ELECTION FORUMS CANVASS WIDE RANGE OF ISSUES

Tasmanian gay activists have welcomed a commitment from each of the state’s three parties to work with the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex (GLBTI) community to reduce levels of discrimination and violence.

The commitments were given in response to the Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Rights Group’s election survey which canvassed all three parties on a variety of issues including how they intend to tackle on-going discrimination and abuse against GLBTI people.

Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Rights Group spokesperson, Rodney Croome, said,

“According to a survey by the Australia Institute, Tasmania remains Australia’s most homophobic state despite our progressive laws, and many Tasmanians want to know what the three parties intend to do to change this”, Mr Croome said.

“We are pleased all parties have a commitment to tackling the problem and we will work with whatever party or parties form the next government to put this commitment into action.”

Other key commitments include:

Labor – to re-open the same-sex adoption debate with a parliamentary inquiry
Liberal – examine options for dealing with transgender prison inmates
Greens – $300,000 for school anti-homophobia programs

Other features of the parties’ responses are included below and the full text can be found at www.movingforward.org.au.

Meanwhile, a wide variety of issues have been canvassed in GLBTI election forums across the state. In forums held in Hobart, Launceston and Burnie members of the GLBTI community raised issues ranging from parenting rights to discrimination in aged care. A major topic of debate in all forums was same-sex marriage.

Further key features of the parties’ responses:

Labor:
– review of discriminatory adoption laws and consider improvements to Relationships Act
– ensure transgender and intersex people have improved anti-discrimination protections
– work with GLBTI community to identify options for reducing homophobic violence
– improved consultation with the GLBTI community through the Social inclusion Unit

Liberals:
– commitment to including anti-GLBTI violence in statewide anti-violence strategy
– serious consideration given to improving the Relationships Act
– examine options for dealing with transgender prison inmates
– improved consultation with the GLBTI community at a departmental and ministerial level

Greens:
– increased funding for anti-homophobia programs in schools
– commitment to improve Relationships and Anti-Discrimination Acts
– commitment to same-sex marriage and adoption
– improved liaison between government and GLBTI community through a policy unit and ministerial portfolio

All three parties, including the Liberal Party, have committed to not authorising election materials which appeal to fear or hostility towards GLBTI people.
Rodney Croome, Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Rights Group