Labor’s newly appointed Shadow Assistant Minister for Equality, WA Senator Louise Pratt, says she has concerns over new Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s record on LGBTI equality.
Pratt, who takes over the portfolio established by Queensland MP Terri Butler, says many have reached out to her following Morrison’s ascension to the top job.
“He defended and praised Israel Folau when he said that gay people were going to hell, saying he had ‘shown a lot of strength of character’.
“Scott Morrison was a vocal opponent of Marriage Equality. He supported the divisive postal survey as a way of obstructing our path to marriage equality.
“He then campaigned actively for the No case and voted “No” during the postal survey,” Pratt said.
“To add insult to injury he supported amendments to the Bill to allow for discrimination against LGBTI people within the Marriage Act.
“He then went on to abstain from the vote – ignoring the will of the Australian people and indeed, the will of the people within his own electorate.”
Pratt noted that Morrison was one of just a handful of MPs who abstained from voting on the marriage equality legislation, which was introduced by Dutton backer and WA Senator Dean Smith.
“He was joined by eight other MPs including Andrew Hastie, Tony Abbott, and Kevin Andrews.
“This is the same group of conservative MPs behind the push to replace Malcolm Turnbull in the top job.
“The LGBTI community should hold concerns about the influence these and other hard right Liberal and National MPs hold inside the Morrison Government,” she said.
”The LGBTI community can never be complacent. While we have achieved Marriage Equality, the growing conservative control in the Liberal Party means we could see the reversal of the rights we have fought so long and hard for quickly taken away,” Pratt’s statement concluded.
Pratt is an out lesbian and longtime champion of LGBTI rights. Her longtime ex-partner, Aram Hosie, is a trans man and activist working in the WA community.
She and Hosie co-parent their child with fellow Labor politician Stephen Dawson and his partner, one of whom is their biological father.
Pratt entered parliament in 2007, lost her seat at the 2013 federal election – via a highly unusual special half-senate election in 2014 – before re-entering the Senate in 2016.
The Australian Christian Lobby has already declared its support for Morrison as Prime Minister.
Pratt addressed the Senate during the postal survey last year about the impact of the campaign on her rainbow family.
“I was down the local shop with members of my own rainbow family, just doing the shopping for the evening meal, when they were handed an anti-marriage equality pamphlet,” she said.
“But it wasn’t even about marriage, the quality of my relationship with my partner or the quality of my son’s dads’ relationships. My child should not be subject to debates about his family and his parents.”
LGBTI advocacy group just.equal welcome Pratt’s appointment to the role.
“Louise Pratt will be a great Equality Spokesperson because of her long history as an advocate for LGBTI equality, her passion, principles and policy expertise, and her natural ability to build bridges,” said just.equal spokesperson Rodney Croome.
“We commend Labor for appointing Louise and and look forward to working closely with her.
“We thank Terri Butler for her work as the first national Equality Spokesperson.
“For over a quarter of a century Louise has worked hard for LGBTI human rights, and it is great to see she now has a position befitting her skills, experience and commitment.”