Politicians Join Forces to Celebrate Pride

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Pictured from left to right. National MLCs Martin Aldridge & Mia Davies, former Labor Senator Louise Pratt, Minister for Mental Health Helen Morton MLC, Labor MLC Stephen Dawson, Greens MLCs Lynn MacLaren and Robin Chapple, Nationals MLA Shane Love.

On Thursday November 20th, National MLC Martin Aldridge, Minister for Mental Health Helen Morton, Greens MLC Lynn MacLaren and Labor MLC Stephen Dawson held the event ‘Celebrating Pride at Parliament’. The evening was spent celebrating cross-party support for the LGBT community and discussing the future of queer rights including same sex marriage.

Greens MLC Lynn MacLaren chatted to OUTinPerth about the event.

What was the aim of the Pride at Parliament event?

I speak from experience when I emphasise it is not often that parliamentarians from across the political spectrum unite. The aim of ‘Celebrating Pride at Parliament’ was to bring together LGBTIQ community members to meet representative Members of Parliament, reflect on our former achievements and set the scene for what’s next. My hope is that – regardless of political stance – the LGBTI community and their human rights are acknowledged by all. Parliament often makes important decisions which affect these rights. Whether issues important to us have been or will be supported in Parliament House is a different story, but what is important is that these issues are raised here. We welcomed and paid respects to former MLC Giz Watson and former MLC and Senator Louise Pratt. Celebrating Pride at Parliament is about showing my appreciation to members of both Parliament and the community for their work towards achieving equality, whilst acknowledging more must be done by lawmakers into the future.

What topics did the different members speak about?

Working towards equality for the LGBTI community does not boil down to one single issue – a breadth of issues made it to the podium. I made mention of efforts to improve services for the trans* community, acknowledged campaigns across Australia that are working towards the right to marry, the right to have your overseas marriage recognised, the right to remain married to your life partner if you undergo transition, and the right to be relieved of a criminal conviction for engaging in consensual gay sex in years past. Slowly but surely we are’ ticking off’ achievements in these different campaigns for equality. Nationals MP Hon Martin Aldridge made mention of my Same-Sex Marriage Bill, Minister Morton highlighted services that currently exist for the community.

What do you feel was the event’s biggest achievement?

A highlight for me was the acknowledgement from Hon Martin Aldridge MLC that my Same-Sex Marriage Bill must be supported and come to fruition as state legislation soon. It is powerful when a member from the government side urges support for your bill. On a broader scale, it was great to have three tiers of government and members (past and present) from the Greens, Labor, Liberal and National Parties standing in unity to support the LGBTI community during PRIDE month. The Minister was very positive about hosting the event on the night and based on the wonderful response from many others, you may see this inaugural event become a regular feature on the PRIDE calendar.

Graeme Watson

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