Victoria’s first openly gay cabinet ministers were just sworn in

victoria victorian government gay cabinet ministers harriet shing steve dimopoulos
Images: Supplied, Gippsland Water/Flickr

Victoria’s first two openly gay ministers, Steve Dimopoulos and Harriet Shing, have officially joined the state’s cabinet.

Last week, a group of senior ministers standing down triggered a shake-up of Premier Daniel Andrews’ frontbench.

On Monday, Dimopoulos and Shing (pictured above) were among five ministers to join the cabinet during a swearing-in ceremony at Government House.

The pair are reportedly the first openly gay cabinet ministers to serve in Victoria.

After the swearing-in, Steve Dimopoulos said he feels “extraordinarily privileged and honoured” and felt he was standing on the shoulders of past gay MPs forced to hide their sexuality.

“There are so many gay men and women that I’m sure have served in Victorian and national cabinets, but not in a way that they could be open,” he said.

“I’m sort of feeling a little bit nostalgic for so many others in the past. [They] didn’t get the openness, transparency and the choice because their government and society at the time wasn’t progressive.

“I feel in a sense that I’m standing here in many other people’s place.”

Dimopoulos is the Victorian Government’s new Tourism, Sports and Major Events Minister.

Harriest Shing is Victoria’s new Equality Minister

Harriet Shing will serve as the state’s Equality Minister, and paid tribute to the reforms of predecessor Martin Foley.

They include apologising for gay convictions, banning conversion practices, trans birth certificate reform and Australia’s first Pride Centre.

Shing said it was her mission to ensure visibility stays “front and centre” in Victoria.

“Not that long ago it was an offence for us to be who we are,” she said.

“Now to look around the lineup of ministers and see visibility and representation means an enormous amount to those who struggle to see themselves represented in Parliament.”

Shing said she has no tolerance for any framework that included transphobic commentary or actions.

“Trans rights are human rights,” she said.

“Looking at the levels of discrimination, harassment and vilification that trans Victorians face every single day… it should be beyond doubt that we take the action necessary to make sure they’re protected, welcome and supported.

“I’m determined to make sure [that] equality here in Victoria is not negotiable.”

Victorian state election is in November

After the reshuffle, women make up over half of Premier Daniel Andrews’ cabinet. New Deputy Premier Jacinta Allan is also only the second woman in Victorian history to hold the senior position.

Allan said she hopes the milestones demonstrate “a community and society that’s inclusive, sees strong performance rewarded, and sees equality as an opportunity.”

In five months, the Victorian government will vie for a third term in power at the November state election.

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1 Comment

  1. Gloria Delahunty
    29 June 2022

    The nation is in dire straights. Rome fell when it allowed practices that went against the word of God to be openly accepted by society. God have mercy on our nation.

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