The NSW Attorney-General’s portfolio -“ a key appointment in terms of lesbian and gay law reform -“ will be retained by Bob Debus after last week’s cabinet reshuffle.

Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby co-convenor Rob McGrory told Sydney Star Observer that it was a positive thing for Debus to stay on in the job.

He has met with us on numerous occasions and is very aware of our issues, McGrory said, adding that Debus’s decision to create a gay and lesbian advisory committee during the last term of government showed that he was pro-active about educating himself about our issues.

But given that he knows about our issues, he needs now to act on them as a matter of priority, McGrory said. This ultimately requires leadership from Premier Carr and his active support, which has not been particularly strong to date. The buck stops with the premier.

Ministries to change hands in the cabinet reshuffle include Transport (taken from Carl Scully and given to Michael Costa) and Police (taken from Michael Costa and given to John Watkins).

The ministry for Local Government -“ an area where the state government has already suggested there will be further reform -“ was awarded to Country Labor convenor Tony Kelly. It was previously held by Harry Woods, who retired at the last election.

Kelly was criticised by the Lobby leadership last year for appearing to use homophobia as a political tactic against Liberal leader John Brogden. Last April, Kelly issued a press release which stated that Brogden’s plan to lower the age of consent for homosexuals was an example of his radical views on social reform.

The media statement was condemned as unacceptable and absolutely outrageous by former Lobby co-convenor Anthony Schembri. McGrory declined to comment on Kelly’s appointment as minister for Local Government.

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