Media Release
Monday May 29th 2023

Human Rights Commission admits silence on anti-LGBTIQA+ hate
Renewed call for dedicated LGBTIQA+ Commissioner and national hate speech laws

Just.Equal Australia has renewed its call for a dedicated LGBTIQA+ Human Rights Commissioner after the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) revealed it has not lobbied the Federal Government for LGBTIQA+ vilification laws despite a spate of hate-motivated attacks on LGBTIQA+ people across the nation.

During Senate Estimates questioning from Greens Senator, Janet Rice, the President of the Australian Human Rights Commission, Rosalind Croucher, said the Commission has not approached the Government about enacting national vilification laws, nor made any public statement about the rise in far-right threats against LGBTIQA+ public events across several states.

Just.Equal Australia spokesperson, Sally Goldner, said the Commission's silence on national vilification laws highlights the need for a national LGBTIQA+ human rights commissioner.

Ms Goldner said,

“LGBTIQA+ Australians, and especially trans and gender diverse people, need allies in our struggle against a rising tide of hate and the AHRC needs to massively step up its allyship."

"The Federal Government must urgently appoint a dedicated LGBTIQA+ Human Rights Commissioner at the AHRC to focus on countering LGBTIQA+ discrimination.”

“The AHRC should also establish an LGBTIQA+ advisory group to remind it just how serious the problem is and how important its advocacy can be."

Ms Goldner said that in 2016 and 2019 Labor explicitly supported an LGBTIQA+ Human Rights Commissioner but has since "gone soft" on the idea at exactly the time a Commissioner is needed most.

Regarding vilification reform, Ms Goldner said,

"The Federal Labor Government has an explicit commitment to religious vilification protections but not LGBTIQA+ vilification protections."
"We call on the Government to ensure all Australians are protected from vilification, not just some."

"The increasingly loud voices of hate against LGBTIQA+ Australians make an eloquent case for strong, national LGBTIQA+ vilification protections as soon as possible."

In her questions Senator Rice flagged several cases of recent anti-LGBTIQA+ discrimination and vilification as examples. They included:
  • An anti-trans rally on the steps of the Victorian parliament attended by Neo-Nazis
  • A violent riot by “Christian Lives Matter” members against LGBTIQA+ protesters in Sydney
  • Extreme and homophobic tweets by New South Wales MLC Mark Latham against Sydney MP Alex Greenwich
  • Multiple threats of violence against inclusive drag story time events
  • Anti-trans vandalism of a Tasmanian memorial to transgender woman, Marjorie Harwood, who died after an anti-trans attack.
For a copy of this statement on the web, click here
For more information contact Sally Goldner (Vic) 0407 946 242.