7 November 2022 – National LGBTIQ+ group, Equality Australia, has today welcomed the leadership shown by members of the federal crossbench towards strengthening discrimination protections for LGBTIQ+ people and called on the Albanese Government to take urgent steps to protect LGBTIQ+ people from discrimination.

“Everyone deserves to be respected at work,” said Anna Brown, CEO of Equality Australia.

“The Albanese Government’s respect at work reforms are a positive step in strengthening much needed protections for women at work. But they also provide an opportunity to ensure everyone, regardless of their gender, sexual orientation and sex characteristics, can enjoy that same respect in their workplace.” 

“We urge the government, don’t squander this opportunity – ensure everyone, including LGBTIQ+ people, are included in these reforms.”

The Independent Member for Wentworth Allegra Spender and Independent Member for Warringah Zali Steggall today both moved amendments to strengthen the Government’s Respect at Work Bill to ensure LGBTIQ+ people were equally protected from discrimination.

Drawn from Equality Australia’s recent submission, Ms Spender moved amendments to ensure people who experienced hostile workplace environments that are homophobic, transphobic or discriminatory towards intersex people would receive the same level of protection as people who experience workplaces that are sexist.

Ms Spender also moved an amendment to ensure that the new positive duty on employers to take reasonable measures to prevent discrimination applied to all protected attributes under the Sex Discrimination Act 1984, including discrimination based on pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status and family responsibilities. 

Tasmanian Liberal MP Bridget Archer and the four Greens MPs voted in favour of the Spender amendments with most of the crossbench, being Kate Chaney, Zoe Daniel, Helen Haines, Monique Ryan, Sophie Scamps, Rebekha Sharkie, Zali Steggall, Kylea Tink, Andrew Wilkie and Allegra Spender. The Government, remaining Coalition members and independent MP Dai Le voted against the Spender amendments.

“Our laws should protect all of us, equally. That is why Equality Australia has advocated for reforms that protect all of us, regardless of our gender, sexuality, sex characteristics, disability, race or age,” said Ms Brown.

“We call on the Albanese Government to urgently fix Australia’s discrimination laws to ensure LGBTIQ+ people are protected from discrimination, wherever they work, study or access services,” said Ms Brown.

“We commend the strong leadership shown by members of the crossbench to strengthen discrimination protections for all of us.”

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

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