Rainbow Report on Dambusters

Your Rainbow Reporter, aka 'Uncle Doug'

Your Rainbow Reporter, aka ‘Uncle Doug’

As always, the show airs 7-8pm Thursday evening Australian Eastern Daylight Savings Time on Joy 94.9 Melbourne. Click on the link to listen online anywhere in the world via the web, or to download the FREE smartphone app.

After a long long time and much hammering on many doors, a couple of dams broke for the LGBTI community this week.

The first was the announcement of the state government finally fulfilling its election promise to set up a GBLTI Ministerial Advisory Committee on health (GLBTI-MAC). The previous government had one of these – in fact, two, because there was one for Justice as well. Small chance of that now with current Attorney General Robert ‘Spina Bifida’ Clark in charge.

Following the departure of Ted Baillieu and the arrival of new premier Denis Napthine, Health Minister David Davis announced that the committee would have its first meeting on April 5th, with himself and Mental Health Minister Mary Wooldridge. Minister Davis joins us on the show tonight.

Incidentally, the ACT territory government has also appointed a GLBTI advisory council this week: must be something in the air.

The other dam which broke was in federal parliament, and here the news is somewhat mixed, to say the least. On the one hand, the government will push through a Sex Discrimination Bill which will for the first time extend protections to our community.

On the other hand, the proposed consolidation of the five anti-discrimination acts into one has been put on the back burner: back to the ministry for further study. It seems that the general consensus that the need to get rid of religious exemptions pretty much across the board got everybody spooked.

Unlike the media bills, Human Rights & Anti-Discrimination law was all too important, complex and difficult to be ‘rushed’ through parliament without careful consideration of the implications. Yes, really.

Instead the Sex Discrimination Act will be amended this week, but with all those pesky religious exemptions, even those in respect of aged care, intact. So the people most likely to discriminate against our community – religious run businesses and organisations – will still be free to do so without penalty.

With the government in a ferment at the moment, WA Senator Louise Pratt drew the short straw, and will join us later in the show to explain the government’s thinking.

To help everyone make sense of both these events Anna Brown, co-convenor of the VGLRL and No To Homophobia campaign, will be joining us on the line, and Rob Mitchell will assist us in the studio.

(Declaration of interest: both Rob Mitchell and I have been appointed as members of the GLBTI-MAC, all of whom are, of course, unpaid volunteers.)

Riding shotgun with me tonight, fresh from his triumph at the Joy Taste of Radio course, is James Newburrie.

If you have any questions for my guests you can email the show right now and I’ll try to fit your question in tonight.

If you want to make any comments, ask any questions while we’re on air, email the studio or if you’re in Australia SMS 0427 JOY 949, or call the front desk 1300 JOY 949.

As always, the show airs 7-8pm Thursday evening on Joy 94.9 Melbourne. Click on the link to listen online anywhere in the world via the web, or to download the FREE smartphone app.

About the author

Veteran gay writer and speaker, Doug was one of the founders of the UKs pioneering GLBTI newspaper Gay News (1972) , and of the second, Gay Week, and is a former Features Editor of Him International. He presented news and current affairs on JOY 94.9 FM Melbourne for more than ten years. "Doug is revered, feared and reviled in equal quantities, at times dividing people with his journalistic wrath. Yet there is no doubt this grandpa-esque bear keeps everyone abreast of anything and everything LGBT across the globe." (Daniel Witthaus, "Beyond Priscilla", Clouds of Magellan, Melbourne, 2014)