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SA Liberal leader quits
Isobel Redmond, one of the few Liberal Party state leaders to openly supports marriage equality, has quit as South Australia’s opposition leader.
In a statement given to The Australian newspaper this morning, Redmond said she had decided to step aside after ongoing leadership speculation.
“I have been privileged to lead the state Liberal parliamentary for the past three and a half years,” she said.
“However, in the face of ongoing leadership speculation and disunity I have reached the conclusion that it is in the best interests of the Liberal Party if I step aside.
“I will work conscientiously as the Member for Heysen and do everything in my power to ensure a Liberal win at the election in march 2014 – a change of government which this state so desperately needs.”
Former federal Liberal leader Alexander Downer has been widely speculated to replace Redmond as the opposition leader but he has yet to announce any intention to enter state Parliament.
In 2004, Downer came under fire from the Australian Democrats for opposing “overt homosexuality” and linking it to paedophilia.
The Age reported that Downer had been commenting on the suicide of convicted paedophile William Stuart Brown in a Balinese jail when he said the former diplomat had been an ‘in-your-face’ homosexual who had long been suspected of molesting children.
At the time, Downer said Brown’s overt homosexuality had led to his dismissal from the Australian Embassy in Jakarta in 1984, where he worked for AusAID.
“My recollection is that he was asked to leave the embassy in Jakarta when the then ambassador found that his activities were, to use a euphemism, somewhat flamboyant,” Downer told the John Laws radio program.
“He was an active homosexual so he was very up-front and public in his homosexuality. We all tolerate people’s private sexual preferences – that’s a matter for them – but he was in his case very much in your face, very overt, and it was a matter of some substantial embarrassment to the Australian embassy.”
Downer, the then foreign affairs minister, also voted for laws that banned marriage equality in Australia in 2004.