24 August 2023 – Equality Australia has welcomed Independent MP Alex Greenwich’s historic equality bills, saying the reforms will ensure all LGBTIQ+ people in NSW can live free from discrimination and harm.
The legislation includes banning LGBTQA+ conversion practices, allowing trans and non-binary people to update their gender without the need for surgery and removing legal carve-outs that allow LGBTIQ+ teachers and students in private schools to be fired or expelled.
“These historic bills are very welcome and long overdue,” Equality Australia’s Legal Director Ghassan Kassisieh said on Thursday.
“Our community has been waiting decades for these reforms that improve every aspect of our lives. We have the best chance in a generation to ensure all LGBTIQ+ people in NSW can live free from discrimination and harm.”
Equality Australia audited almost 500 pieces of existing NSW legislation to identify areas of legal discrimination and disadvantage faced by LGBTIQ+ people.
“From removing legal carve-outs that allow teachers and students in private schools to be fired or expelled through to removing legal barriers that prevent access to healthcare and the recognition of our families, these reforms deliver dignity and equal protection to every LGBTIQ+ person in NSW,” Mr Kassisieh said.
Equality Australia CEO Anna Brown called on the state’s MPs to pass the historic legislation, adding most people were surprised to learn that LGBTQ+ conversion practices were still legal in Australia’s most populous state.
Before the state election earlier this year, both Labor and the Coalition committed to banning LGBTQA+ conversion practices. As recently as yesterday, the Premier proclaimed that the NSW Government would be ending anti-LGBTQA+ conversion practices for good.
“We welcome the Government’s strong commitment to ending LGBTQA+ conversion practices, support from the Coalition and now Mr Greenwich’s bills that will make these commitments a reality. Any scheme to end conversion practices will only be effective if it covers health and religious settings and includes a civil scheme focussed on stopping conversion practices before they cause harm,” Ms Brown said.
“NSW is also one of the last remaining states where trans and gender diverse people face cruel and unnecessary barriers when accessing ID documents that recognise them for who they are.
“Since the trailblazing 78ers made history when they bravely stepped out of the bars and into the streets in protest for the first Sydney Mardi Gras, NSW has fallen behind the rest of the nation. We are urging all NSW parliamentarians to support these reforms and finally protect everyone.”
Both Ghassan Kassisieh and Anna Brown are in parliament for the tabling and are available for comment.
Media contact: Tara Ravens 0408 898 154, email@example.com and Emily Mulligan 0411 207 633 firstname.lastname@example.org
** Photos available from 8am out the front of NSW Parliament as Equality Australia and the community welcome the introduction of the landmark bills.