Fears of LGBT+ rights ‘reversal’ under new Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison
There is a risk of Australia reversing course on LGBT+ rights under the country’s new Prime Minister Scott Morrison, the country’s opposition has warned.
Louise Pratt, Labor’s Shadow Minister for Equality, made the claim after moderate conservative Malcolm Turnbull was deposed as Prime Minister by his own party and hardliner Morrison was installed in the post.
In a statement to the Star Observer, Pratt raised fears that Morrison would pursue a different agenda on LGBT issues than Turnbull, who was a lukewarm supporter of equality.
Pratt said: “Many LGBTI Australians have reached out to tell me their concerns about Scott Morrison’s appointment as Prime Minister. I share their concerns.
“He defended and praised Israel Folau when he said that gay people were going to hell, saying he had ‘shown a lot of strength of character’.
“Scott Morrison was a vocal opponent of Marriage Equality. He supported the divisive postal survey as a way of obstructing our path to marriage equality.
“He then campaigned actively for the No case and voted ‘No’ during the postal survey.
“To add insult to injury he supported amendments to the Bill to allow for discrimination against LGBTI people within the Marriage Act.”
Pratt continued: “He then went on to abstain from the vote – ignoring the will of the Australian people and indeed, the will of the people within his own electorate.
“He was joined by eight other MPs including Andrew Hastie, Tony Abbott, and Kevin Andrews.
“This is the same group of conservative MPs behind the push to replace Malcolm Turnbull in the top job.
“The LGBTI community should hold concerns about the influence these and other hard right Liberal and National MPs hold inside the Morrison Government.
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”The community can never be complacent. While we have achieved Marriage Equality, the growing conservative control in the Liberal Party means we could see the reversal of the rights we have fought so long and hard for quickly taken away.”
Although marriage equality is now a settled issue in Australia, there is still no consensus on other LGBT+ issues, including LGBT-inclusive sex education and transgender reforms.
The right-wing Coalition government previously moved to strip LGBT+ elements from a ‘Safe Schools’ anti-bullying programme after a campaign led by anti-gay evangelical groups.
The government also recently held an inquiry on religious freedom as a concession to conservatives including Morrison who were seeking ‘license to discriminate’ provisions within marriage laws.
The inquiry was concluded in May but its report, submitted to the Prime Minister’s Office, was not released publicly.
It is unclear what the report’s recommendations are or what ramifications they could have for LGBT anti-discrimination protections.