Controversial anti-gay Sunshine Coast MP Fiona Simpson has been announced as the new Speaker of Queensland’s parliament.
She will be the state’s first ever female Parliamentary Speaker.
An advocate of so-called ‘reparative therapy’ for homosexuals, the Liberal National Party MP famously told the state’s legislative assembly that homosexuals could “grow into heterosexuality over time”.
The conservative Christian, who was the shadow minister responsible for communities and women, also encouraged people struggling with their sexuality to contact Exodus ministries – part of a Christian ‘ex-gay’ organisation that claims to be able to cure homosexuality.
Renewed scrutiny of Simpson’s speech, which was made during discussion of anti-discrimination law changes in November 2002, arose when she argued against former Deputy Premier Andrew Fraser’s plans to introduce a bill legalising same-sex civil unions late last year.
Simpson refused to clarify whether she still supported ‘ex-gay’ therapy when the comments resurfaced and her official Facebook page was deleted after it was inundated with criticism from social media users angered by her remarks.
LGBTI community groups had been nervously awaiting the announcement of Premier Campbell Newman’s new front bench to see whether Simpson would retain the community services portfolio.
She told the ABC today that she had not sought the Speaker role and had expected to be part of Newman’s cabinet.
Simpson overwhelming won her Maroochydore seat at last week’s state election with 58.7 percent of the primary vote.
Read the full transcript of Simpson’s 2002 comments on Hansard here on pages 53-54.