Ahead of the federal elections on May 21, the major national parties – Labor, Liberal and Greens have identified their priorities when it comes to the LGBTQI community.

Greens Have A Plan

The Australian Greens were the first to make a comprehensive LGBTQI election policy public. The Greens in April announced that they would earmark around $900 million in forward estimates to implement its policies for the community. The plan would be funded by the party’s proposed billionaires tax and corporate super-profit tax.

Out Senator Janet Rice told Star Observer that between Prime Minister Scott Morrison using LGBTQI people as “political football” and Labor doing a “disappearing act” on LGBTQI issues, the Greens would have the community’s back.

“If we’re successful in kicking the Liberals out and being in balance of power with a future Labor government, we will have enough votes to ensure we can push Labor further and farther on enacting progressive legislation, including on LGBTIQA+ issues,” the Senator said. 

The Greens said they will appoint a Minister for Equality and an LGBTQI Human Rights Commissioner if elected. They will also push for law reforms to scrap the exemptions to religious organisations under the anti-discrimination laws. 

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.”

The party has proposed to earmark $550 million to address the homelessness and housing crisis in Australia and provide temporary housing services, including for LGBTQI people. Greens have also promised to support LGBTQI people seeking asylum in Australia and the human rights of people with intersex variations.

Labor Vows To Protect Gay And Trans Students

In Labor’s policy document, the focus is much narrower, in a section called “an equal and inclusive nation.” Anthony Albanese has committed that a future Labor government will “prevent discrimination against people of faith, including anti-vilification protections; act to protect all students from discrimination on any grounds; and protect teachers from discrimination at work, whilst maintaining the right of religious schools to preference people of their faith in the selection of staff.”

Liberals Promise Unamended Religious Discrimination Bill

The Liberal policy has very little to offer to the LGBTQI community. Morrison said that he would ensure that an unamended Religious Discrimination Bill is passed in Parliament, if re-elected. Morrison has withdrawn the bill after amendments to protect gay and trans students were passed in the House by Labor, Independents and five Liberal MPs to protect gay and trans students. 

Morrison also endorsed the Tasmanian Senator Claire Chandler’s proposed private members bill to ban trans women from participating in female sport, and refused to sack Warringah candidate Katrenine Deves for her now deleted anti-LGBTQI comments on Twitter.

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