The Liberals have selected two openly gay candidates for the NSW State Election.
Mortgage consultant Adrian Bartels, 33, is standing in the seat of Sydney, while Bruce Notley-Smith, 46, a former Randwick Mayor and Randwick councillor, is running in Coogee.
Notley-Smith told Star Observer that having an openly gay MP in the parliament could only be of benefit to the GLBT community.
“Having someone who identifies with the community and understands the issues that they confront can only be a positive thing,” said Notley-Smith.
Notley-Smith said he would like to see increased resourcing to combat homophobic bullying and an end to anti-discrimination exemptions that allow religious owned businesses to discriminate against GLBT people.
“I’d like to see all exemptions removed,” said Notley-Smith, “There should be no discrimination on the basis of sexuality – in no way does your sexuality effect your suitability to perform any task in this society.”
Notley-Smith said he didn’t think marriage was the panacea for all couples, but it was what most people in society aspired to and same-sex couples should have the right.
Ardian Bartels told the Star Observer that equality was not a relative term.
“Either one is equal or one is not,” Bartels said.
“Australia used to lead the world when it comes to progressive social changes and in Government I would always champion the removal of discriminatory laws.”
In that context he was a supporter of same-sex marriage and for ending anti-discrimination exemptions in NSW law that effected GLBT people.
Bartels said he remembered the 2000 Olympics as the highpoint for Sydney but that things had gone downhill since then.
“There was an incredible spirit of ownership, of cooperation, of participation and belonging. We desperately need to recapture that enthusiasm and can-do attitude to make the transport system work, the health system heal, the education system inspire and put the ‘open for business’ sign up again.”
Bartels said that he was strongly opposed to what he said were plans by Clover Moore to gradually shut down Sydney’s nightlife.
“Pubs and clubs are a vital place for us to meet and socialise and celebrate what is wonderful about being gay and living in a great city,” said Bartels.
“Clover’s only solutions to the problems of alcohol and violence are all negative. What we need is a management plan – look at New Years Eve when you have a million people around the harbour. There’s uniformed police, there’s coordinated transport, emergency services, everyone has a great time and in relation to the number of people, it’s done safely.”
Both candidates named public transport, infrastructure and the scrapping of Part 3A of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act (under which the Government can take over the approval process for projects it deems of state significance) as priorities for the Liberals in Government.