POLITICIANS from across the political spectrum have backed the Star Observer’s campaign to remain an independent community-owned news publication.
The Star Observer, which is Australia’s longest established news publication for the LGBTI community, is looking to raise $75,000 through a crowdfunding campaign.
Shadow Assistant Treasurer Andrew Leigh said: “The Star Observer was founded at a time when our laws banned same-sex love. It has documented the struggles of Australia’s LGBTI community and advocated for vital changes such as same-sex marriage.”
The federal MP for Fraser, in the ACT, said he supported the campaign to “to keep the Star burning bright.”
NSW Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon said she fondly remembered dropping by the Star Observer’s offices on Sydney’s Oxford St when she had a story to spruik.
“For more than 35 years the Star Observer has been on the front line reporting, investigating, speaking up and helping drive the wins that the community has achieved,” she said.
“The Star Observer’s progressive approach to independent journalism combined with its historic understanding of how discrimination against the LGBTI community has been challenged must be cherished and retained.”
Rhiannon said LGBTI-specific publications helped connect isolated members in the community and challenge viewpoints.
“When I hear that the LGBTI community could lose some of its well respected, long standing media outlets I think of the high rates of suicide among young people in the country, abuse of some sports people and other nasty attitudes,” she said.
City of Sydney Liberal councillor Christine Forster said: “It’s incredibly important that the LGBTI community is served by strong and independent publications like the Star Observer.
“Such publications play an important part in keeping the community informed and engaged, as well as giving LGBTI people the opportunity to be heard.”
Labor’s Terri Butler, who represents Kevin Rudd’s former Queensland seat of Griffith, said the Star Observer was “a source of quality, independent journalism” for the LGBTI community.
“Without a multiplicity of sources of independent journalism, our democracy suffers. That’s why community-owned publications are so important – they allow for voices and perspectives that would otherwise be marginalised or silenced altogether.”
Other politicians, such as NSW upper house Labor MP Penny Sharpe and Sydney state independent MP Alex Greenwich have shown their support in pledges and countless social media messages urging people to support the campaign.
CEO of the Star Observer, Daniel Bone, said: “We have reported on our community since 1979, loudly demanding political reform and applauding those who have led the charge for decriminalisation and equality.
“Australia’s early response to HIV shows the power of our elected leaders working hand in hand with the LGBTI community and it is wonderful and humbling to see support from across the political spectrum for the Star Observer,” he said.
Donations to the campaign can be made until just after 3pm on Thursday, September 4 at http://www.pozible.com/project/185044