Young Labor calls on government to take action on transgender rights

Young Labor

There are calls from within the Labor party urging the McGowan Government to take action on transgender law reforms.

At this week’s meeting of the party’s State Executive a motion was put forward by Young Labor calling on the government to take action on improving the lives of young people who are transgender.

“Young Labor recognises that transgender and gender non-conforming people are among the most vulnerable in society and face pervasive discrimination. They also face depression rates that are much higher than in the general population: 57% vs only 6.2% of the general population, and a suicide rate that is 15x higher among 14-25 year-olds, as a direct result of discrimination.

“The ability to discriminate against transgender people, but also against the LGBTQI+ community as a whole, is entrenched in Sections 37 and 38 of the Sex Discrimination Act (1984) which allows religious bodies including schools and workplaces to discriminate against teachers, contract workers, and students on the basis of their religious beliefs.

“WA Young Labor believes that protecting the lives and wellbeing of vulnerable people in our society is of the utmost importance and stands in solidarity with the LGBTQI+ community. WA Young Labor calls for the repeal of Sections 37 and 38 and recognises that freedom of religion is not freedom to discriminate.” the motion read.

State Secretary Tim Picton has confirmed to OUTinPerth that the motion was passed by the State Executive and forwarded to the government for a response.

Premier Mark McGowan spoke out against religious based schools which discriminated against students back in 2015 when he was in opposition, but since coming to power, and being re-elected for a second term, no changes have been made to Western Australian laws.

Attorney General John Quigley has previously stated that the Western Australian government is unable to considering changing state laws until the outcome of the federal governments Ruddock Review was published. Later Quigley revised his timeline to, saying action could not be taken until the federal government’s proposed religious freedom laws is known, and a review before the Australian Law Reform Commission is released.

Former federal Attorney General Christian Porter had previously said the Law Reform report was not expected until a year after the Religious Freedom laws were passed. During his time in the role Porter was unable to bring the legislation to parliament. His successor, Western Australian senator Michaelia Cash has now been passed the task of making the legislation work.

In 2017 at the party’s state conference a motion was passed supporting the removal of the Gender Reassignment Board, four years later no action has been taken by the government.

LGBTQIA+ rights advocates have called on the government to take action now, rather than waiting for the drawn out process of the federal review to play out.

Graeme Watson 

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