Queensland Teachers' Journal, Vol 127 No 7, 30 September 2022, page no. 15
The QTU is committed to protecting the industrial, professional, and human rights of our LGBTIQ+ members. One way we do this is via consultation on legislation.
A fifth diversity target group under the PSA
The Public Service Act 2008 is currently under review. The QTU, along with other unions and the Queensland Council of Unions (QCU), is involved in the Joint Advisory Council (JAC), which consults with the Public Sector Reform Office (PSRO) on the new legislation. We make suggestions about the existing legislation and how it can be improved.
Currently, the proposed bill lists four diversity target groups, which are the same as those in the existing legislation. They are:
- Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islander people
- people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds
- people with an intellectual, psychiatric, sensory, or physical disability
The QTU asserts that there should be a fifth diversity target group – people who identify as part of the LGBTIQ+ community.
This proposal is consistent with our 2019 submission to the Bridgman review of the Public Service Act 2008 and enjoys the unanimous support of the QTU’s Pride Committee. It also has the unanimous support of the Queensland Council of Unions’ Union Pride Committee.
Additionally, it should be remembered that the DoE is a leader in the Queensland public service for LGBTIQ+ inclusion. The department is the only state government department to be recognised as a gold standard employer in the 2022 Australian Workplace Equality Index, and it hopes to secure platinum status in coming years.
The PSRO asserts that there is “no evidence of disadvantage” for the LGBTIQ+ community when it comes to employability or promotional prospects within the Queensland public service.
The JAC deadlines meant that the deadline was tight. To counter this proposal, feedback was sought from the QTU’s Pride Committee and our Rainbow Action Group, and the lived experiences of some of our queer members were distressing.
We are yet to hear whether a fifth diversity target group will be included in the legislation. If so, Queensland’s public service will be the first in Australia to recognise the LGBTIQ+ community as a diversity target group.
If the QTU’s suggestion is not adopted, at the very least the current bill is no longer silent on the LGBTIQ+ community.
The draft enables agencies to add other groups to their equity and diversity plans, and specifically lists “people with diverse sexual orientations, gender identities or intersex variations” as an example group that might be added in. While the QTU would prefer the inclusion of a fifth diversity target group, this mid-point is an improvement on the current legislation.
Wear It Purple Day
The QTU joined with many schools and organisations to celebrate Wear It Purple Day on August 26. Wear It Purple celebrates and supports LGBTIQ+ youth. Each year more and more schools are marking the day, through activities such as free dress, purple hairspray and selling merchandise.
If your school is interested in participating next year, you can find more information at https://www.wearitpurple.org/schools
QuEST TRUE Training
Our final TRUE Rainbow Matters training for the year will be held at the Sunshine Coast on 25 October. If you are interested in attending, see https://www.qtu.asn.au/questtrue