Caulfield Candidates Forum: Changing the Equal Opportunity Act

At the November 9 2022 Caulfield Candidates’ Forum and Q&A, candidates David Southwick MP (Liberal) and Lior Harel (ALP) discuss a Liberal Party proposal to amend the Equal Opportunity Act. Question asked by Caulfield resident David Zyngier on behalf of Aleph Melbourne.


“David Southwick has given an iron-clad guarantee that under a Liberal Government any amendment to the Equal Opportunity Act will protect the LGBTIQA+ community from discrimination.*

Hypothetical scenarios aside, can he state what genuine existing problem necessitates an amendment to the Equal Opportunity Act?”

* Candidate statement: David Southwick – Liberal for Caulfield


“If the roof body for the Jewish community says the law doesn’t need to be changed, and the major Jewish schools say the law doesn’t need to be changed, who are you changing the law for?”

Caulfield Great Debate: Religious Discrimination

Audio extract from the November 3 2022 Caulfield Great Debate candidates forum, where the candidates discuss the proposed Liberal Party legislation to water down anti-discrimination legislation and how this may adversely impact LGBTIQ+ people.

Speakers: David Southwick MP (Liberal), Lior Harel (ALP), Nomi Kaltmann (independent), Rachel Iampolski (Greens), Julie Szego (moderator)

Candidate statement: Lior Harel – Labor for Caulfield

The following political statement has been supplied by Lior Harel who is running as a candidate for Caulfield District in the 2022 Victorian State Government election.

Aleph Melbourne will endorse all political candidates who unconditionally support equal rights for LGBTIQ+ Jews and whose values align with ours.

26 October 2022

Michael Barnett
Aleph Melbourne

Dear Michael,

It was a pleasure catching up with you some weeks ago to better understand the work of Aleph Melbourne as a social, support and advocacy group for LGBTIQ+ persons who identify as Jewish or who have a Jewish heritage.

As we discussed, I remember first meeting you when you came to speak to a group of the Australasian Union of Jewish Students at a Winter Conference in 1999. Your longstanding advocacy for the LGBTQI+ community is to be commended.

I am extremely proud that the current Andrews Government was the first government in the world to formally apologise to people convicted under historical laws against homosexual sex. Since its election in 2014, this Government has introduced a raft of reforms to better the lives of the LGBTIQ+ community. Some of these reforms have included:

  • Expunging old criminal convictions for homosexual activity
  • Establishing a Commissioner for LGBTIQ+ communities
  • Allowing couples to adopt regardless of their sex or gender identity
  • Banning practices that seek to change or suppress a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity

I am especially proud of the release, earlier this year, of a landmark 10-year plan to drive inclusion for LGBTIQ+ communities, which was coupled with a $6.5m investment to make organisations safer and more inclusive for LGBTIQ+ Victorians, support the health and wellbeing of people with an intersex variation and continue peer support for trans and gender diverse Victorians. It is important that LGBTIQ+ Victorians have access to specialist and mainstream services that meets their needs, including healthcare services and mental health services.

The Victorian Pride Centre, opened in July last year, is exemplary of the current Andrews Government’s commitment to celebrate and honour all parts of the diverse Victorian community.

Whilst I do not wish to comment in any detail on the position of our political opponents on these matters, I note for the record my great disappointment at the Victorian Opposition’s recent policy pledge to wind back protections from discrimination in religious schools. I see this as an alarming step backwards for all Victorians.

As we discussed, I would be interested in hearing more about where the LGBTIQ+ community believes further funding and advocacy is needed, particularly in the healthcare space. It is my hope that if elected I can be part of an Andrews Government that leads the way in LGBTIQ+ equality, and the celebration of LGBTIQ+ culture and community.

I look forward to catching up again soon!

Kind Regards,

Lior Harel
ALP Candidate for Caulfield