Protecting the rights of LGBTIQ+ people
Equality Australia and activists from Minus 18 delivering a petition to Parliament House in Canberra. Photograph: Equality Australia.
When the Federal Government’s divisive Religious Discrimination Bill was shelved in early 2022, LGBTIQ+ advocate Anna Brown breathed a sigh of relief.
“Our community should take heart from this incredible result,” says Anna, Founding CEO of Equality Australia (EA) – a national organisation working to create a fair and inclusive Australia for LGBTIQ+ people and their families.
Intended to prohibit discrimination on the basis of religious belief or activity, the proposed Bill would have wound back hard-fought protections for LGBTIQ+ people, women, minority faith communities and people with disabilities.
“Our community’s efforts have stopped the Bill from becoming law and that’s certainly a win,” says Anna. “But this has been a really difficult time for our communities. LGBTIQ+ people, particularly trans young people and queer people of faith, have once again been the subject of intense scrutiny and political debate.”
Reflecting on EA’s collaboration with others concerned about the draft Bill, Anna says there has been an unintended upside of the past few months too.
“We have built stronger connections with faith communities, multicultural communities, people with disabilities, women and other affected communities.
“We now have this incredible network through which we’re building consensus about the importance of laws that protect us all equally.”
“The ongoing and flexible nature of Australian Communities Foundation’s support has helped us respond swiftly to changes in the political landscape.”
Australian Communities Foundation and the Impact Fund community are long-term supporters of EA’s work. In 2017, the Impact Fund supported the marriage equality campaign, out of which the organisation was established.
“The ongoing and flexible nature of Australian Communities Foundation’s support has helped us respond swiftly to changes in the political landscape,” says Anna.
“When the threat of the Religious Discrimination Bill first emerged in 2019, the Impact Fund’s flexible support helped us quickly shift gears. The more recent support earlier this year enabled us to increase our campaigning work as the debate around religious freedom gathered momentum.”