Labor's Bold Play to Win 'Pink Vote' Nov 8, 2010 19:50:12 GMT -5
Post by Erica Chan on Nov 8, 2010 19:50:12 GMT -5
Farrah Tomazin, October 23rd 2010[/center]
LAWS against homophobia will be strengthened and the rights of same same-sex couples to adopt children will be reconsidered if Labor wins next month's state election.
In a pitch for the ''pink vote'', Premier John Brumby has also promised to give the gay community a greater say in shaping government policy, improve the rights of couples to have overseas or interstate marriages recognised in Victoria, and provide more funding to stamp out homophobia in schools.
Advocacy groups yesterday described the policy as the most comprehensive gay reform package Labor has taken to a state election.
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But Mr Brumby has stopped short of reversing his long-standing opposition to same-sex marriage, despite pressure from within his party and the fact it is a key issue for many voters, particularly in the inner city where the government is under threat from the Greens.
With just over five weeks before the poll, the government will today move to reassert its social justice credentials with a $2.5 million plan that pledges to:
■ Review the Adoption Act 1984, which prevents same-sex couples from adopting children.
■ Create a government advisory committee to advise cabinet on key issues affecting the gay community, and provide $400,000 over four years for a peak body to represent its interests.
■ Reform the law so couples who marry overseas can have their relationship - though not their marriage - registered in Victoria.
■ Allow partnerships to be legally registered even if only one partner is connected to Victoria (at present, both have to be).
■ Strengthen laws against homophobic harassment, and invest $100,000 over four years in a campaign designed to reduce attacks on gay people.
■ Require all government funding and service agreements to adhere to the Victorian Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities, meaning government-funded bodies will no longer be able to discriminate on the basis of sexuality or gender identities.
''We believe in a society that embraces diversity,'' Mr Brumby said. ''A re-elected Labor government would support our gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex communities and ensure their members are safe, valued and respected.''
The plans come as a national Galaxy poll yesterday found 78 per cent of Australians believe there should be a conscience vote on same-sex marriages. Independent MP Andrew Wilkie called on Prime Minister Julia Gillard to allow a conscience vote on the issue, claiming she was ''out of step with the people''.
Crusader Hillis, chief executive of gay and lesbian organisation ALSO Foundation, said while Victoria had not changed its position on same-sex marriage, Labor's proposed changes went ''a long way'' by giving the gay community a ''full voice'', recognising relationships of people who are married overseas, and potentially paving the way for same-sex couples to adopt.
Anne Mitchell, director of Gay and Lesbian Health Victoria, said the policy was the most comprehensive gay plan ever taken to a state election and would provide funding for programs to tackle homophobia in schools.
Jamie Gardiner, Vice-President of Liberty Victoria, said: ''There have been lots of good programs … but this wraps it up and gives comprehensive acknowledgment to the gay community.''
Thoughts? Sorry, I know this is an older article, but I still thought it relevant enough to share here.