The focus during the election campaign on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) issues such as marriage equality, Safe Schools and HIV prevention treatment underscores the need for parties to appoint a spokesperson on LGBTI issues as they reshuffle their portfolios post-election, says the Victorian Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby (VGLRL).
In the Rainbow Votes election survey, the Liberal National Coalition stated that their Attorney General would have responsibility for LGBTI issues in the new Government.
“We are pleased that a Coalition Attorney General will have responsibility for LGBTI equality, ensuring that our issues are heard at the Cabinet table,” said VGLRL Co-Convenor Rachael Hambleton. “We hope that Senator Brandis will continue to consult with LGBTI groups on the issues affecting our community, and take heed of the LGBTI community’s concerns about the proposed marriage plebiscite.”
“We are hopeful that Labor will consider creating a party spokesperson for LGBTI affairs, particularly considering that Bill Shorten has said in the past that he would consider such a proposal. Labor took a strong LGBTI platform into the federal election, and were rewarded with an increase in representation.”
“It’s time that Labor appointed an equality spokesperson to liaise with the community on the issues that are affecting us as it is clear that there will be significant debate on these issues in the new Parliament. The Greens and the Victorian Labor Party have long had such a spokesperson; it’s time federal Labor followed their lead.”
The Greens spokesperson for sexuality and marriage equality, Senator Robert Simms, was not re-elected.
“Whilst we have increased the representation of LGBTI people in the new Parliament and have more supporters of marriage equality than ever before, we have lost one of our strongest supporters and a vocal and articulate advocate for the LGBTI community,” said VGLRL Co-Convenor, Sean Mulcahy.
“In his few short months in the Senate, Senator Simms made a big impression, championing issues such as HIV prevention, marriage equality and Safe Schools. I have every confidence he will be back. We trust that the Greens will consult with the LGBTI community when appointing their new LGBTI spokesperson,” Mr Mulcahy added.