Human Rights Commissioner Campaign


In 2023 when the federal government announced a new process for the appointment of Commissioners to the Human Rights Commission, Just.Equal was quick to shout out: “Hey what about ours?”

We did this again when in November last year Attorney General, Mark Dreyfus, announced a new dedicated Commissioner for Privacy and Freedom of Information.

Australia’s only human rights body has specific Commissioners for Sex, Race, Age, Disability, Children, Aboriginal and Torres Strait islanders. There is no dedicated Commissioner to respond to and address LGBTIQA+ issues.

It was ALP policy to fix this until 2018 when Mr Albanese become Opposition Leader. Then the policy was dumped. Just.Equal maintains that this weakness in Australia’s human rights architecture is inexcusable, sending the message that LGBTIQA+ issues are less important than other forms of discrimination.

This is especially at a time when discrimination against LGBTIQA+ people is on the rise, most particularly attacks against trans identity and LGBTQA+ teachers and students in faith schools under the cloak of “religious freedom.”

More concerning is the federal government’s commitment to appoint a commissioner for Religious Freedom as part of its wider moves to cement a Religious Discrimination Bill into commonwealth law.

Without an LGBTIQA+ commissioner to balance this false narrative, our community is vulnerable to the mythology that rights and protections for LGBTIQA+ people can be legitimised when done in the name of faith.

Just.Equal has been pressing the government to appoint an LGBTIQA+ commissioner as a matter of urgency, reminding it that it said until 2018 this was highly important. We launched a petition and raised questions on this in parliament and senate estimates hearings and continue to do so.

As part of our success with this lobbying, the government has appointed an LGBTIQA+ researcher to work alongside the Sex Discrimination Commissioner. While welcome, this is a small step towards what’s really needed. 

Australia is almost alone in the western world as a jurisdiction with no substantive LGBTIQA+ representation on its human rights body.        

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