Home' LOTL : October 2004 Contents Generally, we don't vote on just one issue, be it queer issues
or others, but when casting our vote it's important to be
informed of the position of candidates on rights issues affecting
our community. Many lesbian voters will also be influenced by
the track record of the parties on the issues important to us.
To inform your vote, the Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby
(GLRL), in partnership with ACON, has sur veyed the major
parties on the key rights issues in 2004. We have also compiled
a timeline comparing the records of the Coalition and Labor
since 1983. Copies of these are available at www.glrl.org.au
Over the last 10 years lesbians and gay men have celebrated
numerous victories for our rights at a state level. In stark
contrast, no comprehensive reforms have been advanced
federally, where gay and lesbian couples continue to be denied
rights afforded to heterosexual couples. Lesbians and gay men
also do not have adequate federal protection from
discrimination. Recently, John Howard used our rights as a
political wedge by introducing amendments to the Marriage
Act, which were passed with support from Labor.
Over his three terms, John Howard's repeated attacks on
our community have confirmed his status as the most
homophobic Prime Minister in Australian history. John Howard
has said he would be disappointed if his child was gay, he cut
immigration for same sex partners, tried to ban IVF for lesbians,
stood silently while Justice Michael Kirby was falsely accused,
attacked lesbian families on Play School, declared marriage as
being about the "sur vival of the species" and tried to ban same-
sex couples from overseas adoption. Even though partial
superannuation equality has been won under Howard, the
prospect of future reform is grim so long as Howard is leader of
the Coalition. In the eyes of many, Howard's anti-gay rhetoric
defines his socially conser vative Prime Ministership.
After a decade of campaigning by the GLRL, Labor has
finally committed to comprehensive federal reforms including
anti-discrimination legislation and affording gay and lesbian
couples equal rights with heterosexual de factos across all federal
legislation. Whilst we won't have the right to marry, this will
give same sex couples identical legal rights as married couples.
THE LESBIAN VOTE
OCTOBER 9 IS A VERY IMPORTANT DATE FOR
THE LESBIAN COMMUNITY, SAY SOMALI
CERISE & ROB MCGRORY OF THE GLRL.
Based on these commitments, there is a prospect of significant
reform under Labor. However, Labor is yet to come to the table
on federal recognition of lesbian families. Further, Labor's
backflip on their commitment to await the Senate inquiry before
voting on the gay marriage ban means voters may rightly be
hesitant to fully trust Labor to deliver. Should Labor hold
government, it will be the role of the GLRL, our community
and our supporters to hold them to these promises.
Crucial to the success of reform are supportive independents
and minor parties such as the Greens and Democrats. Both the
Greens and Democrats have an exemplary track record in
support of full legal equality and social justice for lesbians and
gay men. Generally, it is in the Senate that minor parties have
been able to effectively influence the policies of the major
parties. Equally essential to reform, are supportive individual
MPs within the major parties, who advocate for us in party
caucus rooms. Without these supportive individuals we risk our
issues being discarded by the major parties.
When we cast our vote on October 9, we have many
considerations to balance and many options to express our views.
Additional to the policy commitments of parties and the track
record of individual candidates, we need to consider how to make
our vote count in each of the two houses and where our
preferences will end up. We are faced with prospects of no reform
under a Howard led Coalition or significant reform under Labor.
The outcome on October 9 will determine the future of our
fight for equality.
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