Senate shows support for LGBTIQ community on R U OK? Day

The Senate has passed a motion voicing support for LGBTIQ people on R U OK? Day, and encourages all Australians to reach out to their queer family and friends and check on how they are faring during the marriage debate.

The motion was put forward by Greens’ senators Rachel Siewert and Janet Rice. It asked the senate to recognise R U OK? Day and acknowledge that National Mental Health Commission has warned that members of the LGBTIQ community will experience worsened mental health due to the impacts of the government’s national marriage survey.

The motion highlighted that important services, particularly Western Australia’s Living Proud community support organisation, had been experienced reduced funding at a time when their services were needed the most.

Members of the public were encouraged to reach out to their LGBTIQ friends and family and ask R U OK? The motion also called on the government to ensure that mental sufficient mental health services over the two month long marriage postal survey campaign.

Speaking on behalf of the government Senator James McGrath said all Australians were encouraged to be respectful during the marriage survey and defended the government’s record in the area of mental health services.

“We urge all Australians to show respect for each other, and equally we respect the right of all Australians to have their say. The coalition government has made mental health a priority and is investing over 4 billion dollars this year on mental health services.” Senator McGrath said.

Following the passing of the motion Senator Siewert released a statement saying now more than ever it was important to ensure there were sufficient mental health services for the LGBTI community.

“We are being told by mental health experts that the LGBTIQ community will experience negative mental health impacts during the marriage equality survey, so it is more important than ever to ask R U OK?”, Senator Siewert said.

“We also need to make sure during this period (and beyond) that there are sufficient mental health services so that when people need help, that help is there.”

Senator Janet Rice said people in the community who are experiencing the negative comments related to the marriage survey needed to hear that people cared about them.

“To those in the community that are copping the brunt of hurtful commentary as this postal survey rolls out, know that we love you, we care for you, and we will get through this”, Senator Rice said.

“Now more than ever we must be checking in on each other’s wellbeing, and it is good timing that R U OK? Day has come around just as the marriage equality debate really kicks off”.

A copy of the motion that was passed is below.

OIP Staff: Update 14-09-17 10:04 comments from Senators Rice and Siewert added. 

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