NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet has said that he would work to support the LGBTQI community and to ensure that they are not discriminated against in the state.

This is the first time since he took over as the state’s premier two weeks ago that Perrottet, who in the past opposed gay marriages and the use of gender-neutral pronouns, has committed to protecting the LGBTQI community from discrimination.

Perrottet’s made the statement in the NSW Parliament earlier this week in response to a question asked by out Sydney MP Alex Greenwich.

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The statement also assumes significance in light of the fact that NSW Parliament is scheduled to take up One Nation MLC Mark Latham’s anti-trans bills education and religious freedom bills. 

Will You Ensure LGBTQI Community Is Supported?

Greenwich’s question to the premier in the Parliament during Question Time was direct: “Will you work with me to ensure the LGBTQI+ community is supported by your government and not discriminated against in New South Wales?”

Perrottet in his response, thanked Greenwich for his question and said he wanted to recognise the Independent Sydney MP’s work in not just “advocating for the LGBT community” but for the people in the city hit hard by the pandemic. 

Perrottet said that when he became the Premier, “I said that I would serve every single person across New South Wales, and that is what I’ve always tried to do as a member of this government, and as Premier, that is what I will continue to do.” 

He told Greenwich that he would continue to work with him “constructively to ensure that the LGBTI members of our community do feel supported, and do not face injustice in New South Wales.”

Perrottet Was Opposed To Gay Marriages

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Perrottet then cited his centre-right beliefs of small government, freedom and the rights of the individual.

“I am a Liberal, and a fundamental aspect of being a Liberal, is understanding that governments should, as much as possible stay out of people’s lives, because we believe that a strong society is not the product of a government or programs, but a product of flourishing families and individuals, communities and businesses across our state. Human flourishing is only possible when the inherent dignity of everyone in our society is recognised and affirmed.” 

Perrottet’s claims of staying out of people’s lives will no doubt be tested when One Nation’s anti-trans bills are placed before the Parliament. 

LGBTQI rights organisations too have been keenly watching Perrottet’s stand with regards to the community, given his past history and statements.

During the marriage equality debate in Australia, Perrottet opposed changing the definition of marriage, adding that “marriage is about every child’s fundamental right to grow up with their own mum and dad.”

He opposed the use of gender neutral pronouns and voiced opposition to a 2019 Victorian law that would requiring priests and religious leaders to report child abuse. He has not clarified if his views have changed over the years.

‘We Must Hold Him To His Word’

Equality Australia, welcomed the Premier’s assurances with regard to protecting the community’s rights. “It’s encouraging to hear the new Premier commit to working to support the LGBTQI+ community, and to address injustice,” Anna Brown, CEO, Equality Australia told Star Observer

“We must stand together to hold him to his word, by encouraging his government to act for equality by rejecting One Nation’s attacks on our communities, and to strengthen our rights and protections under law.” 

Brown said that NSW had a special place in Australia’s history for advancing equal rights. “It’s where the trailblazing 78ers bravely stepped out of the bars and into the streets for the first Sydney Mardi Gras.”

 “Parliament eventually followed, acting to decriminalise gay sex, allow some transgender people to legally update their gender, provide greater recognition to people in same-sex relationships and children in rainbow families, and strengthen protections for LGBTQ+ people and people with HIV in anti-discrimination and vilification laws.

NSW Risks Falling Behind

The original 78ers marching in the 2020 Mardi Gras.
Image: Supplied

In recent years, however, other states and territories have taken the lead, whether it is passing laws banning so-called conversion therapy (Queensland, ACT, Victoria) or removing exemptions under discrimination laws for religious schools (Tasmania). 

“NSW risks falling behind. Ahead of Sydney WorldPride 2023, we hope the Premier will lead a government that ensures LGBTIQ+ people are better protected under anti-discrimination law, puts an end to harmful conversion practices, ensures trans and gender diverse people can access ID documents that reflect their gender, and ends unnecessary medical procedures on intersex people without their consent,” added Brown.  

 

For 24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention call Lifeline on 13 11 14

For Australia-wide LGBTQI peer support call QLife on 1800 184 527 or webchat.

 

 

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