KEY NSW HOMOSEXUAL COMMUNITY GROUPS OUTLINE THEIR PLANS FOR 2015
Editors Comments: The homosexual lobby has been emboldened by the recent change of Government in Victoria, a possible change in Queensland and an upcoming election in New South Wales. This week we focus on the already announced changes and possible future changes that could flow from the recent political upheaval our nation has undergone. The purpose in dedicating this edition to those changes is so that prayer can be focused into the areas where change is occurring and/or being considered.
NSW Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby (NSW GLRL) convenor Justin Koonin claims there is plenty to be done in the coming year. “In 2015 we will continue to work on reforming Australia’s anti-discrimination laws to remove wide-ranging exemptions enjoyed by religious organisations,” Koonin said. “We will also be pushing hard to have the Marriage Act changed so that Australians can marry, regardless of the sex or gender of their loved one. The Lobby will also have a focus on education in 2015 in conjunction with the Safe Schools NSW Coalition, of which they are a founding partner.
“We will also be focusing on discrimination which happens to people who may be LGBTI and also belong to another marginalised group, such as the elderly, those from particular cultural and religious backgrounds, those living in rural Australia.” And with the NSW going to the polls in March 2015, we will be seeking commitments from all candidates to prioritise the health, wellbeing and rights of LGBTI people and communities in their election platforms,” Koonin said. This year will also see ACON work on other issues of concern to the community, including crystal meth use, same-sex domestic violence, community safety and the high rates of smoking among lesbians.
With Senator David Leyonhjelm’s ‘Freedom to Marry’ Bill shaping up as the best chance for Australia’s same-sex couples to finally get equal marriage rights, lobby group Australian Marriage Equality (AME) has ramped up its strategy to persuade MPs to vote in favour of reform. “Our focus continues to be two-fold: achieving a government free vote on marriage equality and winning over enough Coalition MPs to ensure reform passes,” said AME National Director Rodney Croome. Croome said the time to apply pressure to the PM to allow for a conscience vote on the issue is now. “We are working with marriage equality supporters in the government to achieve a free vote.”
Croome explained. “In the new year, we will also bring community pressure to bear on this issue through several new campaigns. Winning over individual MPs is about working with local supporters in key electorates. We have started this process in 2014 and it proved very successful. We will expand it to new electorates in 2015.” But more importantly, 2015 will see the homosexual lobby supporting young same-sex attracted youth, sex and gender diverse and questioning young people. “Our community is crucial to our organisation and our work, perhaps seen at best with our volunteer program,” Paradise said. “Over 120 volunteers support us regularly to deliver our services and programs in Sydney and across New South Wales.”
VICTORIA APPOINTS AUSTRALIA’S FIRST-EVER CABINET MINISTER FOR HOMOSEXUAL ISSUES
The new gender and sexuality commissioner and funding for community organisations are in the spotlight for Victoria’s new Minister for LGBTI Equality Martin Foley. With the election of a new Labor government in Victoria under Premier Daniel Andrews, Foley became Australia’s first-ever cabinet minister with an LGBTI portfolio, and he now faces the task of implementing the government’s extensive list of LGBTI – focused election commitments. “In the first two weeks we got together about 20–25 groups in the Premier’s department for an informal round table about how we’d implement our commitments, and the best way we could do that to bring the community with us,” Foley said.
No announcement has been made about who the upcoming gender and sexuality commissioner for the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission will be, but discussions are believed to be under way. Foley said the position could not be effective unless the commissioner had a strong relationship with both government and the community, and expected to see extensive community consultation to develop those relationships. The government’s legislative and policy agenda for the LGBTI community is extensive. Foley appeared alongside Daniel Andrews at the recent Midsumma (Gay Pride) Carnival where the premier reiterated the government’s commitment to LGBTI reform.
QUEENSLAND SET TO EMBRACE SAME-SEX CIVIL UNIONS ONCE MORE AS ALP APPEARS ELECTION WINNERS
A Labor victory in the Queensland elections will mean Queensland could see state-sanctioned same-sex civil unions reintroduced. Civil unions, introduced by Labor, were rolled back by the LNP government following its landslide victory in the 2012 state election. Other pre-election commitments from Labor include the refunding of the Queensland AIDS Council, which was defunded by Health Minister Lawrence Springborg. The pledge was made by the ALP candidate for Brisbane Central Grace Grace, who appears to have won the seat back from LNP MP Robert Cavallucci. Votes are still being counted, but commentators believe Labor will form government under Annastacia Palaczszuk.
Premier Campbell Newman conceded “My political career is over” after he lost his seat of Ashgrove in an election swing of 11.4% to Labor. Most pre-election polls had indicated a LNP win, with the first sign of an upset coming when Galaxy’s exit poll of voters showed the ALP were making a huge impact at the ballot box. Labor is on track to claim 45 or 46 of the 89 seats in the state’s parliament, after going into the election holding only nine seats. Labor’s anti asset leasing policy is being claimed as a main factor in its win, with some pundits questioning the role that Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s knighting of Prince Phillip played in weakening the image of the Liberal Party.
40 DAYS OF DELIGHT – A SEASON OF PRAYER AND FASTING DURING LENT
Following on from the National Day of Prayer and Fasting to be held this Sunday 15th February 2015 a 40 day season of prayer and fasting will commence on18th February and continue until 29th March inclusive.
The season entitled 40 Days of Delight will feature a study of the Gospel of John using illustrations from the Son of God to focus our delight on Jesus and to emphasise the Gospel of John’s message on Destiny through sonship.