Sunday, 8 February 2015

What future for LGBTI rights in Queensland?

The uncertain outcome from the Queensland election shows again that the equality of LGBTI rights should not be taken for granted.

On the one side, we have the ALP. When then LNP Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie proposed to criminalise those undertaking surrogacy when they were single, gay or lesbian, I and a small group of others formed Queenslanders for Equality to fight this terrible winding back. The Opposition, tiny as it was, was of great assistance in helping Queenslanders for Equality take the fight to the Government. Anastasia Palaszczuk and Jackie Trad stood up publicly and said that they were opposed to the proposal.

Grace Grace, now the ALP member for Brisbane Central (again) at the recent LGBTI debate pledged equality for LGBTI Queenslanders.

However, the ALP if it is to govern may have to rely on the support of the Katter Australia Party- a party and in particular with a leader in Shane Knuth, who have opposed LGBTI rights.

On the other hand, it is back to the future with the LNP. If the LNP gets up, who knows what the future might bring. Lawrence Springborg is back for the third time as leader. Previously he, when he was Opposition Attorney-General, drafted a surrogacy bill, the night of an LGBTI welcome to Parliament barbecue hosted ironically enough by Grace Grace- which bill was identical to the ALP version- except that it criminalised singles, gays and lesbians- the very proposal which was attempted to be revived by Jarrod Bleijie (and then modified) in 2012.

Lawrence Springborg was the Health Minister in the Newman government who earned the ire of many for defunding what became the Queensland Aids Council, and on whose watch the significant health facility, Biala, which provided cared for Aids patients,  was defunded.

Campbell Newman was not a homophobe. Many years ago when I was on the committee of the Brisbane Gay and Lesbian Business Network, I successfully invited Mr Newman, then Brisbane;s Lord Mayor to speak as guest of honour at a GLBN function- the first LNP member to do so. Mr Newman's moderating influence, and that of Brisbane Central MP Rob Cavallucci (replaced by Grace Grace) is gone.

Those of us who live in Queensland live in interesting times.