Stephen Bates takes over as Greens spokesperson on LGBTIQA+ issues

Stephen Bates

The Australian Greens Leader, Adam Bandt, has announced the party’s updated portfolio allocation for the upcoming 47th Parliament, ahead of the first sittings in July.

With the dramatic increase in the number of Greens members elected to parliament, the party has reshuffled it’s portfolios with newly elected Queensland MP Stephen Bates taking over responsibility for LGBTIQA+ issues. Bates will also take on the youth portfolio.

The reshuffle sees Max Chandler-Mather represent the Greens on housing matters and Libby Watson-Brown represent Infrastructure and Transport.

Former economist Barbara Pocock will represent the Greens on Finance and Employment, Gladstone-based former teacher Penny Allman-Payne will take on Schools as well as Industry, Transition & Regional Development, and former NSW MLC David Shoebridge, who has successfully pushed for action on corruption over many years, will serve as spokesperson for Justice and Defence.

“With more Greens in Parliament than ever before, this talented team combines years of experience with fresh perspectives,” Bandt said. “This strong team will push the government to deliver on climate, integrity and inequality.

“With the Liberals in disarray and wiped off the electoral map, this Parliament offers an opportunity to make the big changes we need, like getting out of coal and gas while looking after workers and communities, while making big corporations pay their fair share of tax to get dental into Medicare and fix the housing affordability crisis.

“While the Liberals chase after the far-right fringe, this new Greens line-up will offer a progressive economic alternative to a Labor government that’s giving tax cuts to billionaires while opening more coal and gas.”

Just.Equal Australia has welcomed the appointment and paid tribute to outgoing spokesperson, Janet Rice. The group has also called on Labor to follow the Greens’ lead and reinstate an LGBTIQA+ equality portfolio.

Spokesperson, Rodney Croome, said they looked forward to working with Bates.

“We welcome recently-elected member for Brisbane, Stephen Bates, as the Australian Greens new LGBTQIA+ spokesperson.”

“We look forward to briefing Stephen on continued discrimination against LGBTIQA+ Australians and how the Greens can work with the community to make a positive difference.”

“Our focus will be on those issues identified in our election priorities survey including mental health, school inclusion, conversion practices, non-consenting intersex medical interventions, religious exemptions, Medicare coverage of gender affirmation and blood donation.”

“We warmly thank outgoing LGBTIQA+ spokesperson, Janet Rice, for her strong advocacy on behalf of our community.”

“Janet was the Greens LGBTIQA+ spokesperson during one the toughest times for LGBTIQA+ people in decades.”

“Not only was Janet a passionate opponent of the campaign against Safe Schools, the marriage postal survey, the Religious Discrimination Bill and numerous anti-trans campaigns, she also personally supported many LGBTIQA+ people through the darkest moments and boosted our morale when it flagged.”

“The iconic image of Janet knitting in Parliament after Government minister, Peter Dutton, told pro-marriage equality CEO’s to ‘stick to their knitting’, epitomised how Janet has inspired us with her humour, warmth and strength of character.”

Trans and bi+ advocate Sally Goldner AM added her praise for Senator Rice.

“We thank Janet for standing up for all LGBTIQA+ people. One stand-out moment was her draping of the bi flag around her shoulders on Celebrate Bisexuality Day 2018 in Parliament. This gave bi+ Australians a huge sense of feeling seen and affirmed.”

Rodney Croome said the appointment of a new LGBTIQA+ spokesperson sends a message to Labor to create a similar position.

“The Greens have shown that having an LGBTIQA+ portfolio is a valuable addition to any party.”

“Labor should follow the Greens lead and reinstate the LGBTIQA+ equality portfolio it abolished in 2019.”

Graeme Watson 

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