- We passionately advocated for the reform of discriminatory parenting and adoption laws for same-sex couples in Victoria.
- We secured legislation in Victoria, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory to erase unjust criminal records imposed on gay men for having consensual sex when homosexual conduct was illegal.
- We created an expungement legal service to provide free and confidential help to people seeking to have an unjust criminal conviction for homosexual activity overturned.
- We’ve launched a High Court challenge to stop the harmful and divisive marriage equality postal survey.
No one should be treated unfairly or subjected to harm and abuse because of who they are or who they love. The Human Rights Law Centre protects and promotes human rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people in Australia and beyond.
We fight to end the deeply entrenched discrimination LGBTI people experience. We use a combination of expert legal action, advocacy, research, education, and UN engagement to:
- End discrimination in the law
- Improve legal recognition
- Provide redress for past wrongs
- Protect LGBTI people from harm
- Promote equality and respect for LGBTI people
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New adoption equality laws allowing same-sex couples to adopt children passed the Northern Territory parliament. Until today, the NT was the only remaining Australian state or territory that prevented same-sex and unmarried couples from adopting children. Previously, couples were required to be married for two years before they could adopt.
Today the Queensland Government introduced a bill that will allow people to stay married to the person they love when they change the gender marker on their birth certificate, removing an unnecessary and unfair hurdle preventing trans people from living their true lives.
Outdated laws allowing religious organisations to discriminate against single mothers, pregnant women or LGBTI people should be repealed, the Human Rights Law Centre today told the Religious Freedom Review’s Expert Panel.
"Last year Australians voted for equality and fairness, not new forms of discrimination. There is no price to be paid for equality, we reject outright that religious freedom is now under threat simply because two people who love each other can marry," said Anna Brown.
The Northern Territory Government has an historic opportunity to overhaul outdated discrimination laws so that all Territorians are equally respected for who they are, said the Human Rights Law Centre in its submission to the NT Department of Justice review of the Anti-Discrimination Act 2015 (NT).
This is a historic day for the LGBTI community. A day where we saw equality, fairness and love win. A day when LGBTI couples in Australia were finally treated with the same dignity and respect when it comes to who they love.
In a landmark decision today the Full Court of the Family Court has ruled that young people who experience gender dysphoria and wish to undergo hormone treatment may now be able to do so without the approval of the Family Court.
Today the Senate passed the Marriage Amendment (Definition and Religious Freedoms) Bill. The Bill, to amend the Marriage Act, passed 43-12 following days of debate.
The Human Rights Law Centre has been working with the Equality Campaign and LGBTI community organisations to campaign for a Yes vote in the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey. There are currently two private member’s bills set to be tabled if there’s a Yes result on 15 November 2017. Find out what they mean.
(Photo credit: Roman Clarke)
“If there is a Yes result on Wednesday, Australians will have voted for true equality for all Australians – not an unfettered right to discriminate for people who voted No,” said Ms Brown.
Overnight the United Nations Human Rights Committee called on the Australian Government to improve its track record on lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex (LGBTI) rights across the country.
Today the Premier of Western Australia, Mark McGowan will deliver a formal state apology to people convicted under unjust laws against homosexual acts.
The UN Human Rights Committee has taken aim at the Australian Government’s treatment of sexual minorities. The comments came in the same week Australia was elected to the UN Human Rights Council. Anna Brown, Director of Legal Advocacy at the Human Rights Law Centre, said Australia should be concerned about its international legitimacy so soon after its appointment to the UN Human Rights Council.
During the same week that Australia is expected to be granted a seat on the United Nations Human Rights Council, an expert UN committee will grill the Australian Government over its own human rights record.
We welcome the Queensland Government’s important step to help people whose love was criminalised by unjust laws. It’s not only a symbolic win, it will also remove practical barriers imposed by these unfair convictions.
“With the postal vote survey proceeding right now, we have no choice but to campaign hard for a strong ‘yes’ vote. Vote ‘yes’ for dignity, vote ‘yes’ for love. It’s time to move forward, Australians are ready for marriage equality," said Anna Brown.
The postal survey on marriage equality is now underway. New laws have been put in place to try to ensure respectful debate. Here's what you need to know about how they impact you.
"With the postal vote survey now proceeding, we have no choice but to campaign hard for a strong yes vote. Australians are ready for marriage equality and the survey is an opportunity for all Australians to vote for their friends and family and our national values of fairness and equality."
“Lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex people should be able to marry the person they love. The postal plebiscite is unnecessary and is already proving divisive and harmful. LGBTI groups strongly oppose the plebiscite and so do we,” said Anna Brown.
All Australians should have the same opportunities for love, commitment and happiness. All Australians should be able to marry the person they love. This is why we're challenging the unnecessary postal plebiscite.
Anna Brown, Director of Legal Advocacy at the Human Rights Law Centre, which is representing Australian Marriage Equality and Senator Janet Rice, said the urgent challenge was necessary to test the constitutional validity of the postal plebiscite on marriage equality.
“All Australians should have the same opportunities for love, commitment and happiness. Australians don’t want more excuses or delaying tactics – we want marriage equality,” said Anna Brown
The Human Rights Law Centre will be part of a High Court challenge to the Australian Government’s divisive and unnecessary postal plebiscite. Here's why.
The Human Rights Law Centre has today filed a legal action against the Australian Government on behalf of Australian Marriage Equality and Senator Janet Rice. The action challenges the constitutional validity of the postal plebiscite on marriage equality.
Anna Brown, Director of Legal Advocacy at the Human Rights Law Centre, has today publicly released a joint opinion from top constitutional experts confirming that the Government spending money for a postal plebiscite without passing legislation would be unconstitutional.
A renewed push to legislate for marriage equality is on. “This brings hope to the many lesbian and gay Australians and their families, friends and colleagues, who just want to be treated equally under Australian law and marry the person they love,” said Anna Brown.
Today in South Australia, landmark reforms came into effect which allow for same-sex couples married overseas to have the legal certainty and dignity of recognition under state laws.
I met Bon and his partner of 50 years, Peter de Waal in 2014 when I worked closely with the NSW LGBTI Parliamentary Working Group to pass legislation to erase historical homosexual convictions.
Recently, Bon was diagnosed with terminal cancer and it was his dying wish to have his record cleared. This year we made that happen.
Addressing the UN earlier this week in a statement to the Human Rights Council, the Human Rights Law Centre called on all UN member states to cooperate with the first United Nations independent expert tasked with combating the unacceptable violence and discrimination faced by gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people around the world.
Community leaders and human rights groups appeared before a parliamentary hearing today to support legislation to erase the criminal records of people convicted under unjust laws against homosexual acts and call for important improvements to be made.
Australians said YES. The 61.6% YES margin revealed on 15 November 2017 was bigger than any federal election winner’s 2PP vote. This emphatic success is a cause for great celebration—but what happens next? What does it mean?
The debate on the consensus cross-party bill has resumed in the Senate. It is very clear that across the parliament our representatives have heard the overwhelming mandate delivered by the postal survey loudly and clearly.
Over the past month, almost 11 million Australians have responded to the postal survey, mailing in their forms on whether same-sex couples should be able to marry.If the will of the Australian people is reflected in the results, then our nation will be expecting politicians to listen, to act decisively and to get marriage equality done so we can unite around a reform that will bring our country together in a celebration of fairness and equality.
For the first time, we have a Bill that offers a real opportunity for support across the parliament and an opportunity to realise the hopes and dreams of the many lesbian and gay Australians and their families, friends and colleagues who just want to be treated equally under Australian law and marry the person they love.
While the nation's eyes have been on federal parliament bickering over the marriage equality plebiscite this week, another critical LGBTI debate began in the Victorian Legislative Assembly.
Prime Minister Malcom Turnbull's announcement of a royal commission into the abuse of children in Northern Territory jails gives an insight into his instincts on human rights.
We shouldn't underestimate the human toll of the 'homosexual conduct' laws. William Leonard from Gay and Lesbian Health Victoria and HRLC's Anna Brown explain how the Victorian Government's State Apology is also about publicly acknowledging and valuing the diversity of sexual expression.
The HRLC’s Anna Brown contributed an essay on progress on the rights of lesbian, gay and bisexual people in the Oceania region to ILGA's 10th edition of its State-Sponsored Homophobia Report.
Human Rights Law Centre Executive Director, Hugh de Kretser, outlines what 2015 may have in store for human rights in Australia.
There’s no question that 2014 was a big year for LGBTI equality in Victoria, but there’s still unfinished business on our wish list for 2015 writes the HRLC’s Anna Brown.
Legal Expungement Service
Contact the Expungement Legal Service
Phone: (03) 8636 4458
If you call outside office hours, please inform us if we can leave you a message and your preferred method of contact.
The Human Rights Law Centre’s Expungement Legal Service provides free and confidential legal help to anyone seeking to apply for a historical homosexual conviction to be expunged. Our team is staffed by LGBTIQ identifying lawyers and includes a volunteer lawyer with personal experience of the climate and police attitudes before the old laws were repealed.