The Creation of Equality Australia welcomed as an important step in a post-marriage equality era

December 12, 2018

Australian Lawyers for Human Rights (ALHR) welcomes the launch of Equality Australia, as a positive and necessary step toward a more inclusive Australia. ALHR’s LGBTI Committee co-chair, Nicholas Stewart, said, “Equality Australia was born out of the successful Australian Marriage Equality campaign which in 2017 was integral to ensuring support for equal marriage laws in Australia and facilitated positive messages of love and hope during the often emotional and distressing public debate about marriage equality.”  

“ALHR congratulates Equality Australia on conducting a comprehensive survey of over 2000 members of the community in order to incorporate their voices, values, vision and expertise in the formulation of its priorities. This democratic approach to the organisation’s strategy should be commended.”

Mr Stewart continued, “The removal of laws that allow for discrimination on the basis of LGBTI status from our statute books is consistent with Australia’s international human rights law obligations. In order to achieve this, it is vital that initiatives like Equality Australia exist to drive law reform and build understanding and support for those experiencing inequality.”

ALHR’s LGBTI Committee co-chair, Georgia Burke, said, “Earlier this year many Australians were shocked to learn that existing legislation allows faith-based schools to expel trans and gay students, as well as hire or fire teachers on the basis of their sexuality or gender identity. ALHR has long-campaigned for the removal of all religious exemptions to anti-discrimination laws and welcomes Equality Australia’s move to tackle this issue as a priority. We also encourage Equality Australia to work with us as we target the use of “conversion therapy” by some faith-based organisations.”

“The LGBTI community in Australia will not be protected until Australian laws reflect international human rights law standards. The best way to achieve a fair go for every Australian, LGBTI or otherwise, is to enshrine Australia’s international legal obligations in enforceable Commonwealth legislation by enacting a Federal Human Rights Act. Australia is now the only Western democracy without some kind of national Human Rights Act or Charter of Rights and ALHR reiterates its call for bipartisan support to remedy this anomaly,” said Ms Burke.