The majority of Australians support the introduction of Federal anti-discrimination laws to protect the GLBT community, a new Galaxy poll has shown.
The poll, commissioned by the Australian Coalition for Equality (ACE), found 85 percent of people supported the introduction of laws to protect Australians from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender.
The results showed a relatively even spread of support across geographical and political boundaries ­-” 91 percent of Labor voters supported the push, compared to 83 percent of Coalition voters. Females showed a higher level of support, as did white collar workers and capital city dwellers.
-œThe Australian people overwhelmingly want to live in a nation free from discrimination and our Federal laws should reflect that wish, ACE campaign coordinator Corey Irlam said.
-œLGBTI people continue to be harrassed at school, suffer employment discrimination and are discriminated against in aged care facilities. Legislation won’t stop discrimination, but it will provide recourse for those who suffer it and send a message to the community that it is no longer acceptable.
PFLAG spokeswoman Shelly Argent agreed anti-discrimination legislation could have an important impact on general community perceptions.
-œIt would make people think before they act, she said. -œPeople would know there would be strife if someone reported the discrimination. It would also give the LGBTI community the confidence to know they don’t have to accept discrimination, and make them feel like their Government cared about them.
Victorian Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby spokesman, Anthony Bendall said the government could no longer ignore community will.
-œIt is crucial the rights of GLBTIQ Australians are protected at the Federal level, both through a national human rights instrument and through comprehensive federal anti-discrimination laws, he said.
-œWhile such laws should be introduced for reasons of principle, they also now clearly enjoy overwhelming public support, he said, adding that -œlaw reform will not be the complete answer, but it is a crucial first step towards achieving full equality.

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