Docstoc

Tas Gay and Lesbian Rights Group

Document Sample
Tas Gay and Lesbian Rights Group Powered By Docstoc
					RESPONSE FROM THE AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY TO THE TASMANIAN GAY
AND LESBIAN RIGHTS GROUP 2010 ELECTION SURVEY
Does your party support an amendment to the Marriage Act to allow same sex couples to
marry? If so, what will your party do to ensure this reform occurs? If not, why not?

Federal Labor believes that couples who have a mutual commitment to a shared life should
be able to have their relationships recognised.

While not supporting same-sex marriage, Federal Labor does support a nationally consistent
framework for relationship recognition to be implemented by the States and Territories.

Victoria, the ACT, New South Wales and Tasmania have established relationship recognition
schemes and relationships registered under these schemes are also now recognised in a
wide range of Commonwealth laws.

Federal Labor will continue to encourage other jurisdictions to develop such schemes. For
example, the Attorney-General has written to State and Territory Attorneys-General and
raised the issue at the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General.

Is your party committed to the enactment of Commonwealth legislation to prevent
discrimination and incitement to hatred on the groups of sexual orientation and gender
identity? Is your party committed to ensuring that this legislation has no exemptions for
private clubs or religious or religious-based institutions which allow discrimination or
incitement to hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity?

Federal Labor supports the enactment of legislation prohibiting discrimination on the basis
of a person’s sexual orientation or gender status, and the removal of such discrimination
from Commonwealth legislation.

As part of Federal Labor’s response to the National Consultation on Human Rights, the
Gillard Labor Government is committed to combining Commonwealth anti-discrimination
laws into a single Act to remove unnecessary regulatory overlap and make the system more
user-friendly.

As part of this project to harmonise and consolidate Commonwealth anti-discrimination
laws, there will be an opportunity to examine gaps in our laws and the effectiveness of
remedies. A Gillard Labor Government will undertake consultation with stakeholders on the
proposed single anti-discrimination law.

Federal Labor has introduced reforms to remove discrimination from 84 Commonwealth
laws. The reforms remove discrimination and equalise treatment for same-sex couples in
areas of taxation, social security, health, aged care, superannuation, immigration, child
support and family law.

These reforms extend to same sex couples the same entitlements and obligations that apply
to opposite-sex couples. Equal treatment means some same-sex couples will get access to
benefits they could not previously access.

Medicare and PBS safety net

Same sex couples and their dependent children can now access the Medicare and
Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) safety nets as a family. This means same-sex families
may have reduced medical costs once they meet the threshold.

Commonwealth superannuation schemes

The reforms remove discrimination in Commonwealth superannuation schemes. The
changes make death benefits available to the same sex partners of deceased scheme
members and their children. The changes also make it easier for regulated superannuation
funds to recognise same-sex relationships.

Tax offsets

Same-sex couples have access to tax concessions previously denied to them, resulting in
them having to pay less tax. A same sex couple may be eligible for the dependent spouse
tax offset where previously they would have been denied eligibility.

A member of a same-sex couple may also claim the net medical expense tax offset for
medical expenses incurred by their partner and any dependent children.

Some older individuals will also benefit from the changes. Members of a senior same sex
couple will now be able to transfer their unused Senior Australians tax offset to their
partner.

Immigration

Same-sex couples and their children are considered ‘members of the family unit’ for visa
purposes. Same-sex partners of Australian citizens, Australian permanent residents and
eligible New Zealand citizens are able to apply for the same partner visa as opposite-sex
partners.

Child Support

Same-sex couples are able to apply for child support on separation.

Is your party committed to the development of national benchmarks, policies and
programs to eliminate homophobic and transphobic bullying in schools?
Federal Labor supports programs to make schools safer places for students and to combat
bullying. This includes homophobic and transphobic bullying.

The Ministerial Council for Education, Early Childhood Development and Youth Affairs
agreed in November last year that all States and Territories and the Commonwealth will
work together to promote student safety and prevent all forms of bullying in schools
through sharing successful approaches and best practice.

The $20 million Safer Schools program assists at-risk government and non-government
schools to meet their particular security needs. Projects funded under the program involve
security related infrastructure such as closed circuit television systems, fencing, lighting and
improving window security.

Cyber safety is particularly important as bullying can now follow students into their homes
with the increase in social networking sites and the prevalence of mobile phones. Cyber
bullying can also be strongly linked to physical bullying.

The Government has committed $125.8 million over four years for a Cyber-Safety Plan
through the Deptartment of Broadband, Communication and the Digital Economy. This
program tackles the issue of cyber-safety from a number of directions to help protect
Australian children from the dangers of the internet.

Is your party committed to the development of national benchmarks, policies and
programs to reduce the higher levels of health-related problems faced by lesbian, gay,
bisexual, transgender and intersex people because of continued legal and social
discrimination and prejudice against them?

Federal Labor has introduced reforms to remove discrimination and equalise treatment for
same-sex couples in areas including health and aged care. These reforms extend to same-
sex couples the same entitlements and obligations that apply to opposite-sex couples.

Same-sex couples and their dependent children can now access the Medicare and
Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) safety nets as a family. This means same-sex families
may have reduced medical costs once they meet the threshold.

The Gillard Labor Government has also worked in partnership with community stakeholders
and States and Territories on new national strategies for sexually transmissible infections
and blood borne viruses.

The Gillard Labor Government’s investments to address sexually transmissible infections
and HIV/AIDS include:

      $9.8 million for the National Sexually Transmissible Infections Sexual Health
       Campaign which was launched in May 2009.
      $26.9 million in 2009-10 for prevention, education, surveillance and research.

      $12.5 million for increased awareness, improved surveillance and a pilot testing
       program for Chlamydia.

In addition, the Gillard Labor Government has provided a training package to assist aged
care providers dealing with gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) people. Federal
Labor amended the Aged Care Act 1997 to enable same-sex couples to enjoy the same
entitlements and obligations as other families for health and ageing programs.

The package, is being developed through a partnership with ACON, Australia’s largest
community-based GLBT health and HIV organisation, and the Aged and Community Services
Association of NSW and the ACT. The $400,000 package supports Federal Labor’s
determination that everyone in our society deserves to receive the same high quality
services in health and aged care.



Is your party committed to a funded national strategy to tackle homophobic and
transphobic violence and hate crime, including appropriate research on the nature and
extent of this hate crime, the gathering of relevant statistics by all Australian police
services, and the inclusion of domestic violence experienced by same sex families within
existing domestic violence policies and programs?

The Gillard Labor Government believes that Australia’s system of justice must provide
security for all Australians, including the victims of homophobic and transphobic violence
and hate crime.

Federal Labor supports a charter of rights for the victims of crime, based on the United
Nations Chart of Victims Rights, and laws providing for victim impact statements, the
provision of witness support and information, and standards for the treatment of victims by
the criminal justice system.

The Gillard Labor Government is committed to a zero tolerance approach to domestic
violence, and is taking action to reduce its incidence.

The Gillard Labor Government is in the final stages of the development of the National Plan
to Reduce Violence against Women. The National Plan will coordinate a national violence
prevention agenda across all States and Territories and improve the services provided to
women who are victims of violence.

The National Plan will cover a wide range of relationships, including de facto and same sex
partners.
Is your party committed to a funded national strategy to reduce the currently high rates of
suicide among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered and intersex people, as well as the
inclusion of homophobia and transphobia as an important causal factor within existing
anti-suicide programs?

A re-elected Gillard Labor Government has committed to redouble national efforts to
prevent the tragedy of suicide in order to reduce the toll it imposes on individuals, families
and communities.

Federal Labor will invest $276.9 million over four years to provide more services to those at
greatest risk of suicide, invest more in direct suicide prevention and crisis intervention,
provide more services and support to men, and promote good health and resilience in
young people.

The Gillard Labor Government recognises that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered and
intersex people are at greater risk of suicide. In response to this issue, Federal Labor will
provide $22.4 million to support community-led prevention activities targeted at groups and
communities which are at high risk of suicide, including lesbian, gay, bisexual,
transgendered and intersex people.

People at risk of suicide will also be helped through more psychological services for people
who have attempted or are at risk of suicide, increased funding for helplines such as Lifeline,
and improved safety at suicide ‘hotspots’ such as ‘the Gap’ in Sydney.



Is your party committed to multi-lateral and bi-lateral advocacy against discrimination and
persecution on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender-identity? Do you personally
support a UN resolution on sexual and gender identity discrimination?

Federal Labor believes that people are entitled to respect, equality, dignity and the
opportunity to participate in society free of hatred or harassment and receive the
protection of the law regardless of their sexuality or gender identity.

Australia, under the leadership of a Federal Labor Government, has made a number of
representations to promote and protect the human rights of all persons, regardless of their
sexual orientation and gender identify. Sexual orientation or gender identity must never be
the basis for discrimination, abuse, criminal action and penalties, detention or
imprisonment, or deprivation of any human right.

Australia’s representations have included encouraging all states to ensure adequate
protection of human rights defenders, and remove obstacles which prevent them from
carrying out their work on issues of human rights and sexual orientation and gender
identity.[1]

If re-elected, the Gillard Labor Government will continue to support this position at the
international level.



Is your party committed to implementing the recommendations of the Australian Human
Rights Commission’s ‘Sex Files Report’, including the recognition of the sex and gender
identity of transgender and intersex Australians on relevant official documents including
passports?

The recommendations in the Commission’s Report cover a number of areas of responsibility
at both the Federal and State and Territory level.

An interdepartmental working group has been established by the Federal Attorney-General
to consider the issues highlighted by, and to develop a consistent Commonwealth position
in response to, the Sex Files Report.

The working group will sit under the Human Rights Interdepartmental Committee and will
consist of federal departments and agencies with a particular interest in, or responsibility
for, the recording of gender in government documents.

If re-elected, a priority for the working group under the Gillard Labor Government will be to
conduct an audit of current requirements for the recording of gender in Federal
Government documents and records.

The Federal Attorney-General has also raised the recommendations which concern State
and Territory Governments with his State and Territory counterparts for their consideration.


Is your party committed to funding of, and consultation with, lesbian, gay, bisexual,
transgendered and intersex peak bodies on the same basis as other organisations
representing disadvantaged minority interests?

The Gillard Labor Government is committed to consulting with lesbian, gay, bisexual,
transgendered and intersex peak bodies on key issues that affect them.

Federal Labor established a new Ministerial Advisory Committee on Blood Borne Viruses
and Sexually Transmissible Infections in 2009. The Committee includes a number of
individuals with knowledge of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered and intersex issues, such


[1]
   Item 8 , CANZ Statement Delivered by Angela Robinson, Australian Permanent Mission on behalf of
Canada, New Zealand and Australia 23 March 2010 at
http://www.geneva.mission.gov.au/gene/statement98.html
as the current presidents of the National Association of People Living with HIV/AIDS in
Australia and the Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations.

The Gillard Labor Government has provided funding to key community based organisations
and peak bodies, including:

      About $880,000 for the National Association of People Living with HIV/AIDS in
       Australia in 2009-10.

      About $2.2 million for the Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations in 2009-10

      About $350,000 for ACON in 2009-10.

      About $1.5 million for the Australasian Society for HIV Medicine.

      About $134,000 for Youth Empowerment Against HIV/AIDS.

				
DOCUMENT INFO
Shared By:
Categories:
Tags:
Stats:
views:20
posted:11/10/2011
language:English
pages:7