SENATOR THE HON PENNY WONG

LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION IN THE SENATE

SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS

SENATOR FOR SOUTH AUSTRALIA

MARK DREYFUS QC MP

SHADOW ATTORNEY-GENERAL

SHADOW MINISTER FOR NATIONAL SECURITY

MEMBER FOR ISAACS

SENATOR LOUISE PRATT

SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR UNIVERSITIES

SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR EQUALITY

CHAIR OF LEGAL AND CONSTITUTIONAL AFFAIRS REFERENCES COMMITTEE

SENATOR FOR WESTERN AUSTRALIA

JOINT MEDIA RELEASE

3 December 2018

GOVERNMENT AND CENTRE ALLIANCE BLOCK VOTE TO PROTECT STUDENTS

Government Senators have teamed up with Centre Alliance to block a vote to remove exemptions in the Sex Discrimination Act relating to discrimination against LGBTIQ kids – in breach of Prime Minister Morrison’s commitment to deal with the matter urgently.

Their decision helps the Government prevent this important bill being debated or voted on in the Senate before Christmas.

It means LGBTIQ kids now face the prospect of returning to school next year knowing they can be expelled simply for being gay.

Labor’s bill was a straightforward repeal of the relevant sections of the Sex Discrimination Act – exactly what Scott Morrison promised he would do in the lead up to the Wentworth by-election:

To address this issue I will be taking action to ensure amendments are introduced as soon as practicable to make it clear that no student of a non-state school should be expelled on the basis of their sexuality.
I believe this view is shared across the Parliament and we should use the next fortnight to ensure this matter is addressed.

  • Scott Morrison press release, 13 October 2018

There is only one explanation for the Government’s shameful backflip in the Senate – it is terrified of losing a vote on the floor of the House of Representatives.

This is the point we have reached – the Government is so chaotic, so divided and so dysfunctional it can’t even allow something as simple and straightforward as a bill to protect school kids from discrimination, even when the Prime Minister has promised to deal with the matter urgently.

Labor will not give up on LGBTIQ students, even though the Government and Centre Alliance have turned their backs on vulnerable children in the most shameful way and we have given notice that we will move tomorrow to again bring this important bill to a vote this week.

Authorised by Noah Carroll, ALP, Canberra.