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Section 2 - The consultation methodology - Addressing sexual orientation and sex and/or gender identity discrimination: Consultation Report (2011)

Addressing sexual orientation

and sex and/or

gender identity

discrimination

Consultation Report

2011


Section 2 - The consultation methodology

The aim of this project was to conduct a targeted consultation regarding

protections from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and sex

and/or gender identity, and in particular to consider:

  • the possible inclusion of protections from discrimination on these grounds

    in federal discrimination law

  • any other measures that should be adopted as part of the National Action

    Plan on Human Rights.

The consultation involved the following

steps:

  • commissioning and publishing a Research Paper by Anna Chapman of the

    University of Melbourne, including an appendix of the specific definitions

    contained in state and territory anti-discrimination

    laws[4]

  • publishing a short Discussion Paper, based on the Research Paper, outlining

    existing legal protections from discrimination on the basis of sexual

    orientation and sex and/or gender identity in

    Australia[5]

  • calling for responses to the Discussion Paper
  • holding public roundtables in both Sydney and Melbourne (with participants

    from other locations given the opportunity to apply for funding to attend)

  • preparing a consultation report summarising the views expressed by

    participants throughout the consultation.

2.1 Background

papers

On 1 October 2010, the Commission released a Research Paper and a Discussion

Paper informing participants of the current legal protections from

discrimination and providing questions for response.

The Commission sought comments from interested individuals and organisations

regarding experiences of discrimination, the potential benefits of protection

from discrimination, and how such protections might be included in federal law.

2.2 How did people

contribute to the consultation?

People were invited to contribute to the consultation by:

  • attending one of the roundtables in either Sydney or Melbourne
  • sending in written comments by post or email
  • completing questions from an online feedback form.

The

Commission received responses from people in every state and in the Australian

Capital Territory.

The Commission acknowledges the considerable effort made by all individuals

and organisations that provided written comments, responded to the online

feedback form or attended the roundtables.

2.3 Written comments

The Commission received comments from over 150 individuals and organisations

(by written comment or in response to the online feedback form) including:

  • individuals and couples of a wide range of sexual orientations and sex

    and/or gender identities

  • parents, friends or family members of people who are lesbian, gay or

    bisexual

  • organisations representing lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex

    people

  • human rights, advocacy and legal bodies
  • non-government organisations
  • women’s rights organisations
  • unions
  • religious organisations
  • state and territory government agencies or statutory office holders
  • state equal opportunity commissions
  • academics.

Comments received were published on the

Commission’s website with the author’s permission. These comments

were unedited except where it was necessary to:

  • protect private information (for example, telephone numbers and private

    addresses were removed)

  • protect confidentiality (for example, names of third parties and

    participants at the roundtables were removed)

  • remove language that might be considered offensive.

2.4 How was online

feedback obtained?

The online feedback form was developed from questions in the Discussion

Paper. This format was designed to allow short and direct feedback from the

public.

The online feedback form was accessible from the Commission’s website

from 1 October until 26 November 2010.

Responses were received from 51 people, but only some participants responded

to every question. A summary of responses to the online feedback form is

available on the Commission’s

website.[6]

2.5 Consultation

roundtables

The Commission conducted roundtable meetings in Sydney on 28 October 2010 and

in Melbourne on 9 November 2010. The President of the Commission, Catherine

Branson QC, hosted these roundtables, which were facilitated by an independent

consultant.

In recognition of the diverse issues affecting LGBTI people in Australia,

each roundtable was divided into two sessions. In each location, one session

focused on issues relating to sexual orientation and the other on issues

relating to sex and/or gender identity.

Due to limitations in Commission resources, roundtables were only held in

Sydney and Melbourne. However, some funding was provided to enable a number of

people from other states and territories to attend.

It was important to create a safe space for participants to feel comfortable

sharing their experiences and views. As a result, the Commission undertook to

not identify participants who made comments at the roundtables in either

roundtable summaries or in this report.

A total number of 97 people attended the roundtables. Additionally, officers

of the Attorney-General’s Department attended in an observer capacity.

A summary of the roundtables is available on the Commission’s

website.[7]


[4] See: http://www.humanrights.gov.au/human_rights/lgbti/lgbticonsult/research_paper.html.
[5] See: http://www.humanrights.gov.au/human_rights/lgbti/lgbticonsult/discussion_paper.html.
[6] See: http://www.humanrights.gov.au/human_rights/lgbti/lgbticonsult/summary_web.html.
[7] See: http://www.humanrights.gov.au/human_rights/lgbti/lgbticonsult/index.html.