Wednesday, 17 May 2023


Anti-vilification legislation

Anti-vilification legislation

Aiv PUGLIELLI (North-Eastern Metropolitan) (17:53): (223) My adjournment matter is for the Premier, and the action I seek is for the Premier to take on the growing threat of far-right and transphobic ideology by passing anti-vilification laws that protect trans and gender-diverse people as a matter of priority. Earlier this year I stood in this place and I asked for action against the vile comments made against the queer community. A month later I asked again for action after neo-Nazis gathered on the steps of our Parliament calling my community freaks and paedophiles. Now I stand here because I have to, again, because multiple family-friendly events held by queer people for the community have been cancelled due to threats from the same people we have been calling on you to take action against: events intended to celebrate the International Day against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia, which as many of you has noted is today.

Not only am I here as a member for North-Eastern Metro, where the Eltham Library was targeted today by these vile anti-queer bigots, but I am also here as a queer person. This is my community. I am seeing my community being called paedophiles and groomers and receiving threats of violence just for existing. I have to watch these hateful people call me a groomer for just defending my community’s right to exist – a community of love, of acceptance.

You say this hatred does not stand in Victoria. Then why are you allowing it to continue? I invited drag performer Belial B’Zarr to Parliament last week to talk to them about what the community is going through right now. Belial is an incredible performer and fashion designer. They have had multiple of their events targeted and cancelled this year. He told me queer people are being harassed and assaulted in the streets. He told me the community needs action now, because they are terrified as to how much this violence will progress. Just look how much it has escalated in six months because these groups feel that they are winning.

We are human beings and we are in danger. It is not hyperbole. We are in danger. You have a duty to protect the community, so where are you? You keep saying you are here for us, that our rights are non-negotiable. But where are you? An 18-month time frame for action is an absolute joke, especially for something you have known about for years. You have had years to take action, and instead you are dragging your feet and getting angry about the Greens putting public pressure on you to act whilst my community has had to learn to protect itself, whilst my community is scared to be themselves for fear of being harassed in the streets. No more cupcakes, no more chalk butterflies on pavements. You have the power to change this. Where are you?