The Victorian Liberal Party’s only openly gay MP is facing a huge damage bill and an uncertain future after last weekend’s drink driving accident.
Andrew Olexander stood down from his positions as the Victorian opposition’s spokesperson on the arts, consumer affairs and youth issues following a crash on Sunday morning.
Olexander admitted he was over the legal blood alcohol limit when he fell asleep at the wheel, crashing into four parked cars in Port Melbourne. He told reporters he was on his way home after a night of drinking with friends.
My actions are indefensible and entirely irresponsible. I apologise to the Victorian community, my electorate and my party, he said in a prepared statement.
It is never acceptable under any circumstances to drink and drive, and I did it and I’m very, very sorry.
Olexander was the first Victorian parliamentarian to come out as gay. Despite the lack of other gay or lesbian representatives in the political world, several Melbourne activists said he was not one of the community’s biggest supporters.
Victorian Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby spokesperson David McCarthy told Melbourne’s BNews while Olexander provided a gay voice in parliament he was certainly not the Lobby’s main contact within the Liberal Party.
That person is the member for Monash, Andrea Coote. She’s very proactive on gay issues and well qualified to represent us in the Liberal Party room.
During his political career, Olexander crossed the parliamentary floor in support of the gay and lesbian community. He voted in favour of legalising IVF treatments for lesbians and single women and spoke in favour of the Statute Law Amendment (Relationships) Bill in 2001, which fixed several discriminatory Victorian laws.
He had also regularly spoken out on the need to get tough on drug and alcohol abuse.
Victorian Liberal leader Robert Doyle told Southern Cross Radio Olexander had been a good parliamentarian before behaving stupidly.
He’s a person of great ability, you know he’s a very energetic person, he’s done a good job performing in those three portfolios, but that’s part of the pity of this, Doyle said.