The Rainbow seems to be taking over the New South Wales legislative council. On Tuesday, openly gay Liberal MLC Shayne Mallard was elected the government whip in the legislative council. And on Thursday, came news that Labor had elected openly lesbian MLC Penny Sharpe as the Leader of the Opposition in the legislative council.
The appointments to the top Parliamentary posts come as two anti-LGBTQI Bill are being pushed through NSW Parliament – the Education Legislation Amendment (Parental Rights) Bill 2020 and “religious freedom” amendment to the NSW Discrimination Act – by One Nation MP Mark Latham.
Outgoing NSW MLC Fred Nile of the Christian Democratic Party and his successor Lyle Shelton have also announced their intention to introduce a Bill to ban care and treatment being provided to trans and gender diverse children.
Historic Appointment For Gender Equality
Both, Sharpe and Mallard are leading a cross party group Parliamentary Friends of the LGBTQI+ Community that is pushing for a law in NSW to ban the so-called gay conversion therapies.
Sharpe posted on social media, adding that she and deputy opposition leader of the legislative council John Graham had “a big job ahead but we are ready.”
“Truly humbled and excited to be elected the Leader of the Opposition in the NSW Legislative Council. I am the first woman to hold this position in the 165 year history of the NSW Upper House,” said Sharpe.
Truly humbled and excited to be elected the Leader of the Opposition in the NSW Legislative Council. I am the first woman to hold this position in the 165 year history of the NSW Upper House. @JohnGrahamALP #nswpol pic.twitter.com/epPeWWTHv7
— Penny Sharpe (@PennySharpemlc) June 8, 2021
Out & In NSW Parliament
Mallard thanked his colleagues for his election as the government whip. “Honoured to have been elected by my parliamentary colleagues to the position of Government Whip in the Legislative Council. Now the real work begins,” Mallard posted on Twitter.
Honoured to have been elected by my parliamentary colleagues to the position of Government Whip in the Legislative Council. Now the real work begins!! #nswparliament #nswpol #auspol #dayjob pic.twitter.com/BYwmqgHpN3
— Shayne Mallard MP (@ShayneMallard) June 8, 2021
Mallard, had recently chaired a bipartican Parliamentary committee that recommended a judicial inquiry into the spate of murders of gay men and trans persons across Sydney between 1970 and 2010.
Mallard was first elected to the NSW Legislative Council in 2015. Mallard is openly gay and married his partner Jesper Hansen in 2014.