Greens’ call to protect the rights of LGBTIQ+ people voted down

The Greens called on the federal senate to voice their support for protecting the rights of gay, lesbian, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ+) people, but the government, One Nation and independent MP Jacqui Lambie voted against it.

The move follows One Nation’s failed attempt last week to pass a motion in the senate calling for there to be a ban on doctors delivering medical treatment to transgender youth. That motion was voted down after six Liberal MPs voted with Labor and the Greens.

The motion put forward by Senator Janet Rice, and asked that the senate recognise the government’s lack of action on addressing loopholes in the anti-discrimination legislation that allow gays and transgender students to be expelled from religious based schools, or staff to fired from their jobs.

It also called on the senate to ensure the rights of LGBTIQ+ people were protected by anti-discrimination legislation, and that any forthcoming legislation on religious freedom would include consultation with people from LGBTIQ+ communities.

The motion was defeated 30 to 26 with the government, One Nation and independent MP Jacquie Lambie voting against its passage.

Prior to the vote being taken Liberal Senator Dean Smith said the government was committed to protecting all young Australians, and remained opposed to religious schools taking action against staff and students on the basis of their sexuality or gender identity.

“The Coalition Government abhors discrimination and is committed to ensuring the safety and wellbeing of every young Australian. The clinical treatment of children experiencing gender dysphoria is a complex and evolving field, and state and territory governments are being encouraged to work to develop a nationally consistent approach to best practice treatment with appropriate safeguards.” Senator Smith said.

“The government believes schools should be not be permitted to discriminate against students or staff on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity. The government has stated that any changes to the Sex Discrimination Act should make clear that discrimination against students and staff is unacceptable while ensuring religious educational institutions can teach in a manner consistent with the tenets of their faith.”

Senator Smith said the government would be consulting with LGBTIQ+ groups as it developed a new draft of the religious focused anti-discrimination laws.

“The government will engage with LGBTIQ groups and will undertake thorough consultation ahead of any future reforms of Australia’s antidiscrimination laws. Assertions that the rights of LGBTIQ Australians have been or will be undermined or wound back are without foundation.” Senator Smith said.

One Nation senator Malcolm Roberts said his party’s policy that children experiencing gender dysphoria should be treated with a ‘wait and see’ approach rather than the affirmation model currently used by doctors was based on the goal of protecting children.

“Therapeutic care is under utilised for children presenting with gender dysphoria. Children should not be put on a medical pathway with irreversible outcomes.” Senator Roberts said.

“It is not helpful to all children who need support to label everyone who disagrees with Senator Rice’s world view as being transphobic.

“That will never address the anguish that these children and parents face. It will suppress alternative views. It is subtle censorship based on trying to shame people whose views differ. One Nation supports an inclusive approach because we do not carve out special groups to protect at the expense of others.

“Inclusiveness starts with a state of mind, and a thousand variations on a man and a woman will never include everyone as long as there are those who choose to identify as a victim first.” Senator Roberts said.

Graeme Watson 

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