Law reform

Through our work, we identify systemic issues and barriers to access to justice. We then use our law reform work to educate and persuade decision makers to make fairer policies and laws.


Submission on the Victorian Whole-of-Government LGBTIQ Strategy

Date: 14 August 2020

The LGBTIQ Legal Service made a submission on the development of a Victorian Whole-of Government LGBTIQ Strategy to remove discrimination and promote equality throughout Victoria. The LGBTIQ Legal Service is informed by our expertise as a legal service provider and the experiences of our clients and data from our legal needs survey. We recommend that the Government engages peer-led community groups, non-legal service providers and community members from multidisciplined and diverse backgrounds in the consultation, development and implementation of the strategy.

Read the full submission here (PDF download)

Submission to the Victorian review into decriminalising sex work

Date: 17 July 2020

St Kilda Legal Service has a long history of campaigning for decriminalisation of street based sex work, and particularly of delivering services for street based sex workers in the St Kilda area. Therefore this submission places strong focus on street based sex work, although we note that this represents a small fraction of sex work occurring in Victoria. We encourage government to particularly listen to peer only organisations that can speak from sex workers’ lived experience to the comprehensive reforms needed across the sector.

Read the full submission here (PDF download)

Submission in response to Inquiry into Anti-Vilification Protections

Date: 17th of January 2020

St Kilda Legal Service partnered with Liberty Victoria to provide a joint submission the Victorian parliamentary committee inquiry into anti-vilification protections. Our submission demonstrates that LGBTIQ people currently experience a significant and unacceptable level of vilification and abuse in their daily lives, and we therefore call for protections to be extended to LGBTIQ people under Victoria’s current anti-vilification laws.

Read the full submission here (PDF download)

Submission in response to the Census and Statistics Amendment 2019

Date: 17th of December 2019

St Kilda Legal Service prepared a brief submission to the Census and Statistics Amendment (Statistical Information) Regulations 2019 exposure draft consultation to note our concern about the proposed exclusion of sexual orientation, gender identity and intersex variation status from the statistical information to be collected in the 2021 Census.

Read the full submission here (PDF download)

Submission in response to the Religious Discrimination Bill 2019

Date: 2nd of October 2019

St Kilda Legal Service’s submission in response to the Government’s proposed “Religious Freedom Bills” focused on the potential impacts for vulnerable members of our community, including LGBTIQ people and sex workers.

Whilst we support the premise that people should not be discriminated against because of their religion, we have significant concerns that the Bill, as drafted, will undermine current anti-discrimination leaving people at risk.

Amongst other recommendations, our submission specifically addressed the following:

  • lack of protections within the workplace under proposed section 8(3)-(4);
  • the ability for health practitioners to refuse to provide care and treatment to patients on the basis of their religious belief under s8(5)-(6); we see this as an unnecessarily broad approach with the potential to leave vulnerable patients at risk to their health; and
  • the attempts to override other state and federal laws in relation to discrimination under s41.

Read the full submission here (PDF download)

Submission to the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System

Date: 5th of July 2019

The Victorian Government is currently undertaking a review of the mental health system in Victoria. St Kilda Legal Service has contributed to this process in a number of ways.

Together with our LGBTIQ Legal Service, we welcomed the opportunity to make a submission in response to the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System. Our research and casework experience has found that the mental health of LGBTIQ people is among the poorest in Australia.

On this basis, our recommendations focused on:

  • support for the development and expansion of peer-led, integrated services;
  • training for all practitioners and workers in the mental health system;
  • fostering a community of practice for LGBTIQ specialist mental health practitioners; and
  • LGBTIQ applicant and respondent workers for family violence matters at all courts.

You can read our submission here.

St Kilda Legal Service also contributed to the submission of the Federation of Community Legal Centres (FCLC). As a result of our case work and research, we provided information to the FCLC on:

  • the impact of homelessness and the mis-identification of family violence perpetrators for people living with mental illness; and
  • the importance of including legal services in an integrated service delivery in order to deliver better health and justice outcomes for people living with mental illness.

You can read the FCLC’s submission here

Before the Terms of Reference (TOR) for the Royal Commission were finalised, St Kilda Legal Service provided feedback to the Victorian Government on important themes to be included in the TOR.

You can read our submission in response to the proposed TOR here.

Submission to the Australian Human Rights Commission

Date: 28th of February 2019

National Inquiry into Sexual Harassment in Australian Workplaces

The St Kilda Legal Service submission to the National Inquiry into Sexual Harassment in Australian Workplaces focused on the experiences of the LGBTIQ community. Our submission drew on the LGBTIQ Legal Service sexual harassment survey conducted from December 2018 to January 2019, and learnings gleaned from our LGBTIQ Legal Service casework.

In summary, through our casework and research we found that:

  • to date, the focus of investigation and responses to sexual harassment in the workplace focuses on heteronormative forms of sexual harassment (predominantly cis-gendered men harassing cis-gendered women);
  • the experience of the LGBTIQ community in relation to sexual harassment in the workplace has its own unique characteristics;
  • sexual harassment can and does occur in all workplaces and volunteer-based organisations, including within LGBTIQ organisations; and
  • sexual harassment involving LGBTIQ people requires a nuanced and peer-led response.

You can read our submission here.

We also had had an opportunity to review Victoria Legal Aid’s submission “Change the Culture, Change the System: Urgent Action needed to End Sexual Harassment at Work” and support its recommendations. We are also a signatory to the joint statement “Urgent Actions Needed to Stop Sexual Harassment at Work,” which was co-signed by over 100 organisations and individuals including a number of LGBTIQ community organisations, including the Drummond Street Services, Switchboard and Thorne Harbour Health.

Submission to the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission Committee

Date: 18th of August 2017

This submission outlines the concerns of the St Kilda Legal Service in relation to the current system surrounding complaints about police misconduct. Our experience has shown that where our clients, and particularly our most vulnerable clients, have a legitimate complaint about police misconduct, their complaints are often either unsatisfactorily dealt with, or go unmade.

Read the full submission here (PDF download).

Law Council’s Justice Project

Date: 5th of October 2017

In response to the LGBTI People Consultation Paper prepared by the Law Council of Australia, the St Kilda Legal Service prepared this submission outlining the current lack of LGBTI-specific legal services in Victoria.

Read the full submission here (PDF download).

Get involved with advocacy

If you are a law student, graduate, legal sector professional or a community member interested in LGBTIQ+ advocacy, please get in touch at [email protected]