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ACE welcomes report on need for Federal Anti-Discrimination laws
This media release was issued by the Australian Coalition for Equality on 3.5.11
The Australian Coalition for Equality (ACE) today welcomed the Australian Human Rights Commission’s Addressing sexual orientation and sex and/or gender identity discrimination consultation report.
ACE spokesperson Corey Irlam congratulated the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) on their dedication in consulting with the community and creating a report outlining the need for federal protections.
“The AHRC’s report will be a valuable tool for the Government in creating new Federal Anti-Discrimination laws.” Said Mr Irlam.
“After 15 years of waiting and with bi-partisan support now available, there’s never been a better time for the Federal Government to finally take action on this issue.” Said Mr Irlam
15 years ago a Senate Inquiry was first held about the need for federal anti-discrimination laws since the need for federal protections of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people. Since that time various reports have mentioned the issue and private member legislation released but no legislation has been passed.
In June 2009 as part of the National Human Rights Consultation, ACE commissioned a Galaxy survey that found 85% of Australians supported federal anti-discrimination protections on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. In addition ACE submited to the Human Rights Consultation a model bill and discussion paper on the need for Federal Anti-Discrimination laws.
In August 2010 during the Federal election, in response to an ACE election survey, both major political parties, along with the Australian Greens indicated their bi-partisan support for the introduction of federal protections on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity.
Mr Irlam noted that the terms “sexual orientation”, “sexual characteristics”, “gender identity” and “gender expression” were broadly supported by the the people participating in the consultation. He said he could see no reason why these terms would not be supported by the major parties.
However Mr Irlam noted that while the Coalition had indicated their support for protecting same-sex couples, the ALP yet to publicly commit to include “relationship status” within the new laws. He also noted that an area of contention may be how broad exemptions became within the act.
The Federal government has indicated that the Attorney-General’s department is currently working on a draft bill. It is understood that a consultation draft of the bill is likely to be made available by the end of 2011.
“The process is far from over, in many ways its only just beginning. We need to continue educating law makers and policy makers about what these laws mean and why they’re important enough to be put on the legislative agenda. With the recent bipartisan support, we hope that the consultation draft of the Governments bill will include all the important aspects mentioned in the report and laws will be passed sometime in 2012.”
The AHRC report is available from: www.humanrights.gov.au/human_rights/lgbti/lgbticonsult/report/index.html
To view the June 2009 Galaxy survey: http://www.coalitionforequality.org.au/GalaxyPoll-AntiDiscrimination.pdf
To view responses from parties to the ACE 2010 Election survey, see section 2 of party responses: http://movingforward.org.au/acesurveyfed2010.html
For further comment please contact Corey Irlam on 0401 738 996
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