Greens LGBTQIA+ rights warrior Janet Rice farewells Senate

Senator Janet Rice farewells the Senate
Images: Pexels, Supplied

Outgoing Greens Senator Janet Rice will give her final speech in the Senate on Tuesday evening ahead of her retirement next month.

Senator Rice, who is from Victoria and was first elected in 2013, announced her plans to step down last September. She’ll deliver her valedictory speech in the Senate tonight (March 26).

“A decade on from being elected, I’ve decided it’s time to pass the baton,” Janet said on Tuesday morning.

“It’s been a privilege to work with my Greens colleagues and the community to achieve some huge wins in this time, including marriage equality and the end to native forest logging in Victoria and Western Australia.”

Among her portfolios, Senator Janet Rice spent years as her party’s national LGBTQIA+ spokesperson, defending queer rights and advocating for reform.


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A post shared by Janet Rice (@janetricegreens)

But on Tuesday, Janet said even after retirement her work was not over. She explained of particular concern is Labor “bringing back the fraught Religious Discrimination Bill” to parliament.

“As LGBTIQA+ portfolio holder during multiple exposure drafts and the many years of debate on queer people’s right to freely exist and participate in society – and as the only openly Bi+ person in Parliament – this issue remains close to my heart,” Janet said.

“I will continue fighting outside parliament against any bill that acts only as a Trojan horse for hate.”

Stephen Bates pays tribute to Janet Rice

In 2022, Brisbane Greens MP Stephen Bates took over Janet Rice’s LGBTQIA+ portfolio. Stephen previously thanked Janet for her dedication and work “during one the toughest times for LGBTIQA+ people in decades.”

“Janet was a passionate opponent of the campaign against Safe Schools, the marriage postal survey, the Religious Discrimination Bill and numerous anti-trans campaigns,” Stephen said in 2022.

“She also personally supported many LGBTIQA+ people through the darkest moments and boosted our morale when it flagged.

“The iconic image of Janet knitting in Parliament after Peter Dutton told pro-marriage equality CEOs to ‘stick to their knitting’, epitomised how Janet inspired us with her humour, warmth and strength of character.”

The rainbow scarf Janet Rice knitted in parliament was later donated the Australian Gay and Lesbian Archives, as a piece of marriage equality campaign memorabilia.

Greens leader Adam Bandt’s tribute to Janet Rice

Greens leader Adam Bandt said on Tuesday that Senator Janet Rice’s “effort, energy and wisdom” had built up the party.

“As a founding member of the Victorian Greens, Janet helped build the Greens from the grassroots,” he said.

“Janet is the kind of person we need more of in parliament: a dedicated advocate, unafraid of hard work, and committed to collaboration and consensus despite the challenges and hostilities of this place.

“I thank her for her decade of service to the Australian Greens.

“Good luck Janet in the next phase of your advocacy. I know you’re not about to stop giving them hell.”

Read more:

Greens Senator Janet Rice announces her retirement

Janet Rice talks finding love again after wife Penny’s death

Greens leader Adam Bandt says trans rights ‘non-negotiable’

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Jordan Hirst
Jordan Hirst

Jordan Hirst is an experienced journalist and content creator with a career spanning over a decade at QNews. Since 2012, the Brisbane local has covered an enormous range of topics and subjects in-depth affecting the LGBTIQA+ community, both in Australia and overseas. Today, the Brisbane-based journalist covers everything from current affairs, politics and health to sport and entertainment.

QNews, Brisbane Gay, App, Gay App, LGBTI, LGBTI News, Gay Australia

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