Gay leaders take sides

Gay leaders take sides

ACON president Adrian Lovney and long-time gay activist Rodney Croome have joined a list of high-profile gay and lesbian community members to publicly take sides in the lead-up to the federal election.

Lovney, former New Mardi Gras co-chair Michael Woodhouse and a long list of others are encouraging voters to support the Labor Party in an advertisement in this week’s Sydney Star Observer.

Of the two parties that can form government, only one has committed to fixing the laws that discriminate against us in relation to taxation, superannuation, immigration, family law, industrial relations and government benefits, the ad says. That is the Australian Labor Party.

Lovney said he placed the ad as a private citizen and he believes it’s in the community’s best interests for Labor to win.

Joining Lovney and Wood-house in putting their name to the ad are ACON director Alan Brotherton, Rainbow Labor co-convenor Paula O’Sullivan, former ACON president Chris Gration and former South Sydney councillor Greg Shaw.

The list also includes former Labor MP and CEO of the Sydney Gay Games Garrie Gibson, former federal Labor candidate Andrew Hewitt, gay activist Anthony Hillis and community photographers C. Moore Hardy and Jamie Dunbar.

In the last eight years under the Howard government we’ve gone nowhere. In fact we’ve gone backwards, Lovney told Sydney Star Observer.

Yes the ALP is not perfect, and I’m incredibly sad about what happened in the marriage debate, but I’m not surprised. And yes, there are minor parties that have better policies on gay and lesbian issues but they will never ever form government.

The prime minister will either be John Howard or Mark Latham, and personally I’d prefer it to be Latham.

Lovney also lent his name to the campaign of Sydney Labor MP Tanya Plibersek. It’s people like Tanya Plibersek that lead opinion, and lead change on difficult issues, he said in the candidate’s promotional material. Nearly all advances in our community have been delivered by Labor governments.

Gay rights activist Rodney Croome appears in Plibersek’s pamphlet as well, saying she is not only one of the best advocates for LGBT people in the ALP, she is one of the best advocates in parliament.

Croome also spoke at the Greens LGBTI policy launch this week but said he does not endorse any particular party.
My comments at the Greens LGBTI policy launch were about that policy, and I was very careful not to say -˜Vote Greens’, he said. And my support for Plibersek is for her as an MP, not for the Labor Party as such, and I certainly wouldn’t recommend people vote Labor.

Croome said he was not allowed to endorse a party in his role as a representative of the Equal Rights Network or the Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Rights Group. But at the same time I respect the right of other people to endorse political parties, he said.

I certainly wouldn’t endorse the Labor Party given their newly developed relationship with the religious right, but I certainly agree that Howard has to go.

At their LGBTI policy launch, the Greens committed to removing all forms of discrimination on the basis of sexuality and gender identity from all Commonwealth legislation. Croome called it Australia’s most comprehensive and detailed sexual and gender minority policy.

We will not see an end to homophobia and discrimination until we see the removal of this discrimination from all federal legislation, said the Greens candidate for Sydney, Jenny Leong. This included the areas of employment, accommodation, education, health care, family law, legal status, superannuation, pensions, immigration and law enforcement.

Leong said if elected she will introduce legislation to amend the Marriage Act to redefine marriage as the union of two persons, regardless of their sexuality, gender or gender identity.

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