Concern over LGBTIQA+ omission for employment summit


Just.Equal Australia has expressed concern that the employment and workplace challenges facing LGBTIQA+ people may not be raised at the Federal Government’s Jobs and Skills Summit.

The Summit Issues Paper, released on August 17th , covers employment and workplace issues faced by women, First Nations people, people with disability, older Australians, migrants and refugees, and those living in regional and remote areas, but the challenges facing LGBTIQA+ people are not mentioned.

LGBTIQA+ anti-discrimination advocate Alastair Lawrie first highlighted the omission.

Writing on his website Lawrie highlighted that there had been research clearly showing that LGBTIQA+ people still faced discrimination and challenges in the workplace. Transgender, non-binary and gender diverse Australians were some of those most likely to face challenges in gaining employment.

Alistair Lawrie called on the government to ensure that the issue of discrimination against people based on their sexuality or gender identity to be included in the jobs summit, as well as the laws which allow religious based schools to take action against teachers who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.

Just.Equal Australia spokesperson, Rodney Croome said the government’s omission was disappointing.

“It’s very disappointing that the Government has so-far overlooked the fact that LGBTIQA+ people face higher levels of employment and workplace discrimination and harassment than other Australians.”

“The failure of existing laws to protect us also needs to be on the agenda. This includes the failure of the Fair Work Act to explicitly protect trans, gender diverse and intersex people from discrimination, and the failure of federal and some state laws to protect LGBTIQA+ employees from discrimination by faith-based schools and services.”

“We will write to Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese, and Treasurer, Jim Chalmers, urging them to ensure the employment and workplace issues facing LGBTIQA+ people are on the agenda and properly considered by the Summit.”

Just.Equal have also highlighted that the failure to include LGBTIQA+ employment and workplace issues in the Jobs and Skills Summit comes after the Government rejected a proposal to appoint an LGBTIQA+ Human Rights Commissioner.

The lobby group says that a Commissioner would oversee LGBTIQA+ employment and workplace discrimination complaints and promote more inclusive workplaces across the nation.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has described the upcoming summit as an opportunity to bring together unions, businesses, government and industry to address the nation’s economic challenges. Saying it would be an opportunity for proposals to the table to kick start the economy and get wages moving.

“Next week we are hosting our Jobs and Skills Summit that will brings together unions, business groups and the people who help run our world-class VET sector, to look at how we deliver immediate action on the skills shortages Australia is facing.” the PM said earlier today as he acknowledged National Skills Week.

Graeme Watson 

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