A quip made by the Queensland Attorney-General in Parliament about a Brisbane gay venue has been branded “belittling and disturbing” by a Queensland LGBTI advocate.

Jarrod Bleijie announced last Thursday that he and Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney would visit The Beat in Fortitude Valley after an invitation from Brisbane Central MP Rob Cavallucci as part of research into liquor licensing laws.

“The member for Brisbane Central, with his particular interest, has invited the deputy premier and I to a club in his electorate, The Beat,” Bleijie told Parliament.

“The deputy premier and I are looking forward to going there on a bit of a tour. We will probably try to organise that.

“I am reliably informed that the deputy premier already knows where The Beat is. He is a visitor there.”

Bleijie made the comment during a discussion about the government’s plans to extend the drink-safe precinct around Fortitude Valley and review the state’s licensing laws.

A large number of Liberal National Party (LNP) MPs could easily be heard laughing at the comment.

Equal rights advocate Phil Browne expressed his concern and disappointment in Bleijie’s remarks and shared laughter of some LNP members.

“I watched the parliamentary webcast showing this incident. What is most disturbing is the large number of MPs who were clearly heard on the recording laughing… and the fact that no MP was heard saying this is not a laughing matter or not acceptable,” Browne told Star Observer.

In a letter to his local MP, Rob Cavallucci, Browne asked if there would have been laughter if a heterosexual venue had been mentioned.

“Why do so many Queensland MPs think it’s funny if the deputy premier should know the location of the Beat nightclub? I do not know if this is based on downright homophobia, or just plain ignorance – but either way it is not acceptable.”

Browne labelled the joke and shared laughter as disturbing and “a put-down and belittling of LGBT Queenslanders implying they are inferior”.

“This sort of put down contributes to the higher rates of mental health issues experienced by LGBT Queenslanders as a result of social isolation and marginalisation,” he said.

Browne requested Cavallucci educate LNP members about the consequences their comments and actions have.

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