Attacks on trans people costing votes in Wentworth, Parramatta: new poll

24 April 2022 – National LGBTIQ+ group Equality Australia has today called on all political parties and candidates to end the damaging debate on the lives of trans and gender diverse people, releasing new polling that shows voters in two key marginal seats are less likely to vote for candidates that attack LGBTIQ+ people.

Two separate polls in Parramatta and Wentworth – conducted by Redbridge Group – indicate debate critical of the LGBTIQ+ community costs at least twice as many votes as it secures. The majority of people who indicated their vote would be impacted by candidate’s view on the issue said that they are less likely to vote for a candidate critical of the LGBTIQ+ community.

The research also reveals that approximately three in every four people agree that trans and gender diverse people deserve the same rights and protections as other Australians.

“The people of Wentworth and Parramatta agree with what we know the overwhelming majority of the community believe – people should be treated with dignity and respect, and be free to live their lives free from discrimination, no matter who we are, who we love, or whether we are trans or not” said Jackie Turner, Trans Equality Advocate at Equality Australia.

“After weeks of coverage of the cruel, dehumanising misinformation used by some to divide the community and attack trans and gender diverse people, particularly trans women, this research demonstrates that the vast majority of Australians stand in support of LGBTIQ+ people, and against discrimination.”

“The kind of misinformation and abuse that has been directed at trans women in particular during this campaign contributes to the extreme levels of marginalisation that trans people experience, and results in some of the worst mental health outcomes in the Australian community.”  

The poll revealed that cost of living, climate change, the economy, national security and health and aged care feature highly in the list of issues most important to voters across both electorates in the upcoming federal election, with less than 2 percent of voters nominating trans participation in women’s sport as an issue, despite it dominating election coverage for several weeks. 

“Once again, it’s time for every political party and candidate to follow the community’s lead, treat LGBTIQ+ people with the dignity and respect we deserve, and get on with the job of addressing the concerns of all voters in Australia – cost of living, climate change, the economy, health and aged care,” said Jackie Turner, Trans Equality Advocate at Equality Australia.  

The poll also reveals that approximately one in three people in both marginal seats (68.6% in Parramatta and 66.5% Wentworth) support protections to ensure that faith-based schools can no longer hire, fire or discriminate against students or staff because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

The Government pulled its controversial Religious Discrimination Bill in February, after five Liberals voted with the opposition and members of the crossbench to support an amendment to ensure trans students would be protected from discrimination in religious schools, after the Government agreed to only protect gay students.

“The people of Parramatta and Wentworth firmly believe that our laws should protect all of us, equally,” said Jackie Turner, Trans Equality Advocate at Equality Australia.

“This election, we call on all political parties to commit to removing the outdated carve-outs to our laws that allow religious schools to expel, fire or discriminate against students and staff because of who they are, or whom they love.”

Equality Australia has launched an open letter calling on all candidates to treat LGBTIQ+ people with dignity and respect, and to campaign in a way that does not undermine the community’s health and wellbeing.  

Polling results available for Parramatta and Wentworth.

Media Contact: Tara Ravens 0408 898 154, tara.ravens@equalityaustralia.org.au