Renewed calls for National LGBTIQA+ Rights Commissioner

Just Equal Australia has renewed its call for an LGBTIQA+ Human Rights Commissioner following the tabling of Government legislation establishing an Anti-Slavery Commissioner.

Spokesperson, Brian Greig, said while the establishment of an Anti-Slavery Commissioner was welcomed, for too long successive government’s have ignored calls for an LGBTIQA+ focussed commisisoner.

“We welcome the establishment of an Anti-Slavery Commissioner, however the Government’s initiative highlights the lack of an equivalent Commissioner for the LGBTIQA+ community.

“The Human Rights Commission has commissioners for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, women, young people, older people, racial minorities and people with disability.” Brian Greig said.

“The glaring omission of an LGBTIQA+ Commissioner sends the message that our rights are less important than the rights of others.”

“This stigmatising message has been underlined by the establishment of an Anti-Slavery Commissioner.”

“At a time when LGBTIQA+ human rights are increasingly under siege the appointment of a stand-alone Commissioner is urgent.”

In 2016 then shadow Attorney-General, Mark Dreyfus, promised to appoint an LGBTIQA+ Human Rights Commissioner but Labor leader, Anthony Albanese, dropped the policy prior to the last federal election. In 2022 Labor voted down a move by the Greens and independents to establish such a position.

Brian Greig said the absence of an LGBTIQA+ Human Rights Commissioner is underlined by the Government’s commitment to appointing a stand-alone Religious Discrimination Commissioner, despite the 2018 Ruddock religious freedom review recommending against it.

“The Government’s priorities are inconsistent and deeply skewed when it wants to appoint a Religious Discrimination Commissioner, despite such a position having been found unnecessary, and refuses to appoint an LGBTIQA+ Commissioner when such a position is long overdue.”

Attorney General Mark Dreyfus announced the new appointment earlier this week saying the new commissioner will play a key role in helping to shape implementation of future modern slavery reforms, including those which may arise from the recent statutory review of the Modern Slavery Act 2018, which the Government is currently considering.

Graeme Watson 

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