NEWS of two gay candidates announcing their intention to Liberal MP Kelly O’Dwyer for the blue-ribbon seat of Higgins in Victoria at the next Federal Election made headlines last weekend.
The first openly-gay Aussie Rules football player Jason Ball will stand for the Greens, while gay rights advocate Carl Katter will stand for Labor.
[showads ad=MREC]An advocate for equality in the AFL, as well as being an ambassador for beyondblue and the Safe Schools Coalition, Ball saw his move towards politics as the next logical step.
“I think politics will provide an opportunity for me to move my advocacy to the next level and to speak about the issues I’m passionate about,” he said.
“It also allows me to be a role model, the kind I wish I’d had when I was a kid.”
Meanwhile Katter — the half-brother of Bob Katter, the Queensland-based Kennedy federal MP and leader of Katter’s Australian Party — has been a champion of same-sex marriage.
He told the Herald Sun he believes the next federal election would focus on what voters believe are key issues of fairness.
Both Katter and Ball have said they would continue to advocate for LGBTI rights in the lead up to the election.
“I think it’s a sign that the times are changing, and it’s purely coincidental that two gay candidates are running for the same seat,” Ball told the Star Observer.
Higgins covers Melbourne suburbs such as Malvern, Prahran, Toorak, Armadale, and South Yarra, where Ball currently resides.
The seat will require a swing vote of 9.9 per cent to change hands, making it relatively safe for the Liberals. Previous Liberal MPs for Higgins include former treasure Peter Costello and former prime ministers Harold Holt and John Gorton.
However, in last year’s Victorian state election the Greens won the marginal seat of Prahran — a state electorate which covers many parts of Higgins’ geographical area — from the Liberals.