Labor’s newly-appointed Shadow Assistant Minister for Equality Louise Pratt has voiced her concerns over new Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s record on LGBTIQ issues.
The Western Australian Senator, who recently took over the portfolio pioneered by Queensland MP Terri Butler, said many people had reached out to her following Morrison’s ascension to Prime Minister last week, and she shared their concerns.
“Scott Morrison was a vocal opponent of marriage equality. He supported the divisive postal survey as a way of obstructing our path to marriage equality,” Pratt said.
“He then campaigned actively for the No case and voted ‘no’ during the postal survey.
“To add insult to injury he supported amendments to the Bill to allow for discrimination against LGBTI people within the Marriage Act.
“He then went on to abstain from the vote – ignoring the will of the Australian people and indeed, the will of the people within his own electorate.
Morrison was joined by eight other MPs including Andrew Hastie, Tony Abbott, and Kevin Andrews, “the same group of conservative MPs behind the push to replace Malcolm Turnbull in the top job,” Pratt added.
“The LGBTI community should hold concerns about the influence these and other hard right Liberal and National MPs hold inside the Morrison Government,” she said.
“The community can never be complacent. While we have achieved marriage equality, the growing conservative control in the Liberal Party means we could see the reversal of the rights we have fought so long and hard for quickly taken away.”
Morrison was a high profile advocate against marriage equality last year telling people it was “OK to say no” in the same-sex marriage postal survey last year.
“I have always supported retaining the existing definition of marriage between a man and a woman in the Marriage Act,” he said during the campaign.
“I have also always been upfront and consistent in my views on this issue with my electorate and will continue to do so, consistent with my own beliefs and values.
“For those who share my view, remember it’s OK to say no. If that is what you believe, then I encourage you to stick to your values and not be intimidated out of your view.”
just.equal spokesperson Rodney Croome said last week that the group were concerned that Morrison backed “so-called ‘religious freedom’ laws that would allow greater discrimination against LGBTIQ people.”
“We hope Mr Morrison will govern for all Australians, and not use ‘religious freedom’ as an excuse to erode equal rights and protections for LGBTIQ Australians,” he said.
The report produced by Philip Ruddock’s review into religious freedom was handed to the federal government on May 18, but has yet to be released.
Earlier this week, Croome welcomed Senator Pratt to the Shadow Assistant Minister for Equality role and said she was a great choice given her “long history” of advocacy for LGBTIQ rights.
He said his acquaintance with Senator Pratt goes back to the mid 1990s when they worked together as delegates to the Australian Council for Lesbian and Gay Rights.
“Louise Pratt will be a great Equality Spokesperson because of her long history as an advocate for LGBTI equality, her passion, principles and policy expertise, and her natural ability to build bridges,” he said.