Just.Equal disappointed that there’s no Minster for Equality

Just.Equal Australia is disappointed new Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has not appointed a Minister for Equality and has called on him to reverse the decision.

Federal Labor had an Equality Spokesperson for three years prior to the 2019 election but Mr Albanese scuttled the role after Labor’s loss. Prior to Albanese taking on the leadership role Western Australian senator Louise Pratt was the party’s Equality spokesperson.

Just.Equal Australia spokesperson, Sally Goldner AM, said a Minister for Equality would have made a big difference.

“A Federal Equality Minister would ensure a voice for the LGBTIQA+ community at the centre of government.” Goldner said today.

“It would also show LGBTIQA+ Australians that we are valued citizens again after many years of our rights being eroded and undermined.”

“We urge Anthony Albanese to reverse his decision and show that Labor stands with the LGBTIQA+ community.”

When Albanese abolished the equality portfolio in 2019 he said all portfolio holders should consider the needs of LGBTIQA+ people. In an exclusive interview with OUTinPerth he outlined his view that equality needed to be embedded in all roles.

“What we don’t do is marginalise that in terms of one person, whose is not a senior person. That’s my job. It’s Penny Wong’s job. It’s Richard Marles’ job. It’s the Labor Party’s job, and that’s why I think in terms of substance as well, I want part of what the Health spokesperson has to do is look at equality. Not just on the basis of sexuality or gender identity, but across the board. I want them to ask – Is that happening? Is it happening in education? Is it happening in migration?” Albanese said in 2019.

Sally Goldner said while the PM had argued there was no need for an Equality Minister, there were similar positions for other marginalised groups.

“Clearly Mr Albanese doesn’t really believe that because he has appointed ministers responsible for Indigenous Australians, women, youth, multi-cultural communities and veterans.” Sally Goldner said.

Victoria’s Labor government has included a specific LGBTQA+ Commissioner and Martin Foley serves as the Minister for Equality. Under this model the state had adopted one of the most progressive approaches to LGBTIQA+ law reform, and delivered a significant increase in services and support to community members.

Earlier on Tuesday the Prime Minister addressed the Labor caucus for the first time since the party’s election win, In his speech the Prime Minister stressed the importance of inclusion, saying he was all about “bringing people together.”

“I’m serious about reaching out to multicultural communities, to people of faith, to ensuring that people regardless of who they are, who they believe in, or whether they don’t believe at all…who they are, who they love, reaching out.

“I think one of the things we’ve seen in this country, rejected, is the idea that government is about sitting down and working out how to wedge people, how to cause division – and we saw that during the election campaign, where by some very vulnerable people were singled out, adding to their vilification.

“We’re a better country than that, we shouldn’t do that ever. What we should do is seek to reach out and be an inclusive society, and how we conduct ourselves is very much a part of that.”

Graeme Watson

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