Labor knocks back bill to appoint LGBTIQA+ Human Rights Commissioner

Just.Equal Australia say they are disappointed the Labor Government has scuttled an opportunity to appoint an LGBTIQA+ Human Rights Commissioner.

On Tuesday in the federal parliament, the Greens moved an amendment supporting an LGBTIQA+ Human Rights Commissioner during debate on a Government Bill regarding the transparent appointment of Australian Human Rights Commission commissioners.

The amendment was supported by crossbenchers such as Zoe Daniels, but the Government refused to accept the amendment saying it wasn’t the right Bill.

Just.Equal Australia spokesperson Brian Greig (pictured above) said Attorney General Mark Dreyfus (pictured top) needs to let people know how the government will address the issue.

“We thank the Greens’ Stephen Bates, and cross-benchers like Zoe Daniels, for trying to establish an LGBTIQA+ Human Rights Commissioner, but we are disappointed Labor passed up this opportunity.”

“We will write to Attorney-General, Mark Dreyfus, to clarify that Labor supports the appointment of an LGBTIQA+ Human Rights Commissioner and to ask when he intends to introduce relevant legislation.”

“If this Bill isn’t the right one, we want to know which will be.”

Brian Greig said Just.Equal Australia had lobbied the Greens and crossbenchers to move and support the amendment because the appointment of an LGBTIQA+ Human Rights Commissioner is urgent and overdue.

“Given there are already commissioners for race, sex, age, indigenous people, people with disability and children, the absence of an LGBTIQA+ Human Rights Commissioner sends the message that discrimination against us matters less.”

“At a time when there are increasing attacks on the human rights of LGBTIQA+ Australians it is more important than ever for there to be a Commissioner who has the time, resources and expertise to defend our human rights.”

“We will now lobby for this Bill and the Greens’ amendment to be sent to an inquiry so the case for appointing an LGBTIQA+ Commissioner can be examined in full.”

Brian Greig said Just.Equal Australia supports the Government’s move to make the appointment of commissioners transparent and merit-based.

“We were and remain opposed to the appointment of Lorraine Finlay as Human Rights Commissioner because she supports the weakening of LGBTIQA+ human rights under cover of religious freedom.”

“We successfully advocated for Ms Finlay not to hold the LGBTIQA+ portfolio, as her predecessors did, but questions remain about the transparency of her appointment.

“Her appointment was an example of why the entire appointment process must be reformed.”

OIP Staff

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