Lorraine Finlay will not inherit LGBTIQA+ Human Rights portfolio

LGBTIQA+ human rights will not be in the hands of new Human Rights Commissioner, Lorraine Finlay, according to a letter sent to advocacy group Just.Equal Australia by the President of the Australian Human Rights Commission, Rosalind Croucher.

On September 8th Just.Equal wrote to Professor Croucher expressing concern that the Human Rights Commissioner has conventionally held the LGBTIQA+ portfolio but that Ms Finlay has expressed opposition to existing LGBTIQA+ discrimination protections.

Just.Equal Australia spokesperson, Rodney Croome, said it was reassuring that Finlay would not be taking over the specific responsibility of LGBTIQA+ rights.

“It’s reassuring to learn that our human rights won’t be in the hands of someone who wants to undermine them.”

“But we are still concerned about the influence Ms Finlay may have on Australian Human Rights Commission’s LGBTIQA+ policies, given she is firmly of the belief that ‘religious freedom’ trumps our existing discrimination protections.”

“We call on the Government to appoint a dedicated LGBTIQA+ Commissioner to ensure the human rights of LGBTIQA+ people have a stronger voice and a full-time champion.”

“In the meantime, we will seek a guarantee from Professor Croucher that the AHRC will continue to uphold equality, inclusion and dignity for LGBTIQA+ Australians without carve outs allowing discrimination in the name of religion.” Rodeny Croome said.

In her letter, Prof Croucher said that the AHRC decided she would hold the LGBTIQA+ portfolio following the expiry of the term of former Human Rights Commissioner, Ed Santow.

The Human Rights Commissioner conventionally deals with human rights not already covered by the Race, Sex, Age, Disability and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice commissioners.

The Human Rights Commissioner has held the LGBTIQA+ portfolio at least since Chris Sidoti in the late 1990s.

The letter goes on to say that in her new role managing the LGBTIQA+ portfolio Prof Croucher is finalising the AHRC’s report into the human rights of people with variations of sex characteristics, particularly in regard to medical interventions.

The appointment of the Western Australian legal academic to the commission has come under fire as it was not publicly advertised, and Finlay has strong links to the Liberal party.

OIP Staff

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