Australian marriage law postal survey
Mind Australia Limited (Mind) supports marriage equality for all Australians.
Following the outcome of the High Court’s deliberations, we are disappointed that the Australian marriage law postal survey is going ahead.
The marriage law postal survey is not just a legal or administrative process. Corrosive and hateful public campaigning has been a feature of public discourse around similar processes across the world. We are already beginning to see these trends here in Australia. The postal survey undermines the human dignity and fundamental human rights of LGBTIQ people across Australia, as well as impacting on their mental health and wellbeing, by exposing them to views that represent them as lesser than other human beings.
Human rights are not granted or taken away by ‘survey’ or other form of vote. Minority rights should never be subject to the whim of the majority. The premise of this process, which is a non-binding survey and does not compel parliament to do anything one way or the other, makes a mockery of established international legal norms, including those which Australia has spent decades advocating abroad.
As human beings, we all have the right to form our own opinions, and as participants in a parliamentary democracy, we have the right to elect leaders who reflect our values, aspirations, and priorities. It is those leaders who should be addressing this issue. The argument that marriage equality should have a special status within our democracy and therefore be subject to direct democracy suggests that the value we place on LGBTIQ Australians is somehow in doubt. It is not.
Despite our opposition to a survey process for marriage equality, we believe it is important for people to participate in the survey, particularly if you believe LGBTIQ Australians should have equal rights and status. Mind is committed to equality and human rights protection for all. Every single LGBTIQ person is entitled to the same legal protections and status as everyone else – and that includes the right to get married to the person they love.
Marriage equality plebiscite
Mind is deeply concerned that the marriage equality plebiscite could cause significant damage to the mental health of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTIQ) community.
The campaigns in the lead up to a plebiscite could have a negative and destructive impact on LGBTIQ Australians, especially young people and their families, some of whom are already grappling with mental health issues.
Stigma around sexuality and gender identity and related exclusion are existing drivers for poor mental health.
LGBTIQ people have the highest rates of suicidality of any population in Australia. An Australian survey of gender variant and sexually diverse young people found that almost two thirds had experienced homophobia or transphobia, and that more than two in five young people interviewed had had thoughts of self-harm (41%) and/or suicide (42%). (Robinson et al., 2014)
This situation has the potential to worsen dramatically in the context of the negative public campaigning that is likely to occur in the lead up to the plebiscite.
There is strong evidence from other countries that legislating for marriage equality following a public decision-making mechanism had a negative effect.
Mind supports the immediate legalisation of marriage equality, giving the LGBTIQ community the long awaited recognition of their human rights. Funds saved as a result could be redirected to help underrepresented communities, particularly young people with mental ill-health.
Mind will continue to raise its concerns until such time the decision is finalised. If the plebiscite goes ahead we will support our clients, their families and our staff in the lead up to, during and after the plebiscite.
Robinson K, Bansel P, Denson N, Ovenden G, Davies C (2014) Growing Up Queer: Issues facing young Australians who are gender variant and sexually diverse. Young and Well Cooperative Research Centre, Melbourne, Australia.
NDIS should support people with mental health disability
The debate about the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and its suitability for people with severe and persistent mental illness is of concern.
We believe people with mental health disability should be supported through the scheme as it offers the best model for giving people control over their lives.
There are some problems with how the scheme works to accommodate the episodic nature of mental illness and fluctuating support needs. As the scheme evolves and develops, these issues can be ironed out.
We are ready to work with consumers and the NDIA to develop strategies for improving the scheme. We strongly advocate for the NDIS to continue to support people with mental health disability so they can achieve a better life.
Those who miss out on support - due to the shifting of community-based mental health services dollars into the NDIS - is also a big issue. Early intervention and support for those who are recovering from episodes of mental illness is fundamental to preventing disability. We cannot allow a person to struggle without support until ongoing disability emerges.
View Response to the Joint Standing Committee inquiry into the provision of services under the NDIS
View Response to the Productivity Commission inquiry into NDIS costs