Despite some progress, there remain important gaps in anti-discrimination protection at both state and federal levels.
The implementation of a federal anti-discrimination protection on the grounds of sexual orientation, gender identity and intersex status in 2013 was significant. But this piecemeal reform left significant gaps for discrimination to legally occur against LGBTI Australians.
At a federal level, religious organisations continue to receive wide-ranging exemptions from anti-discrimination law. This means that a religious school can expel a student or fire a teacher on account of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Similar discrimination can occur legally in hospitals or homelessness and domestic violence services.
The only exception to this is in the provision of aged care services that are federally funded and we are seeking to build on this important exception. We are working towards the removal of all exemptions in every publicly funded service provision at a minimum.
At a state level, similar religious exemptions apply. Moreover, the Anti Discrimination Act 1977 contains outdated terminology and doesn’t protect bisexual or intersex people at all.
The NSW Parliament has this year shown significant leadership in reforming the state vilification laws, improving the process and penalties relating to reporting of vilification – including vilification against LGBTI people.
We believe the NSW Parliament can show leadership again to reform its outdated anti-discrimination laws.