LEICHHARDT federal Coalition MP Warren Entsch has confirmed that the cross-party group that he helped form in 2011 in support of LGBTI Australians will return to the parliamentary calendar in the current Federal Parliament.

Known as the Parliamentary Friends for LGBTI Australians, the group was engaged in the promotion of LGBTI rights within Federal Parliament between the 2010 and 2013 federal elections, while also teaching the LGBTI community about the ins and outs of federal politics. It encompasses 27 members from across the political spectrum.

During the group’s recent reintroduction to the parliamentary calendar, Entsch and his co-chairs, Moreton federal Labor MP Graham Perrett and South Australia Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young, stated the group’s focus was to “recognise the divide that exists between policy makers and the LGBTI community” and to give MPs and Senators the “chance to hear first-hand about social, legal and health issues in the LGBTI community”.

Entsch has previously stated that the life and death struggles of some members of the LGBTI community within Australia was what prompted him to initially form the group alongside his two co-chairs.

“It’s all been about gay marriage in recent times. If I just looked in the media, I’d think nothing else happens,” he said.

“But there are serious issues out there that people are actually dying because of.

“There are a lot of people there who have very strong views one way or the other on marriage and I don’t want them to feel by them coming out to support me in removing a whole range of discriminatory areas that I am using that as some covert way of achieving a hidden agenda on marriage.”

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