Tasmanian Liberals have named Jeremy Rockliff as the state’s next Premier. Michael Ferguson will be the Deputy Premier.

While Rockliff has a record of voting for marriage equality and other pro-LGBTQI laws, Ferguson has been known to have opposed and voted against laws for LGBTQI equality.

Rockliff replaces outgoing Premier Peter Gutwein, who resigned earlier this week. 

Rockliff’s Pro-LGBT Voting Record

In November 2015, Tasmania was the third state after New South Wales and Western Australia to pass an in-principle motion in support of same-sex marriages. 

Rockliff and then Premier Will Hodgman had voted for the Greens-sponsored motion that passed the House 15-9.

In a speech in Parliament during the debate on the motion, Rockliff said that he had been a supporter of marriage equality for a few years and welcomed “the opportunity to express my views for the first time publicly, and I’m absolutely unequivocally in favour of same-sex marriage equality.”

“I believe very firmly that those who are committed and in a loving relationship should have the ability by law and the eyes of the law in society that if they have chosen a significant other to spend the rest of their lives with then they should be able to get married. In years to come, we will actually really wonder why it took so long to get to this point,” Rokcliff had said. 

His voting record, as well as actions as a minister, showed that he was “one of the strongest and most effective advocates for LGBTIQ+ equality and inclusion in the Tasmania Parliament,” said Rodney Croome, President of Equality Tasmania.

Deputy Premier Had Opposed Marriage Equality, Same-Sex Adoptions

“Jeremy Rockliff understands the harm discrimination against LGBTIQ+ can cause and has a twenty-year track record challenging that discrimination,” said Croome.

According to Equality Tasmania, Rockliff voted for Tasmania’s “gold-standard” Anti-Discrimination Act, “laws recognising same-sex couples and their families, the principle of marriage equality and legislation to expunge historical gay and transgender criminal records.”

“He has also strongly supported LGBTIQ+ inclusion and equity initiatives in his roles as Education Minister and then Health Minister. We look forward to working with him to foster a fairer and more inclusive Tasmania,” said Croome. 

The Deputy Premier’s track record on LGBTQI rights may however lead to some apprehension about how he will treat issues relating to the community. Ferguson had opposed same-sex marriages as well as same-sex adoptions. In 2010, Fergusson was one of the only three MPs in Tasmania’s Parliament to vote against changes to the law to allow recognition of same-sex marriages and civil unions in other states. 

Ferguson had then told the ABC that Bill was a ” political tool to get same-sex marriage legalised.”

“Our hope is that Mr Ferguson will gain greater insight into the disadvantages faced by LGBTIQ+ Tasmanians, and our aspiration to equality, in his work with Premier Rockliff,” added Croome. 


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