LGBTQIA+ advocates lay out agenda for Albanese Government

Equality advocates have welcomed the results of yesterday’s election, laying out what they expect for the incoming Albanese Government.

National LGBTQIA+ advocacy group Just.Equal Australia say the Labor victory puts Australia in a unique position to move forward on LGBTQIA+ rights, despite Labor’s stance on issues that matter to our communities.

The group says the defeat of a Liberal Party that devised the discriminatory Religious Discrimination Bill, the thumping defeat of anti-transgender candidate, Katherine Deves, and the victory of Green, teal and independent candidates with strong commitments to LGBTIQA+ equality, all show Australia wants an end to LGBTIQA+ discrimination.

“The true winners in this election have been equality, inclusion and acceptance for LGBTIQA+ Australians,” Just.Equal Australia spokesperson Sally Goldner said.

“Like many Australians, we are relieved the discriminatory Religious Discrimination Bill is now off the table.”

“We welcome the election of teal, Green, independent, Liberal and Labor candidates who opposed this Bill and who support greater equality and inclusion for LGBTIQA+ people.”

“We also welcome the failed election bids of anti-trans candidate, Katherine Deves, and perpetual opponent of LGBTIQA+ equality, Eric Abetz.”

“It is disappointing to see the defeat of some moderate allies within the Liberal Party. Post-election the Liberal Party will need to demonstrate that it values our community.”

Just.Equal spokesperson, Rodney Croome, adds that Labor went to the election with modest and sometimes ambiguous LGBTIQA+ policies.

“We look forward to Labor protecting LGBTIQA+ students from discrimination by faith-based schools, but it did not offer the same protections for teachers, which is something we will campaign for.”

“We will also be pressing Labor to protect young people with variations of sex characteristics from unnecessary, non-consenting medical interventions, to provide more resources to improve the health and wellbeing of LGBTIQA+ people, to ensure Medicare covers the costs of gender affirmation, and to remove the current gay, bisexual and transgender blood bans.”

“These and other priorities were identified in our LGBTIQA+ election survey which we will now use as our blueprint for LGBTIQA+ reform under an Albanese Government.”

The Just.Equal survey found the most pressing issues includeremoving exemptions allowing faith-based organisations to discriminate against LGBTIQA+ staff, students and clients, improving LGBTIQA+ school safety and inclusion, establishing LGBTIQA+ policy groups in relevant government agencies, a national LGBTIQA+ mental health strategy, LGBTIQA+ inclusion in the Census and removal of the gay, bi and trans blood ban.

“Apart from marriage equality, there has been all-too-little progress on LGBTIQA+ equality at a federal level in the last decade,” Croome said.

“We now have a unique opportunity to change that and move forward.”

National LGBTIQ+ group, Equality Australia, have also responded to this weekend’s election result, saying that it’s clear voters across the country have rejected the politics of division.

“This election campaign, some have tried to divide the community, using the lives of one of the most marginalised groups of people in the country in a cynical attempt to win votes”, said Anna Brown, CEO of Equality Australia.

“Politicians and commentators have spread ill-informed and alarmist views about trans people – particularly trans women and children – in an effort undermine their ability to participate equally in our society and to wind-back the hard-fought gains of the LGBTIQ+ community.

“But tonight’s result – particularly in Warringah – is a stunning rebuke of the politics of division, and another affirmation that the vast majority of the Australian community believes that every one of us, no matter who we are, whom we love, deserves to be treated with dignity and respect.”

Equality Australia conducted polling in marginal NSW seats, Wentworth and Parramatta, during the campaign, at the height of media controversy about now-deleted anti-trans tweets by the Liberal Party candidate for Warringah, Katherine Deves.

The polling found that a majority of voters in Wentworth nominated climate change, the economy or national security were their top issue that would determine how they would vote this election. In Parramatta voters nominated cost of living, health and climate change. Less than three percent of voters in both seats nominated transgender participation in sport as their top issue.

The poll found that over 75 percent of voters in both seats believed that transgender people deserve the same rights and protections as other Australians, and the majority of people who indicated their vote would be impacted by candidate’s view on LGBTIQ+ issues said that they are less likely to vote for a candidate critical of the LGBTIQ+ community.

Over 67 percent of voters surveyed said they supported new protections to prevent LGBTQ+ students and staff in religious schools being fired, expelled or otherwise discriminated against because of their gender or sexual orientation.

“Just as the unnecessary and damaging marriage equality postal survey showed, tonight’s results suggest that the Australian community overwhelmingly believes that every one of us should be equal”, said Anna Brown, CEO of Equality Australia.

“The newly elected government must commit to governing for every person in Australia, and to treating every one of us with the respect and dignity we deserve.

“Our laws should protect all of us, equally. The new government must act swiftly to protect LGBTQ+ people from discrimination in religious organisations, so that no matter who we are or whom we love, we can be free to be ourselves at work, at school or when accessing services.

“Any protections for people of faith my raise the standard for everyone, rather than undermining existing protections for others.”

Equality Australia also paid tribute to a number of outgoing parliamentarians.

“We welcome the new members of parliament, some of whom have already spoken with us about their commitment to LGBTIQ+ equality, and we pay tribute to outgoing LGBTIQ+ members of parliament, including a number of gay MPs, who were integral in helping push internally for reforms, particularly on marriage equality and in support of LGBTQ teachers and students in religious schools.”

“We look forward to working with all members of parliament to ensure all of us are equal under law, no matter who we are or whom we love.”

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