Victorian LGBTI issues now have a designated voice in state Parliament after Victorian Labor announced its first shadow parliamentary secretary for equality.
Albert Park MP Martin Foley has taken on the role which was announced privately at a LGBTI roundtable last night with community leaders and members.
Foley will spend the coming months meeting LGBTI community members from Melbourne and regional Victoria with further policy forums to be planned in future.
Opposition leader Daniel Andrews said Foley was a natural choice since he was a great advocate for equality with a track record working with Rainbow Labor and LGBTI communities.
“The decision to create this new role, working directly with me as the Leader of the Opposition, is in recognition of the work still required to end discrimination and ensure equality for our LGBTIQ communities and their families,” Andrews said.
“We have rightly created specific government and political responsibilities for other diverse communities who face discrimination and whose contributions we celebrate. So why not take a stand and recognise that LGBTIQ communities and their families make their own unique contribution to our diversity?
“Why not recognise that LGBTIQ Victorians face their own unique forms of discrimination and disadvantage? Why not declare a future Labor State Government would recognise, affirm and celebrate this diversity as a matter of right? Why not do something about it?”
Foley said it would be an exciting new role.
“That it’s the first in Australia means that state Labor and Daniel Andrews team is setting the standard of how other political parties work with their LGBTIQ communities and families to bring about build rights and win equality,” he said.
“I am looking forward to working with the representatives of LBGTI communities and their families to shape the LGBTIQ policy the Victorian Labor Party takes to the next election in November 2014. I am also keen to work with the community to keep the pressure on the Liberal Napthine government to stop their roll back on rights and end their cuts to important services the community relies on.”
The announcement comes on the eve of International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO).