WHILE Queensland waits to find out the political makeup of its next state parliament following Saturday’s knife-edge election, the state’s LGBTI community may be the recipient of key legislative and funding decisions and changes.
The election result has so far seen the nine-member Opposition Labor party unseat a sitting Premier and possibly form either a majority or minority government.
As the fate of about three to four seats will not be known for a few days, a likely Labor-led minority government is emerging with either the support of two Katter’s Australian Party (KAP) MPs or independent MP Peter Wellington.
Labor was the only major party to make a somewhat comprehensive list of LGBTI commitments but all eyes are on whether Labor can form a government that will honour these promises.
Restoring Civil Unions, refunding Queensland AIDS Council, implementing the Safe Schools Coalition, expunging historical gay consensual sex convictions, reviewing the state’s age of consent discrepancy and guaranteeing same-sex altruistic surrogacy rights were all part of Labor’s pitch to LGBTI voters.
In the LGBTI-centric seat of Brisbane Central, previous Labor member Grace Grace has been returned on a two party-preferred result of 54.4 per cent to incumbent LNP MP Robert Cavallucci’s 45.6 per cent (with 68.6 per cent of the vote counted as of Sunday, 12:57pm).
Grace is certain that should Labor form government, promises made to the LGBTI community will be met.
“I think Labor will certainly honour our commitments made during the campaign once the make-up of the parliament is finalised and we know what we’re dealing with,” she told the Star Observer.
“It’s fantastic to once again be representing the LGBTI community within the seat and working with them again. I’ve always loved working the community and I’m so thankful for their support in the election.
“Queenslanders were obviously sick of the arrogant nature and destructive policies of the former government and I’m proud to be back to deliver outcomes for Brisbane Central and everyone in it.”
Despite his loss after one term, Cavallucci said that he had achieved what he ultimately set out to do in office and represent his own beliefs of equality and fairness.
“I’m disappointed that I won’t get to continue in my efforts as the local representative for LGBTI and wider community within Brisbane Central and the state,” he told the Star Observer.
“The last three years have been a demonstration of what I set out to do form day one: to show the LGBTI community they could have a supportive partner within a conservative government.
“That they could have someone that could put politics aside to achieve equality for the community and deliver most importantly what the community needed.”
Cavallucci offered gratitude to community members that worked with him on a variety of issues ranging from Brisbane Pride Festival funding and support, to working towards repealing gay sex convictions.
“I have to thank those in the community that that had the courage to stand up and work with me. Ultimately I think we did a really good job,” he said.
“That won’t end, though. As someone who supports the community and strives for equal rights I will work where I can to continue my support. The battle for equality is not over yet.”
Newman conceded defeat in the hotly-contested and-highly scrutinised electorate of Ashgrove that he won in 2012 from outside of government in a first for the state.
“My political career is over. It is over,” he said during his concession speech, acknowledging the victory of Labor’s Kate Jones with a swing of 11.4 per cent to Labor.
A minority government formed with the help of the conservative KAP MPs may prove difficult for the passing of favourable LGBTI legislation and reforms. However the vocally anti-LNP Wellington voted in favour of Civil Unions in 2011, refusing to be “intimidated” by religious groups.
Labor have expressed confidence in being able to claim victory in 45 seats, enough to give it majority.