QN Magazine asked each of the candidates for the seat of Brisbane, “If elected to represent Brisbane at the 2019 Federal Election, what specific commitments can you make to the LGBTIQ voters of that electorate to work towards the improvement of their lives?” See their responses below.
Trevor Evans, Liberal
Since I was elected to Parliament three years ago, I’ve been working hard to fight for Brisbane’s LGBTIQ+ community.
In 2017, after a decade of inaction in Canberra, I fought hard to make marriage equality a reality and was pleased that the Brisbane community voted overwhelming in support of this change.
Last year, we fully funded PrEP on the PBS, giving millions of Australians affordable access to this live-saving drug.
Thanks to our efforts, Australia is now on track to become one of the first countries in the world to end the transmission of HIV. But there is still more work to be done.
If re-elected, I’m committing to a Coalition Government delivering funding in Brisbane of $198,000 over three years to fund the Jelly Beans Program delivered by Open Doors Youth Service, the leading LGBTI+ youth service in Queensland.
This program provides invaluable social and mental health support for vulnerable young people between the ages of 12-24 who identify as trans and gender diverse.
At the moment the program receives no government funding whatsoever and relies entirely on community donations.
As Queensland’s first and only openly gay federal MP, I’m asking for your support at the upcoming federal election.
With polling day just around the corner, ensuring that the LGBTIQ+ community has a strong voice in Canberra has never been more important.
Paul Newbury, Labor
Labor has plan to deliver a fairer Australia for LGBTIQ people by tackling discrimination and giving a stronger voice to LGBTIQ Australians.
We have practical steps which will take us further along the journey towards equality, providing a more inclusive and fairer Australia.
Labor believes the best way to promote the rights of LGBTIQ Australians and develop policies that recognise their needs is by listening to and consulting with LGBTIQ Australians.
That’s why Labor will establish an LGBTIQ Ministerial Advisory Council and a Shorten Labor Government will also make history by appointing Australia’s first full time LGBTIQ Human Rights Commissioner to advocate for and advance the rights of LGBTIQ Australians.
As it currently stands, LGBTIQ students and staff at religious schools risk being discriminated against, sacked or expelled.
This state of affairs prompted a community outcry in late 2018, and Scott Morrison promised to tackle the protection of LGBTIQ students late last year.
However, he failed to put a bill to Parliament that would deliver on this promise and he subsequently gave up.
Labor will not give up. A Shorten Labor Government will amend the Sex Discrimination Act to remove the exemptions that permit religious schools to discriminate against students and staff on the basis of their sexuality or gender identity.
Labor is committed to ending the practice of so-called “LGBTIQ conversion therapy”.
Practitioners of conversion therapy insist, with no reliable evidence, that LGBTIQ people can be “cured” using a combination of physical and mental coercion.
Medical experts and survivor organisations, including the AMA, the Royal Australasian College of Physicians and the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists, have condemned the practice as harmful and “a serious threat to the health and human rights of those so treated.”
The Victorian Labor Government has already committed to banning the practice.
A Shorten Labor Government will work with survivor groups and coordinate with the States and Territories to develop strategies for tackling this practice, including a nationwide ban on “gay conversion therapy”.
There is no place in modern Australia for this practice. Thank you for the opportunity to share Labor’s plan for a fairer and more inclusive Australia for LGBTIQ people.
If we are fortunate enough to form the next government, we will deliver more than just words because we still have more to do to achieve equality.
Andrew Bartlett, the Greens
I first got elected to the federal Parliament in 1997 and have a long record since then of consistently working with and publicly supporting LGBTIQ people on a wide range of issues.
As a Senator with the Australian Democrats party, we highlighted issues of concern to LGBTIQ people throughout the 1980s and 1990s in the face of continuing antagonism and opposition from successive federal governments.
In 2004 I was one of just a handful of Senators who voted against the Liberal government’s legislation to ban same sex marriage.
In 2006 I was the first politician to introduce legislation to change that law to provide marriage equality.
I consistently supported community campaigns for marriage equality – and other campaigns to tackle many other forms of discrimination – throughout that time and was in the Parliament as a Senator with the Greens in 2017 when the rest of the Parliament finally came on board with the community’s strong desire for equality and passed legislation to bring marriage equality to fruition.
I will continue to publicly and strongly support LGBTIQ people and organisations to ensure proper funding for services and advocacy, and to remove provisions in legislation which
continue to allow discrimination against people on the grounds of their sexuality or gender identity.
I have publicly spoken and demonstrated in support of programs such as Safe Schools and spoken out when politicians from other parties have vilified LGBTIQ people – something which still happens far too often.
The fact that we finally have marriage equality does NOT mean we have equality for LGBTIQ people.
There is still much to do to reform legislation to overturn discrimination, to address ignorance and hatred, and to provide adequate support and funding for the needs and issues specific to LGBTIQ people and organisations.
If you elect me, you will be electing someone who is part of a party which consistently and enthusiastically supports LGBTIQ people and promotes their rights, and already has a strong public record of doing exactly that – something which no other candidate in this election can match.
Kamala Emanuel, Socialist Alliance
I am a strong supporter of LGBTIQ rights. Among other things, this is demonstrated by my active involvement for more than ten years (not just in the final stages) in the campaign for marriage equality and by my public stand in favour of trans inclusion at last years International Women’s Day rally.
I would bring that support and commitment into my role as the elected member for Brisbane.
I am running on a platform including:
– Make all discrimination against LGBTI people illegal – no support for religious exemptions;
– Full rights for trans and intersex people, including easy change of identity documents;
– Full, publicly-funded medical services for gender transition;
– Fully-funded school programs for non judgemental sex education and anti violence campaigns; and
– Full adoption rights for LGBTIQ people.
There is a big risk to anti-discrimination protections under disingenuous banner of “religious freedom” and, while I fully support genuine freedom of religion, I am 100% determined to stand up against discrimination in any form.
I am fully committed to this platform as well as other measures that would assist our community including: expanded public housing, better social services and welfare (including an increase to Newstart); and improved workplace rights; among many other progressive policy positions.
Aaron Whittaker, United Australia Party
The United Australia Party does not discriminate against anyone from any race/religion/sexual background.
I am a big supporter or diversity and inclusiveness in my current role.
United Australia Party support all people of Australia including the LGBTIQ community within Brisbane.
We will work with local councils to ensure people from this community feel safe and are included in all facets of life.
We will review specific programs proposed or in place to ensure the LGBTIQ are fully supported in Brisbane.
We will ensure that any discrimination regarding employment/life in general is not tolerated.
No response was received from Pauline Hanson’s One Nation or Fraser Anning’s Conservative National Party candidates.
QN Magazine | For the latest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) news in Australia, visit qnews.com.au. Check out our latest magazines or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.