The Kaleidoscope Trust has welcomed the signing of a pledge by Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Bob Carr to uphold LGBT rights on behalf of Australia’s governing Labor Party.

The UK based LGBT rights charity believes “Australia has a strong part to play in upholding the rights of LGBTI people” – and Australia can use its strategic position to encourage its neighbours throughout the pacific to decriminalise homosexuality.

In Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Kiribati, Nauru, Palau, Cook Islands, Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, Brunei, Bangladesh, The Maldives, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Singapore and the Aceh province of Indonesia criminal laws prohibit consensual sexual activity between men.

Speaking for Kaleidoscope Trust in Australia, Douglas Pretsell said: “We are especially pleased that the Labor Party has signed our pledge to uphold LGBTI human rights in foreign policy. This comes on top of pledge signed by the Greens a fortnight ago. We are still hopeful that others will make similar commitments.”

Executive Director Lance Price added: “Kaleidoscope Trust Australia will be working with the future Australian government to support the furtherance of LGBTI rights in the Asia Pacific region and in the forthcoming Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in November. Australia has an important role to play and we value the commitment of Australian political parties to our campaign to repeal all legislation that criminalises people because of their sexual orientation, gender identity or intersex status. Kaleidoscope Trust is seeking to support future Australian governments in this endeavour.”

Australia goes to the polls on 7 September. Liberal Party leader Tony Abbott, who opposes equal marriage, has widened his lead against Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.

The Labor Party leader announced his support for marriage equality in May, having previously been against the measure.

But he has now been accused of backtracking on his commitment to hold a national referendum on equal marriage – in the event of winning September’s election – after saying he would not “ram” his views on same-sex marriage “down the throats” of others.

The person who Mr Rudd ousted as Australia’s leader in June, Julia Gillard, strongly opposed equal marriage.