Mehreen FaruqiThe NSW Greens have a new spokesperson for LGBTI rights and marriage equality with the induction of Greens Upper House MP Dr Mehreen Faruqi.

A Pakistani-born civil engineer and associate professor at UNSW’s Australian Graduate School of Management, Faruqi is the tenth Greens MP and the first Muslim woman to sit on the NSW Legislative Council. She was sworn in on Monday, June 24 to replace outgoing Legislative Councillor Cate Faehrmann, who resigned her seat to contest a federal Senate placement at the upcoming election.

Faruqi will take on all of Faehrmann’s portfolios, making her the NSW Greens’ new sexuality and gender identity spokesperson, as well as the Greens delegate to the cross-party working group on marriage equality. Comprised of members of four political parties as well as independent MP Alex Greenwich, the working group was set up in November last year to push for equal marriage legislation in NSW.

Faruqi’s appointment to the working group comes as Parliament’s Social Issues Inquiry into Same-sex Marriage Law in NSW prepares to release its final report on July 26, and may inject some life into the organisation. While the group was active at the start of the year, drafting an equal marriage bill and campaigning for LGBTI people to submit messages of support to the Parliamentary inquiry, the working group’s website has not been updated since February and little word has been issued from the group since.

Speaking to the Star Observer, Faruqi said she intended to continue Faehrmann’s work and was “incredibly excited” to be a part of the working group.

“My passion for gender and marriage equality issues comes from my time in Pakistan, where I found LGBTI people incredibly oppressed and marginalised, particularly when trying to get an education or find employment. It is truly tragic that in a diverse society like modern Australia our legislation still allows this marginalisation, and I intend to do my part to right these injustices. LGBTI issues are human rights issues,” Faruqi said.

Faruqi previously contested the south-eastern Sydney state seat of Heffron in a 2012 byelection triggered by the resignation of former Premier Kristina Keneally, polling in second place with just over 23 percent.

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