Tasmania has elected the state’s first openly lesbian MP to parliament during the state election earlier this month.
Labor candidate Alison Standen was elected to the Tasmanian Parliament after standing in the state seat of Franklin.
On the campaign trail, Standen said, “Leadership to me is about connection to values; and about courage to stand up for the things that matter most to me – including LGBTIQ rights and addressing social inequality in general.
“I haven’t always dreamt of being a politician or a gay activist. But this campaign has given me and my family the opportunity to stand up and contribute as advocates.”
After the Labor MP’s election in the electorate of Franklin last week, she thanked voters for their support on her Facebook page.
“Together we share core values of service to the community, hard work and compassion…and today I share my success with you,” she wrote.
Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Rights Group spokesperson Rodney Croome said Standen’s showed the people of Australia how far Tasmania had come.
“Her election confirms that being gay is not a barrier to holding high elected office in Tasmania,” he said.
“It also confirms just how far Tasmania has come since it was the last state to decriminalise homosexuality twenty years ago.”
“Although there were some anti-LGBTI leaflets distributed in northern electorates by the Australian Christian Lobby, there were no locally-based attacks against the positive record on LGBTI human rights of any candidate or party,” Croome said.
“This is the first time this has happened since LGBTI human rights became a public issue in Tasmania in the 1980s.
“I have no doubt that it was due in large part to growing public awareness of Tasmania’s strong and comprehensive hate-speech laws.
“I think I speak for many Tasmanians when I say I hope the 2018 election sets a positive precedent for future state elections being free of anti-LGBTI hate.”
Former Greens leader Bob Brown became Australia’s first openly gay MP when we was elected to the Tasmanian parliament in 1983.