Labor pledge to appoint LGBT discrimination commissioner

Penny Wong LGBT Mark Dreyfus

A Shorten Labor Government would appoint a full-time LGBTI Discrimination Commissioner to the Australian Human Rights Commission.

The announcement was made this morning by Senator Penny Wong at a Rainbow Labor campaign launch in Melbourne.

“The commissioner will ensure lesbians, gays, transgender and intersex Australians live in a safer, more secure and more inclusive society.” Senator Wong said.

“The commissioner will address structural discrimination, work towards ensuring our schools, workplaces and communities are free from discrimination, continuing Labor’s tradition of removing discrimination and creating a more fair, more equal Australia.”

Shadow attorney-general Mark Dreyfus said Labor would provide $1.4 million to fund the creation of a discrimination commissioner to champion the rights of LGBTI Australians.

“We know from experience that having a full-time commissioner working on particular issues does assist in drawing attention to particular forms of discrimination experienced by LGBTI Australians.” Dreyfus said.

The move is similar to steps the Andrews Labor government in Victoria has taken where a Minister for Equality was included in the ministerial positions and a specific commissioner for Gender and Sexuality was appointed.

Labor announced their proposal saying a LGBTI Discrimination Commissioner would be a new champion for the rights of LGBTI Australians, and help build a more inclusive Australia.

The party advocates for the new position arguing that LGBTI Australians continue to face discrimination in many areas of life and many feel they need to hide their sexuality for fear of violence and discrimination.

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Human Rights report shows LGBT people still face discrimination

The announcement referred to a report from the Human Rights Commission that was released last year. The ‘Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Intersex Rights’ report highlighted that LGBT people experience suicide 3.5 to 14 times more than the average population and are significantly more likely to be diagnosed with depression or anxiety.

The report was authored by Human Rights Commissioner Tim Wilson. Wilson has subsequently resigned from his position and is now running for the safe Liberal seat of Goldstein in Victoria.



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