Two voices for GLBT reform during the Howard years have come out of retirement to seek re-election to federal Parliament.
Warren Entsch, the outspoken Liberal who supported civil unions and opposed his own Government’s marriage ban, has secured preselection as the Liberal-National Party candidate for the seat of Leichhardt in Far North Queensland.
Currently a director of the Australian Rainforest Foundation, Entsch hopes to win back his seat from Labor MP Jim Turnour, who won the seat after Entsch retired in 2007.
Entsch had wanted to spend more time with his family, but they’ve given him their backing to return to the political fray.
Meanwhile, Andrew Bartlett, a veteran Democrat and one-time leader of that party, has announced he will be standing as the Greens candidate for the seat of Brisbane.
Bartlett was a senator from 1997 to 2008 and led the Democrats from 2002 to 2004.
The Democrats lost their final seat in an Australian parliament last month when South Australian MLC David Winderlich quit the party to become an independent.
With the Democrats gone, Bartlett believes the Greens provide the best alternative to the major parties, and thinks the Greens are now at a point where they can gain MPs and not just senators.
“The Greens are a genuine threat in a number of House of Representative seats at next year’s election,” Bartlett said.
“We need to take the fight to the major parties in as many seats as possible”.
Bartlett told Southern Star he is hopeful other Democrats may come forward and offer their experience and skills to the Greens.
“I would hope many former Democrats who want to be active in party politics give serious thought to getting involved in the Greens.”
Bartlett would like to see the end of the ban on same-sex marriage and to the Federal Government meddling in equality legislation passed by Australian territories.
“There also needs to be close monitoring of the process of removing discrimination on the grounds of sexuality from federal laws,” Bartlett added.
“To date, there has been little attention given to some of the specific issues faced by intersex and transgender people — I’d hope to see more attention and action in that area.”
Bartlett ran as a candidate for the seat of Brisbane in 1996.