Concern over gay exclusion from social inclusion strategy. Call to strengthen inclusion in Commissioner’s role
TASMANIAN GAY AND LESBIAN RIGHTS GROUP
Tuesday December 23rd 2008
CONCERN OVER GAY EXCLUSION FROM SOCIAL INCLUSION STRATEGY
CALL TO STRENGTHEN INCLUSION COMMISSIONER’S ROLE
Tasmanian gay activists have welcomed today’s announcement that Professor David Adams will be Tasmania’s first Social Inclusion Commissioner, and have called on Prof Adams to include gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in the state’s social inclusion strategy.
Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Rights Group spokesperson, Rodney Croome, said not one of the documents produced by the state’s Social Inclusion Unit, including its pivotal Social Inclusion Strategy Consultation Paper, mentions gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender people even though they experience much higher than average levels of workplace discrimination, hate-motivated assault, poor health and educational outcomes, and other factors which contribute to social exclusion.
“The first job of the Social Inclusion Commissioner is to make sure the Government’s strategy is inclusive of everyone who experiences discrimination and disadvantage”, Mr Croome said.
“Too many gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Tasmanians continue to suffer prejudice in the workplace, abuse on the streets and rejection by families and communities.”
“Legal equity and social acceptance of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people have been primary markers of social inclusion in Tasmania for a generation, and we call on the in-coming Social Inclusion Commission to reverse the failure of the Government to acknowledge the exclusion we continue to face.”
Mr Croome also called for the Social Inclusion Commissioner to have greater powers.
“The Commissioner is hamstrung by being the Premier’s appointee for the brief, uncertain period until the next state election, without his own budget and without any kind of independent legislative authority.”
“We call on the Government to strengthen Professor Adams’ hand by providing him with his own statutory mandate and authority independent of Government in much the same way as the Anti-Discrimination Commissioner.”