGBTQI Australians and advocates “to develop policy that will ensure equality before the law and strengthen Medicare so that LGBTIQ+ Australians have full access to our treasured universal healthcare system. 

“An Albanese Labor Government will undertake a consultation on the unique health issues and barriers to access that LGBTIQ+ Australians may face.”

Labor has promised funding for QLife and committed to mental health funding in the commonwealth budget. The party said it will “deliver a $200 million Student Wellbeing Boost to get students’ mental health and wellbeing back on track.”

The Greens have committed to providing  $285 million in funds over four years for a national LGBTQIA+ health and wellbeing plan, including $15 million in “dedicated funding to cover the out of pocket costs experienced by trans and gender diverse people in accessing gender-affirming healthcare.”

Liberals said that LGBTIQ+ Health Australia was one of the “peak health groups that received funding in the third round of the Health Peak Advisory Bodies Programme” and it had provided $7.33 million to QLife. The party pointed said that around $3 billion was earmarked for the National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan. 

Domestic, Family and Sexual Violence

Labor has committed to “dedicated funding to LGBTIQ+ community organisations to employ specialist domestic violence workers, ensuring LGBTIQ+ people receive appropriate family and domestic violence support LGBTIQ+”.

Liberals said they have earmarked funding towards dealing with domestic, family and sexual violence in the women’s budget, that includes $104.4 million for ‘Our Watch’ “to boost its efforts in prevention for LGBTIQ+ people, women with a disability and migrant women.”

Greens have committed to  $12 billion in funding for the next National Plan for Ending Violence Against Women and Children, which includes specialist services for LGBTQI victims and survivors. 

Protecting Intersex People From Harm

The Greens are the only party to advocate for a law to ban unnecessary medical interventions undertaken without consent, on people with intersex variations. 

Labor said they will examine the recommendations of the Australian Human Rights Commission’s 2021 report and work closely with the Intersex community and advocates.

Liberals had no response to the issues of the intersex community. 

Ending HIV

Labor has promised that a Ministerial Taskforce “of community representatives, medical experts and officials will be charged with removing bottlenecks and driving progress to end HIV Transmission.” 

Greens have committed to $53 million in funding for AFAO’s plans to end HIV transmission by 2025.

Liberals said its government has continued to provide funding and HIV/AIDS organisations to eliminate HIV transmission. 

Why should you vote for us? The Party Pitches

Liberals:A re-elected Morrison Government will take its proposed Religious Discrimination Bill and other proposed legislative amendments forward separately and sequentially in the next parliament. As the Prime Minister has previously said, the Morrison Government does not support LGBTIQ+ conversion therapy. This position has not changed.”

Greens: “LGBTIQA+ issues need to be heard at the highest levels of government and implemented across portfolios… The Australian Greens will continue to advocate for these changes in future Parliaments, to ensure we can achieve genuine equality.”

Labor: The Morrison-Joyce Government has ignored the LGBTIQ+ community and the services they need completely….Labor is the primary architect of the anti-discrimination law framework in Australia. We will continue to defend and enhance that framework to ensure that it is fit for purpose, accessible and promotes equality.”

 

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