A GOOD FRIEND
A lot is being said about Jeff Shaw at the moment. Readers might be interested to know that, when he was NSW attorney-general in 1995-2000, Shaw was a good friend of lesbians, gays and trannies.
A few examples: he was responsible for making it unlawful to discriminate on the ground of being transgender and for enabling people who have had sexual reassignment surgery to have their gender changed on their birth certificates.
He put through the Property (Relationships) Legislation Amendment Act which made sweeping changes to property and relationship rights for people in same-sex relationships.
Shaw was a strong supporter of measures to reduce levels of violence against people because of their sexual identity, including funding for work by the Lesbian and Gay Anti-Violence Project. He instituted the lesbian/gay policy officer in the Crime Prevention Division of the attorney-general’s department.
Shaw was deeply disappointed he could not get the numbers in the NSW upper house to equalise the age of consent; that opportunity arose after he had left office.
We can make criticisms that some of his reforms didn’t go far enough (eg, it shouldn’t be necessary to have surgery to ensure one’s birth certificate reflects one’s gender identity). But Shaw was always a pragmatist — better to achieve what can be achieved today than put off ideal changes to the never-never.
I hope people won’t forget Shaw’s achievements.
Colin (Letters SSO 1021) is wrong to suggest that Liberals John Fahey and John Hannaford were responsible for the Homosexual Vilification Bill.
The Bill was introduced into the Legislative Assembly by Clover Moore and passed with the support of her Independent colleagues, with conservative Liberals and the Nationals voting against. Most Liberals did not come into the chamber to vote.
Democrat Liz Kirkby then introduced the Bill into the Legislative Council. With one exception, the Liberal-National Coalition voted against it, including John Hannaford. The Bill passed by one vote with support of the Labor Party, Richard Jones and sole Liberal Ted Pickering.
— Larry Galbraith
WHERE WERE THEY?
Congratulations to all those who organised the rally on the weekend. While attending the event, a few thoughts came to my mind.
Marriage equality will not occur in this country until we reach into the homes and minds of middle Australia.
It seems every disaffected group in the community was there but not the ones that politicians will notice, i.e. mums and dads from the suburbs. Once they join our fight for equality and start marching, writing letters to MPs that is when equality will occur. As galling as it may seem to some, we need to appeal to all and not the converted.
The second thought that struck me was the lack of high-profile gay Australian identities on this issue. It is disappointing that a visitor (Ian McKellen in Melbourne) to these shores has the guts to attend while the likes of Bob Brown, Michael Kirby, Anthony Callea, etc, obviously felt it beneath them to speak up for equality.
While I’m not one for celebrity we need to do whatever it takes to show Australia that it’s a mainstream issue and not some left-wing revolutionary ideal.
QUEER ARTISTS’ PLEA
This is an open letter to Marrickville Council and community.
We are the Centrepiece Queer Arts Collective, a collective of young queer artists who have recently taken up residency in the old nurses quarters at 26 Lilydale St, Marrickville. We are hoping to negotiate our involvement in regards to future uses of the building and to establish a mutually beneficial relationship with Marrickville Council based on common interests and values.
We moved into the premises because we do not have anywhere else to live. We are all on low incomes and all other possibilities for accessible accommodation are exhausted.
Council-run boarding houses and Housing Commission flats do not meet our needs as they strip away our right to self-determination. The community and co-op housing sectors are overstretched.
We believe there is a cycle of gentrification that council is also aware of — that queers and artists create vibrant and diverse communities, which then become desirable commodities. Prices in these areas then go up, making rental properties out of reach for the original inhabitants. This forces us to leave the communities we have created.
We believe Marrickville Council has the foresight to prevent this cycle that promotes monetary wealth over strong, diverse and healthy communities.
We do not wish to ‘bludge’ or steal from council. We do not wish to damage private property. We want to be healthy, productive and creative members of a rich and dynamic community.
We wish to contribute and have our contributions valued. We need housing in order to achieve this. We need to address the fact that there are no GLBTI housing projects in the Marrickville area for people in our situation. We need a queer safe space for our collective.
We are looking for advice, information and support in helping us to stay in the old nurses quarters at the old Marrickville hospital.
— The Centrepiece Collective
The second investigation by the Division of Local Government into allegations made by the Greens of my alleged breach of the political donations provisions of the Model Code of Conduct has concluded.
In a letter of 30 April 2010 the Chief Executive of the Local Government Division Mr Ross Woodward concludes any non-pecuniary conflict of interest I may have had would properly be characterised as a ‘less than significant non-pecuniary conflict of interest’ for the purpose of the Model Code and Council’s adopted Code and that the matter does not warrant further action.
This is the second investigation by the Division that has cleared my name.
— Cr Shayne Mallard
Letters to the Editor
A GOOD FRIEND