THE Victorian Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby (VGLRL) has encouraged those voting in the Federal election on July 2 to carefully consider who they vote for in the Senate as it will influence how LGBTI issues are addressed in government.

With a tight election ahead, the VGLRL has advised voters that a number of minor parties and independents could hold the balance of power in the upper house.

The call comes after the recent LGBTI election survey undertaken by the Rainbow Votes coalition, which asked all major parties along with a number of key independent or micro parties their party platform on a number of issues affecting the LGBTI community.

The Australian Equality Party, the Australian Sex Party, and the Nick Xenophon Team were among the parties that responded to the survey.

The Australian Equality Party has a comprehensive LGBTI election platform, and has made a number of commitments to improving the health and wellbeing of LGBTI Australians.

This includes government underwriting of essential health and wellbeing services to LGBTI individuals, and funding for national health services supporting LGBTI people.

VGLRL co-convenor Rachael Hambleton believes the Australian Equality Party has set the bar high.

“The Australian Equality Party has set a high standard in the development of a comprehensive election platform on LGBTI affairs, despite being very new to the political scene,” she said.

The Australian Sex Party has committed to establishing federal LGBTI anti-vilification laws, and to removing the ability of parents to make decisions on their child’s behalf with respect to sex assignment.

Both the Australian Equality Party and the Australian Sex Party also provided comprehensive responses to the Rainbow Votes coalition’s survey about LGBTI youth, pledging to support the Safe Schools program.

VGLRL co-convenor Sean Mulcahy said the Australian Sex Party has demonstrated its capacity to work with other political parties to achieve reforms in Victorian Parliament.

“It is clear from their responses to our survey that they will take a similar constructive approach should they be elected to federal parliament,” he said.

All parties confirmed they would support marriage equality, this being the only commitment the Nick Xenophon Team made on LGBTI issues.

“It’s important that when Australians go to vote they understand where the parties stand on LGBTI issues, and not just marriage equality,” Hambleton said.

“These parties could hold the balance of power in the Senate, so it’s important that voters inspect their policies and, if they’re not convinced, don’t vote for them.”

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