The countdown to election day is on and because the Coalition’s held power for almost a decade, this is Australia’s big chance for change. So we’re here to help you understand and compare each major party’s promises and policies for LGBTQIA+ rights and lay it all out without the political spin.
NOTE: promises are often broken so we’ve also prepared a little look back at the voting track records of Scott Morrison, Anthony Albanese and Adam Bandt — because what they do speaks louder than their words.
We’ll compare the Coalition, Labor and the Greens’ policies on all the issues important to young people.
Now it’s time to look at what the major parties are going to do for LGBTQIA+ people and spoiler alert: it ain’t much.
The Coalition’s LGBTQIA+ Policy
The Morrison government has actually made no election promises to support the LGBTQIA+ community. It has whole documents dedicated to women’s safety and women’s health, but none of its policies actually mention queer, trans or gender diverse people. The erasure tactics are still strong in this colony.
The Coalition promised to introduce 20 weeks of paid parental leave to be shared between carers how they chose, rather than dictating a certain number of weeks for mothers and fathers, aaaand *scrolling through policies* to deliver a bunch of health packages for cis women’s wombs. But I’m really scraping the bottom of the barrel here.
(This is your friendly reminder that Morrison voted against marriage equality.)
It does however have a few things in store that will hurt LGBTQIA+ people, like the Religious Discrimination Bill, transphobic extremists on its ticket and a strong stance that trans women don’t belong in women’s sport. TBC what happens next from there if it’s re-elected.
All this transphobia proliferating through the media, political debate and public discourse continues to cause real damage to trans people’s mental health. Calls to the national helpline QLife increased 19 per cent in the first three weeks of the election campaign and spiked 53 per cent on days when there was significant media coverage of transphobic rhetoric by Liberal party members.
So the bottom line is the government has hurt LGBTQIA+ people and has not promised to undo or repair this damage should they win the election.
Labor’s LGBTQIA+ Policy
Hate to say it but Labor’s got nothing directly for LGBTQIA+ people either. It’s got loads of good stuff for cis women and has committed to implementing all 55 recommendations of the Respect@Work report to end workplace sexual harassment, but nothing in their election promises is targeted directly to queer, trans or gender diverse people.
Nor, might I add, does it mention mental health, which seems bonkers.
We know LGBTQIA+ are far more likely than cis and heterosexual people to suffer from mental health issues or attempt self harm. In 2021 25.6 per cent of LGBTQIA+ people aged 16 to 17 had attempted suicide at least once. For the rest of the population in that age bracket it was just 5.3 per cent. Let that sink in.
Labor also voted for the Religious Discrimination Bill, which was a big blow for a lot of voters. It did however push for the protection of trans students under the bill, which wasn’t a part of the bill at all, but nevertheless agreed to vote for it even if the amendment didn’t pass. Ah, the ol’ saying one thing publicly but not really following through when it counts trick. What even are words at this point?
The Greens’ LGBTQIA+ Policy
Finally! A party with an LGBTQIA+ policy!!!!
Let’s dive in.
To start, the Greens have promised to appoint a Minister for Equality and an LGBTQIA+ Human Rights Commissioner to make achieving equality a priority across government. This seems like the bare minimum so thankfully *someone’s* onto it.
It has a plan to address rampant discrimination in Australia by tightening anti-discrimination laws and introduce a Charter of Rights to protect LGBTQIA+ rights in law. Oh, and it voted against the Religious Discrimination Bill.
It also wants to make schools safer for queer and gender diverse kids by funding inclusion training for teachers, scrapping the government’s weird school chaplain program and investing in counsellors and anti-bullying initiatives.
Among all the toxic transphobic noise, Adam Bandt also came out against such discrimination last month with a pledge to include gender affirmation surgery under Medicare.
It’s really a no-brainer which major party comes out on top here.
If you’d like to talk about the issues raised in this story, you can call the QLife LGBTI peer support hotline on 1800 184 527 or chat online.
QLife operates between 3pm and midnight daily.
Under 25? You can reach Kids Helpline at 1800 55 1800 or chat online.