Moves to create a LGBTIQA+ Human Rights Commissioner blocked again

Labor has used its numbers in the Senate to block a Greens’ inquiry into reform of the Australian Human Rights Commission, including the appointment of an LGBTIQA+ Human Rights Commissioner.

It’s the second time this week there’s been a push to create an LGBTIQA+ Human Rights Commissioner via the parliament. Previously the Greens attempted to add a clause into legislation in the lower house.

During the parliamentary debate The Greens Senator David Shoebridge (pictured) said a specific LGBTIQA+ Human Rights Commissioner was needed, while colleague Senator Nick McKim labeled it a “gaping hole” in the structure of the commission.

“One of the key lacks in our human rights framework is the absence of a commissioner representing the LGBTIQA+ community.” Senator Shoebridge said.

“We can’t understand why the government is resisting the amendment we circulated to lift the protections for the LGBTIQA+ community and give them what they deserve: someone in their corner, a commissioner who can respond to what have been some quite hateful attacks—some of them driven by the previous government.”

Just.Equal Australia has described Labor’s vote against an inquiry as “very disappointing.”

Spokesperson, Brian Greig said they had been urging Labor to take action in this area for years.

“Just.Equal has been urging the Federal Government to appoint an LGBTIQA+ Commissioner at the Australian Human Rights Commission for many years.”

“The absence of a federal LGBTIQA+ Human Rights Commissioner is one of the greatest weakness in Australia’s anti-discrimination framework.”

“An inquiry could have considered the best way to ensure the AHRC protects LGBTIQA+ human rights, including the appointment of a stand-alone Commissioner.”

Brian Greig said Labor’s vote against an inquiry directly contradicts its support for an LGBTIQA+ Commissioner in its 2016 election platform, something they’d highlighted in their recent correspondence with the Attorney-General.

“We have written to Attorney General, Mark Dreyfus, asking him to explain whether Labor is still committed to an LGBTIQA+ Human Rights Commissioner, if not why not, and if so, when it intends to act.”

OIP Staff

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