“Labor was keen to walk down the aisle with us on marriage equality in 2017, but now it looks like it wants a divorce."
- Charlie Burton
LGBTIQ+ community advocates are deeply disappointed by Labor’s weak and diminished commitments to LGBTIQ+ equality and inclusion.
According to just.equal spokesperson Dr Charlie Burton, the latest draft of Labor’s national platform is a watered-down version of the consultation draft, which itself was a gutted version of what Labor took to the last election.
In both drafts Labor dropped its commitment to end coercive intersex surgeries and to reduce out-of-pocket transgender medical costs. It has also dropped all references to HIV for the first time in a generation.
In the latest draft Labor dropped its explicit commitment to ensuring schools are safe and supportive for all students regardless of sexuality and gender identity. This comes despite recent research showing schools are the least safe place for many young LGBTIQ people.
Dr Burton said,
"Anthony Albanese wants Australians to believe that Labor is on their side. But that isn’t the case if you’re a baby born with variations of sex characteristics, a trans person seeking equal access to health care, or an LGBTIQ student at a faith-based school."
"LGBTIQ people who will suffer increased harassment under the Morrison Government's proposed Religious Discrimination Bill also don't know if Labor is on their side because Anthony Albanese refuses to say whether Labor will oppose that Bill."
“While we accept that Labor has slimmed down its national platform, the axe has fallen disproportionately on the LGBTIQ+ community and especially young people, who are desperately in need of our protection and support.”
Dr Burton said, “It’s disappointing and very concerning that Labor’s LGBTIQ+ policy commitments continue to go backwards. In the 2018 platform the term LGBTIQ appeared 46 times, now it appears eight times.”
“Labor’s 2019 election loss was not the fault of LGBTIQ+ people, but we seem to be ones being punished for it.”
“Labor was keen to walk down the aisle with us on marriage equality in 2017, but now it looks like it wants a divorce.”
The platform will be considered at ALP’s online National Conference at the end of March, where delegates have the opportunity to reinsert LGBTIQ+ commitments through amendments.
Dr Burton said, “We urge Conference delegates to use their voices to ensure the ALP’s platform is not silent on key LGBTIQ+ issues, in what is likely an election year.”
One substantive improvement in the latest draft is that the commitment to banning conversion practices covers conversation practices generally, not just coercion into those practices.
But there are still no references to explicitly protecting trans, gender diverse and intersex Australians from unfair dismissal in the Fair Work Act, no commitment to an LGBTI human rights commissioner (which Labor was committed to at the last election), and no commitments to LGBTIQ+ anti-vilification protections (despite there being two separate references to religious vilification).
Immediately after the 2019 election, Labor abandoned its commitment to an equality portfolio. Since then it has not taken a stand on any specific LGBTIQ+ law reform issues.
Most prominently, it has not yet decided to vote against the proposed Religious Discrimination Bill which rolls back discrimination protections for LGBTIQ people and other minorities in the name of “religious freedom”.
Most of the discrimination protections targeted in the Religious Discrimination Bill are Labor legacies.
For a copy of this statement on the web, click here
For more information contact Charlie Burton on 0402 016 625.