Just Equal Australia has cautiously welcomed proposed changes to federal Labor’s policy platform presented to delegates for their National Conference in August.
The LGBTIQA+ lobby group says there are indications the party is moving to strengthen its platform after it was gutted of LGBTIQA+ content in 2019.
An internal party review from that period suggested “too much focus” on LGBTIQA+ issues had cost voters in western Sydney and Bill Shorten the Prime Ministership.
When Mr Albanese became Leader in June 2019 he removed the Equality portfolio from his Shadow Ministry and cancelled the ALP spokesperson.
President for Just Equal, Brian Greig, rejected these fears pointing out that the US Democrats had far more comprehensive LGBTIQA+ policies than the ALP and were never afraid to speak out in support of this community.
“The proposed improvements to Labor’s platform nearly five years later are positive steps forward, including national anti-vilification laws and counting LGBTIQA+ people in the next census.
“However, the proposed changes fall short of the suite of national reforms required.
“This includes lifting the ban on blood donation, appointing an LGBTIQA+ Commissioner to the Australian Human Rights Commission, protecting LGBTIQA+ teachers and students in faith schools and employees in faith-based services, such as aged care homes.
“While Mr Albanese has been clear about ending discrimination against students in faith schools, he has been less clear about teachers and silent on faith-based service employees.
“Labor has also failed to rule-out supporting any Religious Discrimination Bill that weakens or undermines existing state and federal protections for LGBTIQA+ people.
“And it remains concerning that despite the rising tide of hateful fear-mongering against trans and gender diverse people, there has been silence from the Prime Minister and Government in response.
“It was promising to see Mr Albanese march across Sydney Harbour Bridge in support of LGBTIQA+ equality during World Pride, but his government have yet to match this symbolism with practical legislation,” Mr Greig said.
Mr Greig acknowledged recent changes to the Fair Work Act advocated by Just Equal, and which now align the FWA with the Sex Discrimination Act.
“This allows people who are transgender and intersex to lodge complaints of employment-based discrimination directly with the Fair Work Commission just like everyone else,” he said.
Just Equal said it will continue to lobby for a much wider range of federal reforms.
For more information contact Brian Greig on 0407 776 961.