Ahead of the federal election, Equality Australia has quizzed each of the major parties on their policies around LGBTI rights.
Equality Australia, Intersex Human Rights Australia and the National LGBTI Health Alliance also hosted an online ‘virtual town hall’ with Senators Louise Pratt (ALP, WA) and Janet Rice (Greens, Vic), and NSW Liberal Senate candidate Andrew Bragg.
Asked about whole-of-government social inclusion strategies, a spokesperson for the Morrison government said it would “continue to consult with the LGBTIQ+ organisations across the broad range of policy issues affecting LGBTIQ+ Australians within our existing frameworks”.
“Government funding for community bodies, including LGBTIQ+ stakeholders, are subject to normal competitive grants processes,” they said.
A Labor spokesperson promised innovation in representing the LGBTI community.
“Labor believes the best way to promote the rights of LGBTIQ Australians and develop policies that recognise their needs is by listening to and consulting with LGBTIQ Australians,” they said.
“That’s why Labor will establish an LGBTIQ Ministerial Advisory Council. Once a quarter, we will convene the council to have input into policy development on issues that affect the rights and lives of LGBTIQ Australians and their families.
“A Shorten Labor Government will also make history by appointing Australia’s first full time LGBTIQ Human Rights Commissioner to advocate for and advance the rights of LGBTIQ Australians.”
A spokesperson for the Greens agreed with the need to involve LGBTI Australians in decision-making.
“That’s why the Greens would create an LGBTIQ+ Ministerial Advisory Group,” they said.
“This group will sit within the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, and will provide strategic advice to ministers and ensure decisions affecting LGBTIQ+ communities are made only after meaningful consultation.”
The spokesperson also promised an LGBTIQ+ Human Rights Commissioner, a Trans Advisory Board, and an Intersex Advisory Board.
Asked about ending medically unnecessary surgery on intersex children, the Liberal representative spoke instead about transition issues for trans young people.
The Labor spokesperson promised the party would outlaw unnecessary intersex surgeries, in line with the Darlington Statement of intersex rights.
“Labor will ensure deferral of non-necessary medical intervention on infants and children with intersex variations until such time as the person concerned can give their informed consent,” they said.
“Labor commits to promote and support a human rights-based patient consent model for accessing lifetime medical treatments and procedures.”
The Greens also vowed to make unnecessary or cosmetic intersex surgeries on babies illegal, and promised funding for community-led intersex organisations.
“We recognise the importance and benefits of affirmative peer support for people born with variations of sex characteristics and their families,” they said.
“Through the $70 million LGBTIQ+ grants program, The Greens will invest in intersex-led peer support organisations to run in-person and online peer support programs so that no intersex person or their families need to feel like they are alone.”
Each party’s full answers to Equality Australia’s survey are available online, and a recording of the virtual town hall is below.