On 5 February 2018, the new LGBTIQ Justice Working Group held its first meeting.
The Justice Working Group is co-chaired by Anna Brown and Harriet Shing MP. The remaining members of the Working Group are Liana Buchanan, Paul Kidd, Felicity Marlowe, James Roffee, Aimee Cooper, Elizabeth Bennett, Janet Jukes, Lee Carnie, Maree Foelz, Mill O’Sullivan and Kochava Lilit. Members of the LGBTIQ taskforce are ex-officio members of the Justice Working Group. Also in attendance at the Justice Working Group meeting was Victoria’s Commissioner for Gender and Sexuality, Ro Allen. The Justice Working Group is supported by staff of the Department of Justice and Regulation. The list of members, terms of reference and communiques are available.
The role of the Justice Working Group is to:
- provide subject matter advice to the LGBTIQ taskforce and relevant government departments on matters of government policy, programs and services
- provide subject matter advice to the LGBTIQ taskforce on current and emerging LGBTIQ issues
- provide advice on other matters referred to the taskforce, or where agreed by the chairperson, the relevant government department.
The Justice Working Group advises on issues relating to civil law, criminal law, youth justice, safer communities, policing, corrections and related matters.
Specific matters considered
Achievements of the previous Justice Working Group
The Justice Working Group reflected on the achievements of the previous Justice Working Group, in particular its important work with Corrections Victoria on revising the Commissioner’s Requirements for managing trans, gender diverse and intersex prisoners to ensure their dignity and humane treatment; the advice provided by the Working Group to government on reforms to recognise domestic partners and overseas same sex marriages on death certificates, and on reforms to the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration At 1996, which would have simplified the process to obtain a birth certificate that reflects a person’s affirmed gender. Regrettably, these reforms were defeated at the end of 2016 in the Legislative Council.
Working Group members also reflected on the recent historic reforms to the Marriage Act 1961 (Cth), which legalised same sex marriage in Australia. Members noted with delight advice from the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages Victoria on the number of same sex marriage registrations and Victorian Marriage Registry (VMR) bookings between 9 December 2017 and 2 February 2018. Marriage registrations for same sex couples were 81, and VMR bookings 109.
Areas of focus
Working Group members discussed possible areas of focus including continuing work to improve the outcomes for trans, gender diverse and intersex young people and adults, coming into contact with the justice system; and exploring options to develop resources for LGBTIQ communities and key stakeholders in the justice system on the legal rights of LGBTIQ people, in areas of identified need.
The Justice Working Group will reconvene for its next meeting on 26 March 2018.