The Greens have promised to push for a “properly resourced” national peak GLBTI body after the August 21 election.
The $300,000 a year government-funded organisation commitment was made last week as part of the Greens’ three-point push for GLBTI rights.
Greens Victoria Senate hopeful Dr Richard Di Natale told Southern Star the funding would be directed to existing networks within the GLBTI community.
“We’re not going to do it on our own,” Di Natale said. “It’s really about opening a space up for a dialogue with the government of the day and the reality is it’s going to depend in large part on the response we get from whichever government.
“But at the moment … those issues aren’t even being raised in the Parliament, so at least it’s a step forward in terms of raising those discussions with whoever the government is to get it on the agenda.”
Although the Greens did not single out a specific organisation to direct the funding to, it’s understood the National LGBT Health Alliance — a self-funded member organisation made up of GLBTI health and lobby groups around Australia — would be the prime candidate.
But gay rights activist Rodney Croome is critical of any plan to direct funds to the Alliance, saying health and human rights should not be lumped together.
“I don’t think it’s appropriate for a health organisation to be the peak body on LGBTI human rights, to be the interface with government on those issues,” Croome said.
“I’ve got no problem with it being a peak body representing the LGBTI community on [health] issues, but when it comes to law reform, legal rights, human rights, I don’t think it has a direct track record and I don’t think it’s appropriate to be a peak body.”
Croome said in Britain, the United States and Canada, GLBTI human rights groups stood alone.
“There’s a reason for that, the only effective way to advocate for LGBTI human rights is as human rights, not as health issues,” he said.
“If funding a health body is the only politically palatable option for the next government, we should ask for what we need, and what we need is our human rights to be advocated by a human rights body not a health body.
“It’s worrying that the Greens, who are supposed to be setting standards on these things, should fall back to the second best option.”
The Greens have also committed to reintroducing a marriage amendment bill in the new Parliament, as well as pushing for sexual orientation and gender identity to be included in federal anti-discrimination legislation.