Media Release
Friday March 29th 2024
Labor/Greens’ discrimination negotiations must include faith services and LGBTIQA+ Commissioner
Just.Equal Australia has called on the Greens to ensure that any negotiation with Federal Labor on a bill to address LGBTQ+ and religious discrimination is not only about schools.
Earlier this week the Prime Minister announced he would turn to the Greens for negotiations after previously saying he would negotiate with the Coalition.
Spokesperson for Just.Equal Australia, Rodney Croome, said the issue of LGBTQ+ discrimination by faith groups was wider than schools alone.
Not just schools
“Publicly funded faith-based services, including hospitals, charities and employment agencies, have special exemptions in federal law to discriminate against LGBTQ+ staff, clients and volunteers.”
“Some states have outlawed this along with discrimination in schools, but some have not.”
“The inquiry by the Australian Law Reform Commission into religious exemptions had terms of reference limited to schools because Labor drafted it that way.”
“However, if discrimination against LGBTQ+ teachers and students in faith-based schools is wrong and must be eliminated, the same principle must apply to all staff and clients in all faith-based services,” Mr Croome said.
Last week, Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus said :
"We’ve made it really clear that, as far as we are concerned, no Australian should be discriminated against because of who they are. All Australians should be able to live free from discrimination.”
Mr Croome said that for Labor to fulfil this aspiration it had to address all faith-based services, not just schools.
LGBTIQA+ Human Rights Commissioner
Mr Croome also said any negotiations between Labor and the Greens on a Religious Discrimination Bill must include appointing an LGBTIQA+ Human Rights Commissioner to the Australian Human Rights Commission.
“This was ALP policy until Mr Albanese dumped it when he became Leader in 2019.”
“The AHRC has commissioners for sex, race, age, disability, children and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. But there is no dedicated commissioner to advocate for the human rights of the LGBTIQA+ community, despite the obvious need.”
“Mr Albanese wants to appoint a Religious Discrimination Commissioner as part of his Religious Discrimination Bill, but continues to ignore the absence of an LGBTIQA+ Human Rights Commissioner.”
“We urge the Greens to include all faith-based organisations and an LGBTIQA+ Human Rights Commissioner in their negotiations with Labor over LGBTIQA+ and religious human rights protections.”
For a copy of this statement on the web, click here
For more information contact Rodney Croome on 0409 010 668.