By now, you’ve probably heard that the Australian Federal Police is launching a “sexually-orientated test” in 2017, and that it will only be used for “sexual orientation” questions.
The announcement has been met with shock, disbelief and mockery online.
The answer lies in the Australian Government’s approach to the law on discrimination.
The law, which comes into force in March 2018, is designed to help prevent discrimination based on sexual orientation, but also has a range of other aspects that impact on gay people.
This includes: discrimination on the basis of race, colour, national or ethnic origin, gender identity or expression, religion, disability, age, sexual orientation or disability.
There are also a number of other restrictions that apply to people with sexual orientation.
These include not being able to be fired from your job, not being allowed to enter into a civil partnership, not having access to a pension or insurance, and not being entitled to any social assistance payments.
The law is also meant to protect the rights of gay people, who may be more likely to be discriminated against in the workplace and in the public sphere.
However, in the eyes of the Australian government, discrimination against sexual orientation is discrimination based solely on sexual preference, and therefore is not protected.
While the Federal Government has been vocal in its support for the law, it has also come under fire for failing to protect gay people from discrimination.
Last month, the Australian Greens called for the Federal Parliament to pass a law to “protect and advance the rights and dignity of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Australians”.
Greens Senator Scott Ludlam and Equality Tasmania’s Dr Stephen O’Brien have both called for legislation to be introduced.
As a result of the recent backlash, Senator Ludlam has called on the Government to clarify its position on the law.
“It’s a bit strange that the Prime Minister is supporting an anti-discrimination law, when the law itself says it doesn’t discriminate against sexual preference,” Senator Ludlman said.
“The fact that the Minister for Equality and Diversity, Scott Ludlham, is actually talking about this should give all Australians a clear indication that we should really be doing more to protect and advance sexual orientation rights.”
While the Prime Minster has repeatedly said he is in favour of equality, the laws stance has become a hot topic in recent weeks.
In September, Senator O’Donnell was among the first members of the Senate to publicly voice support for Senator Ludman’s call for a law that protects sexual orientation and that applies equally to men and women.
Senator O’Donovan told a group of gay and lesbian people in Hobart that while the law is still “a bit unclear”, he is not opposed to the Government working to change it.
“What we need to do is get the Government in a position to say, ‘I understand that this is a sensitive issue for a lot of Australians, and we need this to be more protected in this way’,” Senator ODonovan said.
He also called on Senator Ludmjohn to clarify whether he intends to support Senator Ludlin’s calls to have the law changed to include sexual orientation as a protected characteristic.
“We know that many Australians don’t understand that sexual orientation doesn’t just apply to men, it applies to women, too,” Senator Odonovan said, referring to a recent ABC report on a number in the community who claimed that sexual orientations were a different matter.
“So we’re in a really bad position if we don’t do anything about it.
It is not a question of whether we should be in the same boat with them, but it is a question about whether we are in the boat with our allies in the Senate.”
In an interview with ABC radio on Tuesday, Senator Pauline Hanson said she would be open to a bill to include LGBTIQIQ people in the definition of sexual orientation in the law that she would introduce to Parliament.
“I’m open to whatever form that will take, I think it’s fair to say that in the current context it’s quite hard to get the right balance in the bill,” Senator Hanson said.
Senator Hanson also made clear she was open to the idea of having a separate section for “sex-positive” people, and a section for those who have an “anti-gay” bias.
“There’s a whole lot of really interesting ideas that come out of Australia that I’ve never heard of, but I’m open for whatever is going to come out, and I’d like to see a bill that actually has the power to protect LGBTIQ Australians in a way that doesn’t exclude them from the protections that they are entitled to,” Senator Paulina Hanson said in the interview.
“For me to just say, oh well, it’s going to be an issue that will have to be worked out in a different way, I don’t know, maybe I will, but then again, I