Victoria’s Minister for Equality Harriet Shing and Premier Daniel Andrews.
Victoria’s Daniel Andrews-led Labor government has committed to investing over $22.2 million to support LGBTQI community organisations, pride events and health services if re-elected. In the leadup to the state elections, the Andrews government has pitted its equality policies against Matt Guy-led Liberals’ support for anti-LGBTQI candidates and changing Victoria’s anti-discrimination laws.
“Only Labor is doing what matters – reinforcing that equality is not negotiable in Victoria,” Premier Andrews said in a statement. “We’re proud to stand with LGBTIQ+ communities against discrimination and hate and make sure they are supported, safe, celebrated and equal.”
In 2016, the Premiere delivered an apology to the LGBTQI community for historical convictions under laws that criminalised homosexuality, becoming the first government in the world to do so.
LGBTQI Law Reforms In Victoria
The important law reforms that Labor has passed in Parliament, include enacting a “world-leading” law to ban conversion practices, legalising gay adoptions, making it easier for trans persons to change the sex marker in their birth certificates without undergoing surgery, amendments to the Equal Opportunity Act to protect LGBTQI students in religious schools and setting up Australia’s first LGBTQI community hub, the Victorian Pride Centre.
The Labor government has said that if re-elected it would invest $9.7 million to boost the number of Rainbow Tick accredited community and mental health providers to 200 and has committed $4.5 million for Pride in Ageing, a pilot program that will address the needs of ageing LGBTQI Victorians.
The government has also pledged $8 million to community organisations including Midsumma, Switchboard, JOY 94.9, Minus8 and the Melbourne Queer Film Festival.
‘Labor Will Support LGBTQI Victorians’
“We have banned conversion therapy, funded Safe Schools and delivered the first state-wide celebration of LGBTIQ+ Victorians. Only Labor will support LGBTIQ+ Victorians and continue to make sure our communities are safe and celebrated – because only Labor will keep doing what matters,” said Minister for Equality Harriet Shing.
Shing, Victoria’s first out lesbian member of Parliament, pointed to the Liberal Party’s record on LGBTQI rights. “You can’t trust Matthew Guy’s Liberals on equality when they’ve already said they’ll cut Safe Schools and the Equal Opportunity Act – endangering the lives and jobs of LGBTIQ+ Victorians – and Matthew Guy has personally endorsed homophobic and transphobic candidates,” said Shing.
“The coalition is prepared to trade off our rights, our dignity, our pride and our visibility in the name of a cheap political narrative. It’s all too easy for the Liberals to make us into a political football. We’ve seen it time and time again and this state election is no different,” said the Minister.
While Deputy Liberal leader David Southwick gave a personal “iron-clad guarantee” that the LGBTQI community would be protected from discrimination if the Coalition is elected to form the government, Guy has refused to disendorse anti-LGBTQI candidates. Last month, Victorian Liberal leader Guy promised to change the law so that religious schools could hire staff on the basis of their faith and allow them to discriminate against LGBTQI staff.
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