A National Human Rights Consultation meeting in Sydney next month will offer a “once in a generation” chance to tackle discrimination against LGBT people.
Currently, Australia is the only western democracy which does not have a human rights act.
Human Rights Commissioner Graeme Innes said that a lack of relationship recognition and ongoing gender identity discrimination are the “challenges” the country faces in terms of human rights.
He told the Sydney Star Observer:
“This is a once in a generation opportunity.
“We want to see a stronger human rights culture in Australia, one that is going to challenge things like homophobia and bullying and discrimination.
“We’re the only western democracy that doesn’t have a human rights act.
“If we bring to the table an idea of the rights we have as well as a respect for the rights of others then we can reach a [workable model].”
The consultation is open to all individuals and groups who wish to participate.
In December, an Australian Senate committee recommended an inquiry into the need for an equality act banning homophobic or transphobic discrimination, following complaints to the Australian Human Rights Commission.
The AHRC is currently unable to protect the LGBT community fully as federal protections do not cover homophobia in the media or commercial services in the same way as other forms of discrimination.
Peter Johnson, of the Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby, said:
“There is no place for discrimination against LGBT people in Australia.
“The need for comprehensive discrimination protection on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity should be a top priority for the government.
“With increasing interactions between the LGBT community and federal service providers following the recent same-sex reforms, the need for federal discrimination protection is more pressing than ever.”
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