Labor pledges $1.4m for LGBTI champion


Lesbian, gay, transgender and intersex Australians would have a champion in the form of a LGBTI discrimination commissioner under a federal Labor government.

Senator Penny Wong announced Labor, if elected in July, would appoint a fulltime commissioner to the Australian Human Rights Commission dedicated to making schools, workplaces and communities safer and more secure for LGBTI Australians.

Labor was committed to stamping out all remaining cultural and structural discrimination against LGBTI, Senator Wong said at the Rainbow Labor campaign launch in Melbourne.

"The commissioner will ensure lesbians, gays, transgender and intersex Australians live in a safer, more secure and more inclusive society."

The announcement comes on top of a pledge that a Federal Labor government would introduce marriage equality legislation within the first 100 days of government.

A plebiscite on marriage equality would be harmful, hurtful and divisive, Senator Wong said.

"The Marriage Act contains one of the last forms of legislated discrimination in Australia ... it's time it changed."

Shadow attorney-general Mark Dreyfus said Labor would provide $1.4 million to fund the creation of a discrimination commissioner to champion the rights of LGBTI Australians.

A 2015 report by the Human Rights Commission said the rate of suicide for LGBT people was between 3.5 and 14 times higher than the general population and LGBTI people were significantly more likely to be diagnosed with depression or anxiety.

"LGBTI Australians are continuing to experience discrimination. That's what we want to work against," Mr Dreyfus said.

"We think a specialised commissioner is going to assist that task."