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Greenwich highlights gay rights in maiden speech
Freshly elected gay independent NSW MP Alex Greenwich has made his first speech to Parliament with a pitch on legalising gay marriage in the state.
Greenwich yesterday rose and gave his maiden speech to a backed public gallery – but noticeably empty parliamentary chamber – which had a particular focus on gay rights.
Early on, he made mention of a parliamentary cross-party working group which will examine the best way to prepare the Parliament for legislation to legalise same-sex marriage in NSW.
“This house will soon debate legislation to grant the children of those same-sex parented families the right to have married parents and I am encouraged that we are already starting to see the same political cooperation to progress marriage equality in NSW as we did with same-sex adoption,” Greenwich said.
“I look forward to being an active member of the multi-party marriage equality working group.”
He also criticised existing laws that allow legal discrimination against the LGBTI community.
“This house has the opportunity and duty to strengthen anti-discrimination laws so, for example, teachers can no longer be fired and students can no longer be expelled, for being gay,” he said.
“We must also put an end to the ‘gay panic’ defence, and I applaud the work of the Honourable Helen Westwood and others towards this.”
Other areas he touched on included more diversity in Parliament, better transport options in the inner city, the need for a comprehensive public high school in the city and improved environmental practices such as renewable energy sources.
Greenwich singled out public housing tenants in the speech, stating: “Residents in areas including Millers Point, Woolloomooloo and Surry Hills have taught me a lot about Sydney and the importance of community over the past few months.”
“Public Housing tenants actively contribute to the fabric of our city, and deserve greater security and respect.”
He also paid tribute to the achievements of his predecessor and Sydney Lord Mayor, Clover Moore.
“Clover hit the ground running with fierce determination to transform Sydney into a family friendly, diverse, and welcoming home for all,” he said.
“Her many achievements include laws to enable small bars, public ownership of the former Showgrounds site, saving the Woolloomooloo Finger Wharf, initiating the Medically Supervised Injecting Centre and making it illegal to incite hatred of gay men and lesbians.”