Protesters call for action outside office of Labor MP Don Punch

On Sunday, southwest members of LGBTIQA+ communities and their allies held a protest rally out front the office of Bunbury MLA, Don Punch.

Organisers said 10 December was International Human Rights Day, an ideal opportunity to call on the state government not to betray our community on law reform.

Bunbury PFLAG coordinator, Hazel Wood, said Punch and the Cook Government had to be held to account and keep their promise to update the Equal Opportunity Act.

“Labor promised to stop discrimination against LGBT teachers and students in faith schools, to abolish the Gender Reassignment Board to allow a better system for trans and gender diverse identity documents, and to outlaw harmful speech against LGBTIQA+ people.

“Now they look like backing away from all these promises, despite other states being well ahead of WA on these laws. This is not acceptable.

“As Minister for Disability Services, Mr Punch would never tolerate discrimination against people with a disability, and yet his government continues to allow discrimination against LGBTIQA+ people,” she said.

Bunbury teacher, Cassandra Hymers, said ending discrimination against teachers and students in faith schools was critical, as was abolishing the GRB and fixing up gender identity processes.

“I remind Mr Punch that Labor controls both houses of parliament and has pledged to undertake these reforms for years. LGBTIQA+ people are still being harmed by the government’s continued dithering and failure to act,” she said.

Busselton resident, Clare Paine, said Labor have also promised to ban “gay conversion therapy” but have failed to commit clearly to the proposal or draft any legislation.

“The Tasmanian Liberal Government has promised to introduce legislation to ban conversion practices in early 2024, bringing that state into line with Queensland, Victoria, and the ACT.

“Meanwhile, the WA Government is still dawdling over basic anti-discrimination laws and hasn’t even started drafting legislation to ban harmful conversion practices,” she said.

Rally organisers have written to Don Punch and all Labor MLCs for the southwest, calling on them to keep their election promise to legislate LGBTIQA+ reforms before the next election.

Graeme Watson, OUTinPerth has contacted Don Punch MLA for comment. 

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