OK, I think we need a palate cleanser after that, and since I’m still in Eurovision mode (yes, I’m watching the show a second time tonight), and I’ve heard at least two people this weekend refer to Eurovision as ‘Gay Christmas’, what better time to visit the Australian Equality Party – which is listed on the AEC website as the Australian Equality Party (Marriage)?
According to their front page “The Australian Equality Party is a proud new voice in Australian politics that aims to promote fairness, human rights and equality for all Australians.”
I am on board with this. I am on board with this entire party.
The Australian Equality Party is a broad based human rights party that has the well-being of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) Australians at its heart.
This also works for me.
The AEP’s front page talks about acknowledging and valuing diversity, being inclusive of people of all ages, genders, sexualities, cultural backgrounds and religious affiliations. They want to be an independent political voice for LGBTIQ Australians and their families.
So far, so unsurprising. Actually, this is probably going to be one of my less point-ful political posts, because I suspect 90% of people reading this blog knew whether they liked this party or not by the end of my first paragraph. But I’m damned if I’m going to write 2500 words about a bunch of nasty-minded racists and then only give 250 words to a party I actually like. Onward!
On their ‘what we stand for’ page, I’m tempted to quote the whole page, because it’s short and awesome. But I don’t want to plagiarise the entire site. Here’s the first bit:
The Australian Equality Party (AEP) aims to bring a compassionate and explicitly human rights based perspective to Australian politics.
The AEP believes in individuals creating change, educating the community, and the power of sharing personal experiences, and they affirm the dignity of everyone and want Australia to be inclusive, safer, and kinder. They want to focus on what unites us as a community, rather than our differences. And – ha! Their party leader is a Brunswick lad! Of course he is. I knew this party felt like home! In fact, this seems to be a very Melbourne-based party. I am feeling a sense of Melbourne pride. Or should that be Melbourne Pride? Their committee has a really lovely range of experience and knowledge – we have a teacher, a psychologist, a union organiser, an accountant, an advocate for women and people with disabilities, a two first-generation Australians, an engineer and soldier, a theologian, and an expert on ex-gay therapies (and why they do not work, I hasten to add). Pretty cool. It’s largely young faces, and mostly white ones, while we are running demographics. I wonder how reflective that is of the LGBTIQ community in Australia?
On to the policy page!
The AEP will work to ensure that the needs of all Australians, in a context of diverse sexual orientation, gender identity and intersex status, are reflected in the current political landscape. All policies will be anchored in the following three values and will relate to all Australians.
The ability of all Australians to choose and pursue the same opportunities as others without experiencing significantly more barriers than any other person.
A just Australia that protects all people from discrimination, inequality and the abuse of power in all spheres of life.
Self-determination for all people in a context of individual freedoms, needs and wants, through legislation and a dedicated charter of human rights.
They also note that while they have endeavoured to seek appropriate representation of the various LGBTIQ community, policy development is an ongoing thing, and they welcome feedback and open dialogue.
(I don’t want to be cynical here, because I like this lot, but my slightly evil side notes that it is always the *new* left wing parties who are keen to foster open dialogue. I suspect this is a strong indicator of how long a party has been registered and on the radar. The ones who have been around for a while know just what sort of open dialogue they are going to get if they leave statements like that lying around for anyone to read, and while they tend to be open to dialogue, they advertise it a lot less.)
They have 20 policies, each of which is outlined in a single sentence. I’m not sure how best to summarise these without copying them. Actually, I am sure, because reading down that list is both pleasing and depressing. It talks about marriage equality, looking after LGBTIQ families, protection against discrimination for LGBTIQ people, LGBTIQ education outcomes, LGBTIQ health, LGBTIQ refugees, LGBTIQ people with disabilities, LGBTIQ people in the criminal justice system, LGBTIQ Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, recognition of LGBTIQ people’s contributions – in short, it talks about ensuring equality for and the safety of LGBTIQ people in every possible situation. I am way out on the left of the political spectrum, and I have a number of friends in the LGBTIQ community, and a scary number of these things are not things that it had ever occurred to me to be aware of as areas where LGBTIQ need to be considered. (The other interesting thing about this is that if you replaced LGBTIQ people with women in their policy statements, they are all things that I absolutely am aware of as needing to be addressed from a feminist perspective.)
Essentially, these policies boil down to: “We are people, and we are here, and we are affected by all policies – social, economic, domestic or foreign – and these policies therefore need to recognise us and make space for us to be safe and live productive lives.”
Which shouldn’t need to be said.