GREENS Senator Janet Rice has said Australia’s LGBTI equality movement often feels like a Christmas dinner, while speaking at the Star Observer’s end-of-year Christmas celebration this week.

Rice said the past year, filled with cause for rejoice and dismay, has felt like lining up to fill your plate.

“The Australian Christian Lobby has been telling everyone that this isn’t a real Christmas dinner – the traditional dinner only includes one turkey and one pudding,” she said.

“Cory Bernardi says he’s carb loading and has been stealing all the roast potatoes.

“And George Christensen has been cutting in line while telling everyone about his new career in modelling.”

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The Star Observer team with the night’s speakers. Image by Matto Lucas Photography.

The Star Observer’s Melbourne Christmas event drew community leaders, politicians, and advocates to reflect on both the challenges and highlights faced by sexual and gender diverse communities in Australia over the past year.

Rice said it’s been a pleasure being a part of the movement.

“The talented and dedicated people in the LGBTI community have been one of the greatest honours of being a representative in parliament,” she said.

“As we enter 2017, I’m confident that we can actually get to the dinner bit.”

Federal member for Goldstein Tim Wilson was also in attendance, and was asked to pass on a Christmas message from Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

“To the staff and readers of the Star Observer gathered here this evening, I extend my best wishes for a happy Christmas,” it read.

“Australians are fortunate to live in a country blessed by a strong democracy, abundant opportunity, and the benefits of cultural diversity.

“From this we can draw strength that, with hard work, resilience, creativity and mutual respect, our future will always be bright.”

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Minister for Equality Martin Foley. Image by Matto Lucas Photography.

Minister for Equality Martin Foley also addressed the attendees, similarly passing on a message from Premier Daniel Andrews.

“Let me thank all of you for the contribution you’ve made to the LGBTI community in Melbourne and across our state,” it read.

“In Victoria, equality is not negotiable. We’re proud of that.

“And it’s true that our government is leading the nation on LGBTI issues. We’re proud of that too.

“But that’s not my achievement. That’s your achievement.”

Other speakers on the night included Victoria’s 2017 Australian of the Year Jason Ball and the state’s gender and sexuality commissioner Ro Allen.

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Gender and sexuality commissioner Ro Allen with CEO of the Victorian AIDS Council Simon Ruth. Image by Matto Lucas Photography.

 

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Victoria’s Young Australian of the Year Jason Ball with lawyer at the Human Rights Law Centre Lee Carnie. Image by Matto Lucas Photography.

 

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