Time is running out for lobbyists as roundtable discussion forums for the National Human Rights Consultation loom.
The Victorian Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby and the ALSO Foundation will hold community discussions before cementing their positions when the talkfest rolls into Melbourne on April 14.
Lobby groups will have the ear of the four-member Consultation Committee to put forward the GLBTI community’s position on whether Australia should introduce a national charter of human rights.
The consultation was launched in December last year by federal Attorney-General Robert McClelland to seek the views of Australians on human rights protections and responsibilities.
In discussions with Southern Star, lobby groups advocated the introduction of sexuality and gender identity in federal anti-discrimination laws, putting same-sex marriage on the agenda and introducing a national charter of human rights.
The VGLRL and ALSO Foundation plan to make a joint submission to the consultation and say they are waiting on the community’s views, however, as Southern Star went to print, a public meeting date had not been fixed.
The Lobby said while direction will be taken from community discussion, they will be campaigning for protection in a national human rights charter.
ALSO Foundation president Jason Rostant said rather than specific legislative points the submission will look at stories from the community and how a human rights charter will affect people on a practical level.
-œPersonal stories carry a greater impact and put forward the needs of the community, he said.
Rostant said national charter protection would be an important step in filling -œgaping holesÂ in human rights protection for the broader gay community.
Australian Coalition for Equality spokesman Corey Irlam urged the community to take part in making submissions and called on the government to stop neglecting human rights protections for the GLBTI community.
-œThe ALP has had a policy for introducing federal anti-discrimination legislation in their policy document for over ten years. We call on the community to take part in the human rights consultation to remind them of this and demand introduction of legislation by the end of 2009, he said.
-œThere is a range of rights and responsibilities that should be included under any human rights charter or act to protect members of our community, such as the right to privacy, the right to marriage, the right to create a family and the right to be free of persecution.
-œEach piece of legislation introduced in parliament should be compared against this bill of rights, or this charter of rights, to ensure that no future bills discriminate against our community, such as the current Marriage Act.
info: To make a submission visit humanrightsconsultation.gov.au