Shakespeare said that “All the world’s a stage”, if that is true, then QLD has become A Comedy of Errors.
Maybe we should look at the lead roles in the QLD equality story in recent times.
QLD’s first female premier. In late 2008 this woman was harshly criticised in Queensland for getting Botox. The media was so frenzied about this that they forgot to mention Kevin Rudd was extending Same Sex couples the de-facto status to assist with equality. She leaves a legacy of forward strides in QLD GLBTI rights including the Surrogacy Act 2010 and the Civil Partnerships Act 2012. She commissioned a study into removing the “gay panic” partial defence, and stated her intention to remove the loophole. She and her party were ousted from power in the 2012 election by Newman and the LNP. I can unfortunately only guess at her cosmetic surgery habits, since they’re no longer of interest to the media. I actually thought she did a decent job as Premiers go.
A confusing character. Mayor of Brisbane until late 2011 when he reneged on his promise never to run for state politics by running as then-unelected leader of the LNP. Despite making statements a number of times about personally supporting Gay Marriage, within 100 days of taking office, he has scrapped civil ceremonies for Civil Partnerships, renamed them “Registered Relationships” and removed the divorce-like portion of it as well. This at least he prepared us for somewhat, although his initial promise was that if anyone had a civil partnership when he got into power, he would leave the legislation alone. Equally confusing are his statements on the Surrogacy Act. Days before the election he stated he would not change the Surrogacy Act. Less than 100 days into his rule, his Attorney-General announced that they would be removing provisions for singles, de facto couples together less than two years, and same-sex couples. Campbell then says he didn’t know what his party members were discussing. He’s gone from top job at one level to top job at the next with none of the hard yards in between. I personally think this is so that he’ll do what the advisers say, rather than suggesting he has any leadership skill himself. Other than blatant dishonesty, it’s the only way I can interpret the dissonance between what he says and what he then does.
Shadow Attorney-General while Bligh was in power, now Attorney-General under Newman, this is the person that I believe is the true leader of the LNP. He is the one who is announcing changes at odds with Newman’s statements. He has clearly pushed back at the Labor Party’s attempts to solve discrimination in our state – going so far as to defend the non-violent sexual advance (“gay panic”) partial defence. He seems to field a lot of questions and actually seems to say more for the LNP than Campbell Newman does. I don’t know how long it will be before this talented politician decides to overthrow Newman and rule in his own right… I think it’ll be less time than Kevin Rudd had in office.
Wendy Francis and the ACL
This charming lady is the CEO of the Australian Christian Lobby. She spews forth vile rot about defending marriage from the gay agenda and preventing homosexual couples from “acquiring babies”. The LNP seems to listen to her far more than her opinions deserve. Wendy’s lobby group was recently the benefactor of a $30,000 donation from the Gloria Jeans Coffees Franchise, the reason for a current and ongoing boycott of GJs stores across the country. I figure that when capitalist companies start playing politics, the only solution is to vote with my wallet. I know for a fact that the views of Wendy Francis and the ACL are not representative of Australian Christians on the whole or even the majority. Hers is a fringe voice which unfortunately has found an ear.
Alex Greenwich and Australian Marriage Equality
A real tireless worker for GLBTI rights. Alex makes a huge contribution and is well recognised in the community for doing good work, although some disagree with his methods, claiming they are too soft. National Convenor of Australian Marriage Equality, he and his partner believe in marriage enough to have gone overseas in order to get married. They will be among the first same sex couples ever recognised under Australian law as “married” when the Federal legislation eventually goes through. AME organise protests across the country where anti-gay events are occurring, and often organises rallies in support of GLBTI rights legislation where it’s being proposed. I’m quite the fan – AME were heavily involved on the QLD stage when Labor’s Civil Partnerships bill was introduced.
Those are the names you’ll see on most stories about QLD’s gay rights backslide… Well, except for Anna Bligh, but she was important to set the scene. Other people will come and go from these stories, and as further debates unfold I’ll give you a who’s who for each issue. If I’ve missed anyone you think should be here, let me know so I can add them!