The ALP State Conference has approved the establishment of a GLBTI Affairs Policy Committee and Rainbow Labor Network Victoria.

The move will increase the visibility of the GLBTI movement within the Victorian Labor Party.

Rainbow Labor Network Victoria established a five-member interim executive to bring Victorian ALP members together to agitate for GLBTI causes. NSW and Queensland already have Rainbow Labor networks.

The separate GLBTI Affairs Policy Committee will have 20 members and policy work is already underway.
Rainbow Labor Network Executive spokeswoman Sarah Cole told Southern Star the response from the party so far has been positive.

She said the group will act as the party’s advocacy arm and provide networking opportunities for GLBTI members.

-œWe will promote a culture of equality and respect within the Labor Party, she said.

-œThe response has already been fantastic. We’ve had a steady stream of emails since the announcement. We’re really excited to be involved in this.

Cole said the Rainbow Labor Network Victoria will be involved in the ALP National Conference next month and gay marriage is on the table.

Activists have been critical of NSW Rainbow Labor’s position on same-sex relationship equality, accusing them of going soft on gay marriage to appease party hardliners.

-œRainbow Labor Network Victoria has endorsed and supports the national Rainbow Labor policy position, Cole said. -œThe position on relationship recognition essentially supports equal marriage rights and a civil unions scheme which is open to all couples and includes a ceremony.
The group will attend events such as Midsummer and Pride to engage with the community and drum up support.

In a big week for GLBTI Labor interests, the ALP’s South Yarra branch, in the federal electorate of Higgins, last week named Daniel Skelton as its first LGBTI Community Liaison Officer -” a national first for either major party.

The seat of Higgins encompasses known gay -˜hot spots’, the Commercial Rd and Greville St precincts and the suburbs of South Yarra, Prahran, Windsor, and Armadale.

-œTo achieve full equality for all Australians, our community must be actively involved, helping to shape policy and making our voices heard, Skelton told Southern Star.

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