Advocates have welcomed the appointment of the Tasmanian Labor Party’s new LGBTIQA+ equality spokesperson, Ella Haddad.
They have called on the state Liberal Party to create a similar position.
“We thank Labor’s outgoing equality spokesperson, Michelle O’Byrne, for her dedication to dignity and equality for LGBTIQA+ Tasmanians and welcome Ella Haddad in the role,” said Equality Tasmania spokesperson Rodney Croome.
O’Byrne was Tasmanian Labor’s inaugural LGBTIQA+ equality spokesperson.
“Ella is a long-time ally of LGBTIQA+ people and will be a strong voice for us in shadow cabinet,” said Croome.
“We call on the Tasmanian Liberal Party to follow Labor’s lead and establish its own LGBTIQA+ equality portfolio.
“We also call on Federal Labor to re-establish its LGBTIQA+ equality portfolio, which was abolished after the last federal election.”
Croome said that an equality portfolio represents a valuable way to ensure that government policy includes and responds to the needs of the LGBTIQA+ community.
“Along with other groups with ministerial portfolios like Indigenous people, women, people with disability, young people, the elderly, veterans, and multicultural communities, LGBTIQA+ people deserve a voice at the table of government decision-making,” he said.
Haddad played a key role in the passage of Tasmania’s landmark gender laws in 2019.
A report last year by the Tasmanian Law Reform Institute supported the progressive new laws and found no negative consequences.
Haddad has 17 years of experience working in the state’s health and community sectors and has stated her commitment to priorities including healthcare and housing affordability.
Tasmania has world-leading anti-discrimination laws protecting LGBTIQA+ people as well as other marginalised groups from mistreatment.
However, a University of Tasmania report recently found that LGBTIQ+ Tasmanians still face poorer living standards than others in the state, including lower income, higher unemployment, more housing stress, poorer health, and much lower personal safety.
Equality Tasmania called on the State Government to focus on addressing these areas to improve the standard of living for LGBTIQA+ Tasmanians.