Senate Inquiry Public Hearing

Monday 19 November 2018

Rainbow Families Victoria presented a joint statement from Rainbow Families NSW and Rainbow Families Queensland to the public hearing on the legislative exemptions that allow faith-based educational institutions to discriminate against students, teachers and staff, including on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity and other attributes covered by the Sex Discrimination Act 1984, with particular reference to proposals for amendments to current legislation, and any related matters.

You can read our joint statement here:

Rainbow Families VIC, NSW and QLD statement to Senate Inquiry 191119

For details on the very short inquiry visit:

Release the Ruddock Report now

October 11, 2018

Rainbow Families Victoria have written to the Prime Minister to urge him to release the Ruddock  Religious Freedom Review Report today.

In our letter we state:

Rainbow Families Victoria wrote a submission to the Review and represented at the Melbourne public hearings. We believe we deserve to have access to a report that we participated in, in good faith, but which clearly will have an impact on our lives and the lives of our children.

The impact of endless speculation and rumours about the content of the report and its recommendations, combined with the harmful if not sensational newspaper headlines and talk-back banter is causing incredible distress and upset to members of our rainbow family communities across Victoria, many of whom have children in religious schools or are themselves employed within such schools.

In order to both end the unnecessary speculation about the report and to mitigate the distress being experienced by members of our rainbow family communities, we urge you to release the Ruddock Religious Freedom Review Report today.

You can read our letter in full Letter to the Prime Minister 111018

Census 2021

Update July 16, 2018

Rainbow Families Victoria put in three submissions to the Australian Bureau of Statistic Census 2021 public consultation on the topics of Population, Sex and Gender and Households and Families. Our aim was to highlight all the issues facing our diverse families rather than coming up with specific suggestions. Thank you to everyone who contributed through our survey and in conversations about what to include. We are aware that some LGBTIQ advocacy groups have also put in submissions.

The ABS will be considering the submissions received and produce a report in the coming months. Over 350 submissions were received.

We are currently combining our three submissions into one report and will post here once completed.

Family Law System Review

Update July 16 2018

Rainbow Families Victoria wrote a lengthy submission to the Australian Law Reform Commission Family Law System Review. We appreciate the time taken by our communities to respond to our survey. The personal stories from our survey respondents have added significantly to the final submission. The current process will see a consultation paper released in October 2018.

You can read our submission here: Rainbow Families Victoria ALRC Family Law System Review 2018

Religious Freedom Review

Update May 14, 2018

The review panel headed by Phillip Ruddock is expected to release their final report in the coming weeks after the expected release date of May 18 has again been shifted.

Rainbow Families Victoria produced a submission and also appeared at the Melbourne Public Hearing on February 20, 2018.

Our submission is available to read here:  Rainbow Families Victoria Religious Review 140218

Public submissions (to the date of March 31) and further details on the Religious Freedom Review can be found here.


Previous federal submissions.

Family Law System Review 2018

April 27 2018 

NEW: Are you a community legal organisation, family law firm, LGBTIQ advocacy organisation or a service provider working with LGBTIQ parented families ? We have produced a QUICK GUIDE to assist you to make your submission inclusive of rainbow families – download here: 

Rainbow families Victoria QUICK GUIDE 260418 

We are seeking your personal stories as part of our submission to the Family Law System Review currently being conducted by the Australian Law Reform Commission.

The Review provides our rainbow families communities with a unique opportunity to advocate for changes and improvements to the system. One of the terms of reference for the review relates to the grater diversity of family structures in contemporary Australia. The Review will also consider matters such as surrogacy and changes to the Family Law Act specifically.

We have met with the reviewers and are now working on our written submission due on May 7 2018. Your responses to our SURVEY ONE will support our submission.

You can find out more here:

Previous experience tells us that sharing our personal stories is crucially important to changing heart and minds – we most recently saw this in action during the postal survey last year and previously for adoption equality and our other successful advocacy campaigns. Personal stories are also a very effective way to highlight the real day-to-day problems encountered when our families attempt to access services or support systems.

We are seeking both personal and professional responses.

You can respond as someone who has personal experience and interaction with some or all parts of the whole family law system, – you can include a short statement on anything from looking up information on a website, problems navigating the family law system, to experiences children have had with support services including independent children’s lawyers, service accessibility in rural or regional areas, finding inclusive or responsive counsellors who understand diverse LGBTIQ relationships and rainbow families, experiences with a family dispute resolution centre all the way to being part of a family court proceeding (please read the FAQ section below).

The family law system includes everything from all family law and post-separation services, including family relationships services (such as government funded family counselling services, post-separation parenting programs, and children’s contact services) as well as legal aid, community legal sector and private legal services to to the family courts (the Family Court of Australia, the Family Court of Western Australia and the Federal Circuit Court of Australia).

You do not need to have  gone to court to be able to respond – any information on your experience of any interaction, no matter how brief, will be gratefully accepted.

Your responses are also welcome as a service provider – you might work in the family violence sector, as a counsellor or mediator in the family court system, as family lawyers or with a professional expertise in children’s rights, child protection, child support or LGBTIQ specific practice of any kind.

If you wish to respond as both a consumer of services AND as a service provider please complete the survey twice – once as for each different role.

Rainbow Families Victoria are preparing two submission to the Issues Paper – one to be public and one which will be confidential. We want to include your personal voices to the submission and have developed two surveys to do this.

  • The first submission will be publicly available and will include our statement of principles for reforms, detailed responses to the questions and research outcomes. Your short answers illustrating personal experiences across a range of services, and including in preparing for court, will be used in this first submission. This submission will draw on your responses to SURVEY ONE . You do not need to provide any contact details but may choose to.
  • Our second submission will be classified as confidential – meaning only the Australian Law Reform Commission staff will read them and use the information in them to form the basis of the second Options paper. This submission will not be made public in it’s entirety. We are seeking your detailed long-form responses based on your experiences to develop case studies which illustrate systemic concerns and problems with the family law system. Your responses to SURVEY TWO will inform this second submission. Rainbow Families Victoria will contact you to work on your case study with you as necessary and to ensure your privacy is protected. You will need to provide your contact details to us.

Here is the link to our Family Law System Review SURVEY ONE

We hope that the following FAQs assist with answering any further questions:

Who will read my survey monkey responses?

Only two people from the Rainbow Families Victoria submission writing group will read your entire survey monkey responses. Your responses will not be shared in their entirety to any third party. Your responses, in part or as edited for relevance or length may be used in either or the two Rainbow Families Victoria submissions.

Do I have to use my real name or provide contact details?

The short answer is no. The longer answer is that you may choose to provide your contact details so we can contact you in case we need to clarify a statement or make an edit for readability or relevance. Please carefully read the response to the next question if you are currently involved or have been involved in a court proceeding.

 I was involved in a family court proceedings so can I talk about that legally?

The Australian Law Reform Commission published the following statement in the “Making the submission” section of the Issues Paper:

If your submission contains information about a court proceeding, including a proceeding under the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) (Family Law Act), you should carefully consider the terms of any order made by a court in that proceeding relating to the disclosure of information. For example, it is an offence under s 102PK of the Family Law Act to contravene a suppression order or a non-publication order made under s 102PE of the Family Law Act. The ALRC cannot publish submissions that identify parties to family law proceedings, and any submissions that do so will be treated as confidential.

 How will my responses be used?

Your response may be edited for length or used in separate sections throughout the submission. All responses will be de-identified and anonymous as required or indicated by you.

Will Rainbow Families Victoria use my responses in circumstances other than the Review submission?

Rainbow Families Victoria may use part of your responses to SURVEY ONE in presentations or training session but these will be de-identified. We hope to develop further resources and training in the future for the family law sector including family dispute resolution. We may also re-use your response to SURVEY ONE in other presentations or paper related to the Family Law System Review (the Issues paper is only step one of an 18 month process). Please indicate in the check box on the survey if you agree to your responses being used in other mediums.

A note of terms describing your sexuality and gender identity

Our aim is to produce a submission that provides a detailed description of the issues faced by rainbow families in all different shapes and sizes including parents, co-parents, donors and children when accessing and being part of the Family Law System at any stage

Please consider whether your gender identify and sexuality will be central to your personal story so we ask that you do not alter these details unless privacy is of paramount concern to you and your family. You may consider, if appropriate, changing ages or gender of your children if this does not change the key message in your case study.

Preparing your own submission

You are able to prepare you own personal submission to the review. Your submission can be submitted through an online submission form and you can respond to as many or as few of the questions in the issues paper as you like.

Please refer here for details on how to do this:

For personal support or counselling please consider contacting these LGBTIQ and gender diverse services in Victoria.


Switchboard provides a phone and web counselling service that is free, non-judgemental, confidential and anonymous. All of our counselors are dedicated trained volunteers who identify as LGBTQI.

Drummond Street Services – queerspace

Drummond Street Services is a not-for-profit family support agency that provides counselling and support to LGBTIQ+ people and their families. Through their queer space and youth service programs, DSS offers a range of helpful initiatives including individual, couple and whole-of-family counselling


VAC provides professional and affordable counselling services for individuals or couples who are affected by, or are at risk of HIV, and for members of the LGBTQI community.

Mind Equality Centre 

Mind Australia now offers specialist psychological services for sexually and gender diverse people.