Greens candidate for the inner-Melbourne electorate of Batman Alex Bhathal has welcomed Australian Marriage Equality’s plans to leaflet in support of marriage equality in the seat, which has one of the highest numbers of same-sex couples in Australia.
“It certainly sends the message to whoever the incoming member is that this is a high profile issue, if not the highest profile issue in the electorate,” Bhathal told the Star Observer.
Bhathal said residents had contacted her about Labor candidate and former Senator David Feeney, who abstained in last September’s marriage equality vote and voted against a Senate bill in June to allow legal recognition of same-sex sex marriages performed overseas.
“People were really disgusted actually,” Bhathal said.
“I felt it was unnecessary and also at odds with what he’d been telling people. I guess what a lot of people were saying to me is that they were confused about where he actually stood on the issue.”
Bhathal said Batman residents have lobbied her on a range of LGBTI-related issues, including funding for people living with HIV, general sexual health education and counselling services for LGBTI young people, and support available for older LGBTI people.
While Bhathal said she would pursue the issues if elected, she was not able to provide specific policy details in these areas for LGBTI people living in Batman:
“That would be a strong commitment for me, but we don’t have detailed policies at that level for each electorate.”
Bhathal said the Greens’ would continue to push for marriage equality in a new parliament:
“We think it’s shameful Australia’s being left behind on this issue globally, and we think it is time to end this glaring piece of discrimination against the GLBTI community.”