The Victorian Liberal Party on Tuesday morning elected Mathew Guy as party leader, ousting Michael O’Brien after he chose not to contest the ballot after a spill motion. This was the second challenge to O’Brien’s leadership this year, with the shake-up also seeing deputy leader Cindy McLeish replaced by David Southwick. Guy has a mixed record when it comes to LGBTQI+rights.

Opposed To Safe Schools

During Victoria’s 2018 election campaign, Guy vowed that the Safe Schools program would be abolished if the Coalition won the state election.

At the time, Guy made it known that Victorian Liberals believed school children should focus more on reading, writing and maths instead of learning “a politically correct gender and sexuality agenda”

“Programs like Safe Schools add to curriculum clutter and impose a politically correct gender and sexuality agenda on schools,” a statement released by the Victorian Liberals in the lead up the election stated.

Apologised For Homophobic Letter

In 2018, Guy was also forced to distance himself from past actions when a homophobic letter which he signed as a student activist, addressed to the Gay and Lesbian Immigration Task Force resurfaced.

“We view your organisation with distaste and see it as a sign of a very sick society suffering from severe moral decay,” read the letter from the La Trobe University Students’ Representatives Council, co-signed by Guy in 1994.

“It is a shame that organisations such as yours exist,” the letter continued to say.

While Guy would later apologise, because he “realised it was inappropriate”, upon the letter resurfacing, Premier Daniel Andrews in 2018 told The Herald Sun that Guy’s recent voting record on equality issues was “interesting” and “needed explanation.”

Votes Against Law Reforms

“Voting against birth certificate reform, voting against equal opportunity act reform. These are matter for him, he voted the way he voted and can explain to the community why.”

Many have been quick to point out that while the Liberal party continue to be fixated on the upcoming state elections, Victoria continues to grapple with the ongoing impacts of COVID19 and rolling lockdowns.

Samantha Ratnam, leader of Victorian Greens said that, “At a time when Victorians need support and a bold vision for our future, the Liberals seem more concerned with petty playground politics than actual leadership.”

“While it was hard to think how they could get worse, they just have. The Liberals are not fit for Opposition, and they’re not fit for office.

For Same-Sex Marriages and Gay Adoptions

Others however have been more positive, with the Victorian Pride Lobby pointing to the work undertaken by Guy prior to the 2018 state election.

In 2015, Guy urged the Abbott government to allow same-sex marriages and publicly vowed to support gay adoptions.

Co-Convenor of Victorian Pride Lobby, Nevena Spirovska told Star Observer “We have a strong working relationship with the Shadow Minister of Equality and look forward to this continuing.”

Pointing to the next year’s state elections Spirovska added that “We have a number of urgent law and policy reforms to progress, including on discrimination, vilification and other areas, and will be working with the Opposition and all political parties to ensure support for these reforms at the next state election.”

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