SHINE SA a signatory to the South Australian joint statement against the Religious Discrimination Bill

February 27th, 2020

We the undersigned represent a range of researchers, community service organisations and advocacy groups that support communities throughout South Australia. We are united in our concerns about the draft Religious Discrimination Bill and its potential to cause harm to the communities we serve.

We respect the diversity of Australia and celebrate the multitude of beliefs, identities and cultures that co-exist within our society. We likewise celebrate the various faiths throughout Australia and value the ability for such diverse communities to exist media rpeacefully with one another.

While we respect the Government’s intent to craft a Religious Discrimination Bill that will protect religious Australians from being discriminated against, we are deeply concerned that the current Bill goes too far. Anti-discrimination legislation should protect people from being discriminated against, but this Bill will allow religious Australians, and religious organisations, to discriminate against people who are different from them.

All Australians should be protected equally by the law, regardless of who they are or what they believe. It is for this reason that we call on the Government to reconsider this Bill to ensure that any legislation that is passed protects all of us from discrimination rather than handing some Australians a license to discriminate against others.
For the sake of Australia’s harmonious diversity, we ask all Federal politicians to stand with us in finding a better way forward.

Signed by:

• Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (SA Branch)
• Child and Family Focus SA
• COTA SA
• Justice for Refugees SA
• Public Law and Policy Research Unit
• SA Lived Experience Leadership & Advocacy Network (LELAN)
• SA Unions
• SHINE SA
• SOS Copper Coast Suicide Prevention Network
• South Australian Council of Social Service (SACOSS)
• South Australian Network of Drug & Alcohol Services (SANDAS)
• South Australian Rainbow Advocacy Alliance (SARAA)
• St John’s Youth Services
• Youth Affairs Council of South Australia (YACSA)

“SARAA believes in an Australia free from discrimination, but the Religious Discrimination Bill won’t accomplish this. The law should protect people from discrimination, not give a right to discriminate. LGBTIQ South Australians have been clear that they don’t support the current Bill and SARAA is pleased to see so many other organisations taking a stand against it, too. We know this Bill will harm many sections of Australian society and we hope the government will listen to our concerns to find a better way forward.”

– Matthew Morris, Chair, South Australian Rainbow Advocacy Alliance 

“Fourteen community organisations and research groups have come together through the Rights Resource Network SA to raise their voice about the impact of the draft Religious Discrimination Bill on the lives of South Australians.  We have our own system of equal opportunity laws in this state that businesses, community organisations and individuals comply with and rely upon.  They are not perfect, but they don’t deserve to be overridden by proposed federal laws that will elevate the rights of some over the rights of others.  Rather than go ahead with this legally complex and divisive proposal, these thirteen diverse organisations urge the Federal Government start again when it comes to designing legal protections against religious discrimination.  We urge South Australian federal and state Members of Parliament to listen to the concerns of their constituents when it comes to responding to this draft Bill.”

Dr Sarah Moulds, Co-Founder, Rights Resource Network SA and Senior Lecturer in Law the University of South Australia

“There are already a range of existing federal and state laws specifically designed to eliminate discrimination – particularly when it comes to employment. This legislation will create enormous uncertainty about the operation of these laws and will also introduce a considerable compliance burden for all businesses including community sector organisations. SACOSS believes it would be preferable to address any concerns about securing “religious freedoms” using the same framework established in existing discrimination laws.  If not, then one of the best ways we to protect crucial human rights and freedoms would be through the development of a national Bill/Charter of Rights. It is absolutely imperative this proposed Bill is either voted down or properly amended to ensure key issues are addressed so that harmonious and co-operative Australian workplaces are not compromised and that all Australians have their rights enabled.”

– Ross Womersley, CEO of the South Australian Council of Social Service 

“The Religious Discrimination Bill does nothing to improve protections against discrimination on the grounds of religion. In fact, it makes the situation worse for tens of thousands of South Australian workers in religious aged care facilities, hospitals, accommodation providers, educational bodies, and charitable institutions. Not only are those workers expressly excluded from the Bill’s protection, but discrimination against them based on their personal religious belief or activity is specifically permitted and encouraged by the Bill. In addition, all workers in the public sector are completely excluded from protections. The Bill will create a risk of increased confusion, conflict, uncertainty and harm in Australian workplaces and should not be passed in its current form.”

Angas Story, Secretary SA Unions

 

Call for allies to step up with LGBTQ distress ‘worse than after postal survey’

Sydney Morning Herald, February 23, 2020

Four out of five LGBTQ+ people say they feel worse now than they did after the “yes” vote on same-sex marriage, describing the debate over religious discrimination as “Marriage Equality 2.0” because it is amplifying negative voices.

The findings are from the Make Love Louder report by Macquarie University researcher Shirleene Robinson.

It found three out of four LGBTQ+ Australians have personally experienced negativity or discrimination on the basis of their sexual or gender identity and one in four experience it on a daily basis. For transgender Australians, four out of five have experienced it, two out of five on a daily basis.

The research suggests 63 per cent of Australians support the LGBTQ+ community, but three out of four of these, dubbed allies, are “silent supporters”. Dr Robinson said it was important for allies to be vocal to “make love louder than hate”.

Meanwhile, separate research by mental health charity Headspace found most LGBTQ+ young people experience high or very high psychological distress.

 

 

Psychosocial mediators of perceived stigma and suicidal ideation among transgender women

Kota, K.K., Salazar, L.F., Culbreth, R.E. et al. Psychosocial mediators of perceived stigma and suicidal ideation among transgender women. BMC Public Health 20125 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-020-8177-z

Abstract

Background

Transgender women (TGW) in the U.S. experience high rates of stigma, depression, and elevated rates of suicide. This study examined correlates of suicidal ideation and estimated the conditional indirect effects of perceived stigma and psychosocial mediators on suicidal ideation.

Methods

Using a cross-sectional study design, TGW (N = 92) were recruited through snowball sampling in Atlanta, Georgia. Structured interviews were conducted. Suicidal ideation was assessed by combining two variables that measured suicidal thoughts. Logistic regression models were performed to identify the potential risk and protective factors for suicidal ideation. We examined hypothesized psychosocial factors, including anxiety, depression, psychosocial impact of gender minority status, and substance use behaviors as potential mediators for the relationship between perceived stigma and suicidal ideation. All models were controlled for age, race, education, and homelessness.

Results

Suicidal ideation was reported by 33% (N = 30) of the study participants. In multivariable analysis, suicidal ideation was associated with sexual abuse (AOR = 3.17, 95% CI = 1.10–9.30), anxiety (AOR = 1.74, 95% CI = 1.10–2.73), family verbal abuse (AOR = 2.99, 95% CI = 1.10–8.40), stranger verbal abuse (AOR = 3.21, 95% CI = 1.02–10.08), and psychosocial impact of gender minority status (AOR = 3.42, 95% CI = 1.81–6.46). Partner support was found to be the protective factor for suicidal ideation (AOR = 0.34, 95% CI = 0.13–0.90). In the mediation analysis, the psychosocial impact of gender minority status mediated the relationship between perceived stigma and suicidal ideation. The estimated conditional indirect effect was 0.46, (95% CI = 0.12–1.11).

Conclusion

Interventions that aim to reduce suicidal behaviors among TGW should address stigma, psychosocial imfamilpact of gender minority status, and different forms of violence and abuse.

How pregnancy can be made more difficult by maternity care’s notions of ‘normal’

The Conversation, October 8, 2019 10.04pm AEDT

Maternity records in the UK have spaces only for the expectant mother and the baby’s father. This inflexibility can cause difficulties for the pregnant person, their partner, and their unborn baby if they do not fit into these boxes.

Over the last decade there has been a significant increase in the number of people conceiving outside of the traditional model of a heterosexual couple, so this affects an increasing number of parents.

Research shows that problems occur when heteronormativity – the perception that heterosexuality is the normal, default, or preferred sexual orientation – is communicated either overtly or subtly in the way healthcare staff treat patients, the way leaflets are worded, or the assumptions made in the way administration systems are designed.

Healthcare failing transgender people

La Trobe University, 10/10/2019

Some trans and gender diverse patients would rather die than face ignorance and discrimination previously experienced in health care settings, according to La Trobe University research.

La Trobe PhD student Lucille Kerr surveyed 537 trans and gender diverse people from across Australia, asking detailed questions about their experiences in the Australian health system.

“We’ve found people being refused care, experiencing significant mistreatment, and having to educate their own doctors,” Ms Kerr said.

“Although some reported having found understanding, well-informed doctors, most of our findings are concerning, with some deeply worrying. We urgently need widespread training and education within the healthcare system.”

 

 

Concerns for women after SA closes two centres for surgical abortion

ABC News, 19/09/2019

Two of South Australia’s surgical abortion services have been shut down over the past 18 months, amid community concerns about the impact on women seeking care.

In January, services were relocated from the main abortion provider in the state, the Pregnancy Advisory Centre in Adelaide’s inner-western suburbs, moving all surgical abortions to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH).

SA Health is now looking at relocating the abortion service permanently to the QEH during the hospital’s redevelopment.