Policy: LGBTQI+ rights
Adopted at the 2022 AGM
Since 1963, NSWCCL has been at the forefront of arguments to advance the human rights and civil liberties of all. While NSWCCL has strongly supported LGBTQI+ rights in its advocacy, it does not have an updated formal policy. The purpose of this policy is to set out the framework for our advocacy in that regard.
This policy adopts the acronym LGBTQI+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex and others) for ease, but recognises that there are a myriad of other sexual orientations, gender identities and gender expressions to which this policy also relates.
Our first recorded policy on the issue was passed on 6 May 1970, which stated ‘That the policy of the Council for Civil Liberties be that sex relations between adults in private shall not be a criminal offence.’ In October 1973, NSWCCL reasserted that policy and further added, amongst other things, ‘there should be no discrimination against homosexuals on the basis of their homosexuality and that State and Commonwealth governments should act to ensure full and substantive equality to homosexuals’. NSWCCL also made submissions in support of marriage equality in both 2009 and 2017.
On 26 October 1994, the AGM passed a resolution which stated ‘That [ NSWCCL] calls on the Department of School Education to develop and implement a component of the curriculum on the social and cultural constructions of gender within a framework of Gender Studies’.
NSWCCL has also consistently made submissions which opposed attempts to further protect religious rights at the expense of LGBTQI+ rights. This included submissions to federal inquiries in 2019, 2020 and 2021 and state inquiries in 2020 and 2021.
Healthcare and education continue to be pressure points for the LGBTQI+ community where discrimination is particularly felt. As Sydney hosts World Pride in 2023, it is past time NSWCCL reaffirm support for the LGBTQI+ community.
That NSWCCL supports the LGBTQI+ community in their demands for equal rights and substantive equality. NSWCCL strongly opposes the privileging of other rights, including religious rights, so as to erode or deny the rights of LGBTQI+ persons. NSWCCL reaffirms our commitment to advocate for a human rights act or charter at both a NSW and Commonwealth level which conclusively resolves conflicts of rights.
In particular NSWCCL:
- Supports a ban on LGBTQI+ conversion practices. These are practices which attempt to ‘suppress, cure or change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. For example ‘gay cure therapy’ or gay exorcism.
- Strongly opposes recent attempts by religious groups and some governments to unwarrantedly privilege religious rights at the expense of LGBTQI+ rights.
- Opposes any discrimination against LGBTQI+ people in healthcare and educational settings.
- Supports a ban on the performance of unnecessary medical procedures on people born with innate variations of sex characteristics without their consent.
- Supports calls for an LGBTQI+ Commissioner being appointed to the Australian Human Rights Commission.
- Recognises conflicts of human rights must be dealt with on a case-by-case basis using the framework of international human rights law as a best practice guide.
NSWCCL submission to Productivity Commission on Mental Health
The Productivity Commission is currently conducting an inquiry into mental health. The NSW Council for Civil Liberties (CCL) submission to this inquiry is now online.
Our submission focuses on two issues. First, it addresses features of the justice system, and Aboriginal people with disabilities. It then turns to considering the social security systems, and how these contribute to mental health issues in Australia.Read more
Statements from political parties in response to questions on asylum seeker policies
9 May 2019
- How will you support the implementation of the Medivac Bill to provide medical assistance to sick and injured Men currently in detention on Manus and Nauru?
The Greens sponsored the Medivac amendment to the Home Affairs Bill that created the process to allow sick refugees and people seeking asylum, on medical advice from two or more treating doctors, to be transferred from Manus Island and Nauru to Australia for medical treatment. We fully support those currently detained in Australia's offshore detention regime being able to receive urgent medical treatment in Australia.
The Greens do not support offshore detention, and outsourcing our responsibilities and duty of care to people seeking asylum in Australia. We believe the most appropriate healthcare for these traumatised and vulnerable people is on mainland Australia, provided by established medical and allied health services. But until every refugee and person seeking asylum held in offshore detention is brought to safety and freedom in Australia, the Australian Greens will do all it can to ensure all people in offshore detention have access to appropriate GP and specialist medical care, including telemedicine.Read more
Policy statement (2017) - voluntary assisted dying
The NSW Council for Civil Liberties has long supported the legalisation of Voluntary Assisted Dying measures. While noting that, compared with existing VAD legislation in other jurisdictions, it is very conservative, the NSWCCL will actively campaign for the passage of the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill currently before the NSW Parliament.
Stephen Blanks comments that what is not before the public is advanced legislation in NSW and it will come to the table 15 November or sometime later next month. We have a motion which is very timely and in reflection in our long support the bill before the NSW parliament.
Policy statement (2017) - national integrity (anti-corruption) commission
The NSW Council for Civil Liberties, alarmed at the corrosive effect of pervasive and serious corruption within, and related to, Government and public administration at the national level, strongly supports the urgent need for a national anti-corruption body.
This body should have a broad ambit across public administration (core public service bodies and public sector corporations), public sector contractors and parliament and politicians.
While such a body must have effective power to address current corruption, there must also be effective constraints and transparent oversight to ensure that the balance between the protection of individual rights and the fight against serious corruption is as well balanced as can be devised.
Policy statement (2017) - national human rights charter
The NSW Council for Civil Liberties reaffirms its long standing active support for a national human rights charter.
The recurrent resistance of Australia’s politicians to a number of widely supported attempts to introduce a national human rights bill/charter over the last 44 years has left Australia as the only liberal democracy without either constitutional or statutory broad protection for fundamental human rights.
This has been a significant factor in allowing the proliferation of national laws which seriously and unwarrantedly breach human rights and liberties. The extreme manifestations of this trend in the areas of counter-terrorism and refugee law and policy in recent years necessitates a renewed community effort.
The NSWCCL will again give priority to joining other progressive bodies to campaign for an Australian Human Rights Bill in the context of the next federal election.
Policy statement (2017) - marriage equality
The NSW Council for Civil Liberties, consistent with its long-standing support for GLBT rights, strongly supports marriage equality and urges the Australian Government and/or the National Parliament to amend the Marriage Act 1961 to achieve this equality.
The current same sex marriage statistical survey is an inappropriate, seriously flawed and undemocratic exercise intent on delaying Parliament addressing the issue and generating divisive and harmful debate. Nonetheless, NSWCCL strongly urges the community to register a “Yes” vote so that Government has no excuse to further delay legislative action on this matter.
Regardless of the outcome of the flawed survey, NSWCCL urges the Australian Government and/or Parliament to address the issue in this parliamentary term and introduce and pass a marriage equality amendment consistent with clear majority support within the Australian community.
CCL opposes any weakening of anti-discrimination laws in connection with the passage of the legislation.
Policy statement (2017) - defence of the union movement
NSWCCL affirms the role of unions as an essential part of the Australian democracy in the defence of workers’ rights and affirms their right to support other organisations whose activities accord with their own.
Policy statement (2016) - Juvenile justice
1. NSWCCL advocates for a juvenile justice system that:
- Prioritises the child’s best interests, including that it provides education equivalent to their rights within the community
- Caters for children’s specific needs, particularly in relation to age, physical and mental wellbeing and cultural background;
- Aims towards rehabilitation and social integration, not punishment, with detention only used as an absolute last resort in exceptional circumstances and for the shortest appropriate period of time;
- Upholds children’s rights, including the right to liberty, security, freedom from arbitrary detention, and to a fair trial;
- Ensures accessible and well-funded legal and social support services for children;
- Treats children with respect and dignity;
- Protects children from torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment;
- Preserves a child’s relationship with family and community; and
- Together with other social and educational institutions, undertakes proactive, preventative measures to divert young people from the criminal justice system and prevent re-offending.
2. In light of Australia’s human rights obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and associated United Nations juvenile justice guidelines, NSWCCL calls for:
- The minimum age of children’s criminal responsibility to be raised from 10 to 12 years old across all Australian states and territories;
- The maximum age of criminal responsibility for young people to be raised to 18 years old;
- The abolition of mandatory sentencing for children and young people;
- The reduction of rates of young people in detention pre-trial on remand;
- Clearer and more consistent prohibitions on punishment for children in detention across all states and territories;
- The separation of young people younger than 18 years from adults in detention facilities, accompanied by the removal of Australia’s reservations to Articles 10(2)(b) and (3) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and Article 37(c) of the Convention on the Rights of the Child; and
- Ratification of the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, and the Third Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
3. NSWCCL supports policies aimed at reducing the incarceration rates of young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. These policies should be developed in a way that is consistent with their rights under the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, including but not limited to the right to self-determination, autonomy and freedom from discrimination.Read more
Policy statement (2016) - marriage equality
AGM, October 2016.
NSWCCL supports amending the law on marriage so that no discrimination is made between prospective spouses on the basis of their sex; in particular, so that same sex couples can be married, and that those who have same sex marriages they have entered into overseas are recognised as married in Australia.
The arguments supporting this policy position are set out in the following submissions listed below:
NSW Legislative Council’s Standing Committee on Social Issues Inquiry into Same Sex Marriage Law in NSW
Senate Legal and Constitutional Committee concerning the Marriage Equality Amendment Bill 2010
Senate Legal and Constitutional Committee concerning the Marriage Equality Amendment Bill 2009