The time has arrived. If the Australian Labor Party is ever to claim to be the political party of social reform, now’s the time to prove it.

In a column published in the Fairfax papers this week, Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd spoke of the urgent need for Labor to return to being “the force of progressive politics”.

I’m loathe to state the bleeding obvious here, but isn’t one of the stumbling blocks to progressive reform in Australia the blunt refusal of successive Labor leaders to change the Marriage Act?

Don’t believe me? Have a look at polling on the issue and see how far the community has come in the relatively short time the issue has been on the agenda. It’s obvious — most Australians want change.

This weekend is the Labor Party’s National Conference and the Star Observer has been flooded with opinion pieces from readers who, as the clock ticks towards crunch time, feel the need to share their views on an issue that affects their daily lives.

An honourable mention here goes to activist group GetUp!, who, with their It’s Time video, have managed to say with images alone, what 1000 opinion pieces have shouted repeatedly over the last few years.

It’s still too difficult to predict how the National Conference will pan out, nor am I stupid enough to call it. But I, like most, can only hope the right decision is made.

On other matters, you’ll notice this week the Star Observer is a little bulkier than usual. For good reason. The paper begins an exciting new chapter this week.

From this issue on, the Star Observer will widen its reach to cover the entire eastern seaboard with the latest in LGBTI news, views, entertainment and sport. You’ll notice our title has been replaced with the more inclusive ‘Star Observer’ as we welcome our northern neighbours into the fold. With our increasing presence online, this will make searching for news and entertainment stories all the easier.

The paper now has a firm foot in the Sunshine State, and our focus, as always, will be to bring readers the latest news from all over Australia.

At the end of the day, we may live in different states, but we’re all fighting for the same thing. Respect.

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