Albert Park Labor MP Martin Foley has called on the Baillieu Government to consider dropping its funding of national depression initiative beyondlue unless current chair Jeff Kennett steps down or apologises for disparaging remarks he made about same-sex parenting.

In a newspaper column last month, Kennett claimed heterosexual marriages were better for the mental health of children.

Former beyondblue CEO Dawn O’Neil — who has since resigned following the ensuing criticism of Kennett’s views — last month distanced beyondblue from Kennett’s remarks, saying they were not backed up by research.

Foley told the Star Observer Kennett should “either apologise or resign” and Mental Health Minister Mary Wooldridge should review the $3.5 million the state government funds the organisation annually.

“Given the significant amount of state money given here, is it not therefore time for at least the Minister for Mental Health to step in and question what value the state is getting for that money?” Foley said.

“The chair should either desist from his clearly bordering on homophobic views … that do not assist the work beyondblue is apparently trying to do for the LGBTI community.

“The state should make it clear that its funding is at risk if this is not resolved.”

Foley said Kennett’s public view on same-sex parenting is “incompatible” with the work beyondblue is doing for depression in the LGBTI community.

“He can’t just take one hat off and put one hat on and say ‘I’m a media commentator’ one day [making] these disgraceful comments about same-sex parenting and the next sit around a board table of beyondblue setting strategic directions, allocating resources, on that very issue,” he said.

“It doesn’t wash.

“The lever the state has and the lever the Minister for Mental Health has is $3.5 million dollars of funding.”

A spokesman for Wooldridge’s office said the Baillieu Government continues to support the organisation’s work.

“The Victorian Government, along with the federal Government, and other states and territories, support the work Mr Kennett and the organisation do in providing a national focus and commitment to increasing the capacity of the broad Australian community to prevent depression effectively,” he said.

From 2005 – 2010 the Victorian Government funded beyondblue $17.5 million.

All funding from the Commonwealth, state and territory governments has been extended to 2015.