Action on Victorian discrimination laws needed on Wear It Purple Day


The Victorian Greens have called on the Victorian Government to stop delaying action on protecting LGBTQ+ Victorians from discrimination, by removing religious exemptions from the state’s Equal Opportunity Act.

Gaps in the state’s current equal opportunity laws allow religious schools and organisations to fire, expel, or discriminate against someone on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

These exemptions can have a devastating impact on LGBTQ+ people, who feel forced to hide who they are for fear of losing their job or being kicked out of school. They also exacerbate the already disproportionate rates of depression, self-harm and suicide faced by LGBTQ+ communities. 

Ahead of the 2018 state election, the Andrews Government made commitments to fix these gaps so that schools would no longer be able to discriminate against LGBTQ+ staff and students, but to date the government has done nothing.

Victorian Greens LGBTQ+ spokesperson, Sam Hibbins, said on Wear It Purple Day it was important to both celebrate our diverse LGBTIQA+ communities while also recognising the discrimination they continue to face on a daily basis.

He added that the government was best placed to introduce laws to remove the exemptions now with a supportive parliament, and that if it waited until the next term, legislation may face difficulty passing a potentially hostile upper house. 

For years the Greens have moved to get rid of the discriminatory religious exemptions in our Equal Opportunity Act, however these attempts have been voted down by the state Labor and Liberal parties.

If the government doesn’t move on this in Parliament soon, the Greens will.

Quotes attributable to Victorian Greens LGBTIQA+ spokesperson, Sam Hibbins MP:

“The laws as they stand are insidious. No-one should live in fear of losing their job or being kicked out of school for who they love or how they identify, but that’s exactly what these harmful exemptions are doing.

“Victorians are rightly outraged when LGBTIQA+ are discriminated against, and are deeply disappointed the Andrews Labor Government has so far refused to act.

“If the government doesn't move on this in Parliament soon, the Greens will.”