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LGBTQIA+ Rights - Speech on Amendments to Public Sector Bill 2022

The following speech concerned amendments moved by Amy to the Public Sector Bill. These amendments (voted down by the government) would have included LGBTQIA+ people in the bill's provisions pertaining to diversity and inclusivity target groups. Shortly after, the government guillotined debate on the bill to prevent discussion of further amendments to improve public sector workers' access to permanent employment.

I move the following

amendment— 1 Clause 25 (Definitions for chapter) Page 40, after line 23—


(da) people with diverse sexual orientations, gender identities or intersex variations;

I table the explanatory notes to my amendment and the statement of compatibility with human

Tabled paper: Public Sector Bill 2022, explanatory notes to Dr Amy MacMahon’s amendments.
Tabled paper: Public Sector Bill 2022, statement of compatibility with human rights contained in Dr Amy MacMahon’s amendments.

This amendment would include LGBTIQ+ people in the bill’s diversity target groups alongside women, First Nations people, disabled people and people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. A schoolteacher, via the Queensland Teachers’ Union, submitted the following to the committee—

I had applied for a job as a principal and won the position. As soon as my sexuality was divulged, the college took that position away from me. There were community discussions held without me being present, and I was compared to being a paedophile.

It is ludicrous to suggest that LGBTIQ+ people do not face discrimination in the public sector or that they are fairly treated and represented in the Public Service. The Queensland Teachers’ Union raised in their submission that the disadvantage experienced by members of the LGBTIQ+ community warrants their inclusion as a fifth diversity target group. They noted the government’s assertion that there is no evidence base to suggest that LGBTIQ+ people require a targeted response, but they reject it. The Human Rights Commission also agrees that this government should be including LGBTIQ+ people in the diversity target groups as does the Queensland Nurses and Midwives Union, the Queensland Council of Unions and the Australian Services Union.

It is so important for young people that the identities and experiences of their mentors correlate with their own. This is true not only for young LGBTIQ+ people but also for young people who are women, disabled, First Nations or from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. The benefits to the public when the Public Service is representative of the people they serve and represent is not limited to teaching. It is essential that our Public Service is representative of the people it serves for it to operate effectively, efficiently and with compassion and fairness. I am calling on the government, in this chamber, to stand up for queer rights, for trans rights, for the rights of intersex people and for the rights of the entire LGBTIQ+ community.

Minister for Industrial Relations:
We do not support this amendment. I am very supportive of the LGBT-queer-plus community. The visibility of this cohort is enhanced under the bill by requiring entities to promote a culture of respect and inclusion, including for people of diverse sexual orientations, gender identities or intersex variations. Expressing this as a target group—and we have had discussions with some of those—in a way, and as the parent of a non-binary child, is asking them to disclose their gender orientation, their sexuality or whether they are a member of the LGBT-queer-plus community. In many cases workers may not want to do that. They may choose not to disclose whether they are a member of those communities. By making this a target group somehow there will be a need to report.

[The Greens maintain that this is categorically false and deliberately misleading. There is no requirement for any person belonging to a diversity target group in the bill to have to disclose that they are a member.]

The Special Commissioner, Equity and Diversity, will use data collected through the Working for Queensland survey to inform future policy directions, but that is where somebody decides, of their own accord, to offer that information. To have this as a group and somehow want to have a target and ask people these questions—sometimes they may be very comfortable in answering those questions; in other cases they may not. They may still be transitioning, they may still be on a journey and they may still be trying to find their niche in this world. My child is one of them and I am sure many others in this place know people on a similar journey.

That is the main reason we have all of the protections. This is not about discrimination. What the member outlined is direct discrimination. That is completely separate to this area in the bill. Read it. Understand it. For that reason, we do not support it.

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