Australia is set to elect its first ever openly gay man in the House of Representatives this December at the North Sydney by-election with the Liberal Party endorsing the former vice-president of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Business Association,Trent Zimmerman as their candidate.
Formerly held by Joe Hockey since 1996, the seat of North Sydney is considered to be a very safe Liberal seat, so much so that the Labor party has decided not to run a candidate in the by-election, meaning that short of an unlikely upset from an independent, Zimmerman is all but ensured of retaining the seat for his party.
While Australia has had a number of openly gay senators, including Labor’s Penny Wong, former Greens leader Bob Brown and Liberal Dean Smith, the House of Representatives has never had an openly gay or lesbian MP before.
Zimmerman is a former North Sydney City councilor and has also served as an adviser to Joe Hockey – a man Zimmerman says he has a tremendous respect for, despite their differing views on same-sex marriage.
The North Sydney by-election will be held on 5 December.