AHRCentre and NSW Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby convene roundtable on the protection of LGBTI rights in new Commonwealth anti-discrimination legislation

Experts on anti-discrimination law and public health and key advocates from Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex communities from across Australia met on Friday last week at the UNSW Faculty of Law to participate in a national roundtable on the incorporation into law of specific human rights protections for LGBTI people. Although sexual orientation and gender identity have been afforded uneven and inconsistent coverage in State and Territory anti-discrimination law, the group are advocating protection in a more expanded form under proposed Commonwealth consolidated anti-discrimination legislation.

The roundtable, hosted by the AHRCentre and the NSW Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby, heard presentations from the Australian Human Rights Commission, and included participants from the LGBTI Health Alliance, the Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations (AFAO), the Victorian Gay & Lesbian Rights Lobby, Wear it Purple, A Gender Agenda, Diversity Council of Australia, Inspire Foundation, Inner City Legal Centre, School of Public Health and Community Medicine at UNSW, the Public Interest Advocacy Centre as well as the Tasmanian Gay & Lesbian Rights Group. Questions of definition, coverage and exemptions were discussed and the group confirmed key issues and principles that will inform a response to impending draft legislation. The inclusion of expanded legal protections for LGBTI people in Federal law will be a first in Australian history. The Acting Assistant Secretary, Human Rights Policy Branch of the Attorney General’s Department, Anna Sherburn, was also in attendance. Dr Justin Koonin, Co-convenor of the NSW Gay & Lesbian Rights Lobby, commented “the roundtable has provided an opportunity to re-invigorate and galvanise support for comprehensive anti-discrimination protections for LGBTI people in Commonwealth law, a long-standing aspiration of many organisations, including the NSW Gay & Lesbian Rights Lobby, and countless individuals across Australia.”

Below left to right: AHRCentre Director Andrea Durbach, Jed Horner, Dr Justin Koonin, Anna Sherburn, and Amanda Alford. 

seminar organisers