NSW Labor’s new Opposition leader Jodi McKay has a long history of working with the LGBTQI community in the state, the Star Observer can reveal.
McKay was first elected in 2007 as the Labor member for Newcastle but lost the seat in 2011.
During that first stint in office McKay was present to open ACON’s Hunter region office after it was renovated and reopened with a second floor in February of 2009.
She also spoke in favour of same-sex couple adoption in the NSW Parliament during the debate on that reform in September of 2011.
Between losing her seat and being re-elected to the seat of Strathfield in 2015, McKay went to work for Family Planning NSW, which was at the time responsible for developing the Proud Schools pilot program.
Proud Schools was aimed at promoting awareness and acceptance of sexuality and gender diversity in secondary schools and was a forerunner of Safe Schools.
When the NSW Government failed to commit to the program, McKay worked with ACON and the NSW GLRL to help introduce the Safe Schools program in NSW.
McKay spoke about this in the Legislative Assembly in February of 2016 while giving her own personal apology to the 78ers on the same day as the NSW Parliamentary apology to the participants of the first Sydney Mardi Gras in 1978.
“A number of meetings were held with the Department of Education and people in this place and there was a great deal of support,” McKay told the Legislative Assembly in 2016.
“Introducing the Safe Schools program in schools in New South Wales was not easy, which is why it is important to have advocacy groups such as the Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby and ACON, and supporters such as the people who have spoken here today to ensure that programs like this exist.”
“I acknowledge the hard work that went into making that happen. Our apology today is genuine and heartfelt and I apologise to the 78ers for what they went through. The battle is not yet over; we are reminded of that every day. The 78ers are warriors and heroes. They will walk away today remembering this historic moment but they must not give up the fight.”
McKay was also vocal in her support for a screening of the film Gayby Baby in her electorate on Wear It Purple Day at Burwood Girls High School in 2015 that generated a political furore that saw the movie banned from schools in NSW by the then Education Minister Adrian Piccoli.
The film depicts the lives of four children with same-sex parents. A Presbyterian minister who lectured on Christianity at the school had launched a campaign to get it banned as he felt it was political as Australia was still debating same-sex marriage at the time.
Burwood Girls High School was also one of the first to receive the Safe Schools program when it was rolled out in NSW.
McKay was previously the Shadow Minister for Transport and Shadow Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight before replacing Michael Daly as Opposition Leader in the NSW Legislative Assembly and NSW Labor leader.
Yesterday McKay defeated Kogarah MP Chris Minns in a caucus vote of 29 to 21, and also received 63 percent of the votes of 10,800 rank-and-file party members.
Both McKay and Minns are members of the party’s right faction.
With McKay taking the Labor leadership in NSW this is the first time in history that both the state’s Premier and Opposition leaders are both women.
The party will meet again in a few days to decide the deputy leader of the party and opposition leader in the Legislative Council.
The current acting deputy leader is Penny Sharpe, one of the LGBTQI members of the NSW Parliament, and she has expressed an interest in remaining in the role.
Sharp took to Facebook to congratulate McKay on her election to the role late last night, posting “And the results are in. Congrats to Jodi. 2023 game on.”