Openly gay politician Dean Smith may be up for the fight of his life in order to retrain his seat on the Australian Senate following explosive allegations that he is being targeted by conservative powers within Liberal party ranks.
In a report which has surfaced in The Western Australian, it has been revealed that Smith is to be placed last on the Liberal senate ticket at the next federal election. It follows after Senator Mathias Cormann announced in June that he would be leaving federal politics “within the next six months” following the 2020 budget announcement, delivered in October.
Smith, elected to the Australian Senate as a representative of Western Australia in 2012, has continued to be a vocal advocate for the LGBTQI communities. In 2017, Smith introduced the historic marriage equality bill to the Australian parliament, following Australian’s having voted yes in the postal survey on marriage equality.
At the time, Smith said “the biggest hurdle” for LGBTQI people is often “that of self-acceptance.” Inclusion in the institution of marriage is vital because “nothing speaks more of acceptance than marriage.”
It is because of such vocal support for LGBTQI communities and rights, that many within the Western Australian Liberal Party allegedly feel disdain towards Smith.
Sufi, in 2013 made headlines for all the wrong reasons, saying of marriage equality that it was “a perfidious and futile attack on language.” The politicians more recent attacks include speaking out against constitutional recognition for First Nations people in 2016.
Jacob’s on the other hand, has strong ties to Christian conservatives and currently sits on the board of Perth’s Globalheart Church, a group which expels members if they ‘develop a mental illness’. When in 2017, Jacob was pressed on this issue, to which he replied, “That it is their right as Christians to attend the church of their choice and they are entitled to be respected for their religious belief and their privacy in that, this is not a matter for political discussion.”
However, Smith’s relatively high profile in WA and role as chief government whip in the Senate is possibly enough to save him from being placed last on the Liberal senate ticket, with others claiming the possibility of Canberra stepping in to intervene in the process if it looks like he may be squeezed out.