Last week the NSW Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby witnessed a week of political turmoil at the state and federal level, resulting in the appointment of a new NSW Premier, Kristina Keneally, and a new federal Opposition leader, Tony Abbott.

The GLRL farewells Malcolm Turnbull and Nathan Rees and thanks them for their support. The GLRL, as a non-partisan organisation, must try to work with all political parties. The GLRL hopes to build a relationship with both new leaders to ensure we achieve necessary law reform for our community.

Keneally is the first female NSW premier. She is American-born and a devout Catholic. Adoption law is the last piece of legislation in NSW which still discriminates against same-sex couples and their children. Individual lesbians and gay men can apply for adoption but couple definitions in the Adoption Act preclude same-sex couples from being eligible to apply.

The GLRL will request a meeting with Keneally and will ask her to put an end to discrimination against same-sex couples and their children, as recommended in the NSW Parliament’s Law and Justice Committee’s recent report on same-sex adoption. We believe the best interests of children are not furthered but in fact may be significantly hindered by the current discrimination against same-sex couples in the Adoption Act.

There has been some concern that the appointment of Abbott as federal Opposition leader will mean the return to a religious, Howard-style leadership. It is also well-known that Abbott does not support marriage equality.

Abbott’s appointment certainly doesn’t help the GLRL’s campaign for marriage equality, however, we will continue to campaign for civil marriage on the grounds that marriage in Australia is a civil institution and not a religious one under law, which all Australian citizens should have access to. The GLRL will also lobby for federal anti-discrimination provisions.

The GLRL hopes the new leaders, despite their personal religious convictions, will recognise that we live in a country which recognises the separation between church and state and will therefore support law reform which ensures all people are treated equally under the law.

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