Media Release
Thursday November 10th 2022
Just.Equal Australia and Intersex Human Rights Australia have welcomed the federal Labor Government’s commitment to better discrimination protection for people with sex variations. 
Today, Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, Tony Burke, agreed to update the Fair Work Act and other legislation including the Sex Discrimination Act to improve protections for people with intersex variations, and protect everyone with innate variations of sex characteristics. 
Intersex Human Rights Australia Communications and Training Officer, Cody Smith, welcomed the commitment saying it showed growing understanding of the issues facing people with sex variations. 
"The accuracy of language is important and recognising that everyone can be discriminated against on the basis of sex characteristics leads to more robust protections for every Australian." 
"It's encouraging to see Greens, Labor, and crossbench members able to collaborate with intersex community leaders, and commit to positive action for the intersex community. I hope this process has opened up an ongoing conversation that can fully realise dignity and justice for all intersex Australians." 
The commitment was given in the context of debate on the Fair Work Act which, until now, hasn’t protected workers from discrimination on grounds of either gender identity or intersex variations. 
The Government sought to extend protection to gender identity and “intersex status”, but the Greens and Independent, Andrew Wilkie, pushed for the best practice attribute, sex characteristics. The Government’s commitment was given in response to that push. 
Intersex Human Rights Australia has campaigned for protections on grounds of sex characteristics since publication of the community consensus Darlington Statement in March 2017. 
Executive director Morgan Carpenter said: 
“Following the principles set out in the Darlington Statement, we have been supporting the introduction of these protections in jurisdictions across Australia." 
“Labor has longstanding commitments to action to protect the human rights of people with intersex variations, including protections from discrimination and harmful practices. Earlier this year we published a call for action to the federal government seeking best practice protections, along with commitments on a range of other legislative, regulatory and policy issues. "
“This public commitment made by Tony Burke, along with proposals by the Greens and cross-bench, are profoundly welcome. We look forward to working on the enactment of these best practice protections.” 
Just.Equal Australia spokesperson, Sally Goldner, said Just.Equal Australia has been campaigning for full protection in relation to both gender identity and variation of sex characteristics for several years. 
“We will continue to campaign to ensure the Government fulfills its commitment to full and equal protection for people with variations of sex characteristics, as well as trans and gender diverse people”. 
For a copy of this statement on the web, click here
Comment Sally Goldner AM 0407 946 242 or Cody Smith 0449 679 325.