Saturday, October 14, 2006

NSW Greens overlook Gays and Lesbians

There's a state election coming up in NSW and I was recently emailed the NSW Greens policy platform. After reading it, I felt really disappointed that there was no mention of the issue of equality for gays and lesbians in NSW. This is an issue that I believe in strongly and have become increasingly active about in the last few years.

My political activism is connected to personal circumstances but is also an outcome of my awareness of the extent of discrimination that still exists against gays and lesbians (and their children) at both a State and Federal level, and my frustration with the lack of progress that has been made in this area in the last decade.

I sent a reply to the Greens and have decided to reproduce the thread in my blog. Maybe I just expect too much but I thought the response to my email reflected a cynical and politically opportunistic position by the Greens. I have removed names and made some slight modifications to protect privacy:-

Hi Greens Officer,

Thank you for sending out the election platform document for the upcoming NSW state election. I was pleased to see such a comprehensive platform with much thought and research that has gone into it. I would like to express my disappointment, though, that I did not see any of the policy areas addressing equal rights for gays and lesbians in NSW. This is not a trifling or secondary issue and certainly one that I expected the Greens to tackle head on. There are many areas of overt discrimination at the State and, of course, the Federal level. The current NSW Labour government has a poor record on addressing entrenched discrimination against gays and lesbians. There have been numerous recommendations made to the current government to reform a raft of laws to bring equality to gay and lesbian citizens in NSW. The current Labour govt has not acted on any of these recommendations, nor made any announcement as to its position or intention for the future.

I am very disappointed that the Greens have not made equal rights for gays and lesbians in NSW a central issue for this election platform.

Ms M


Hi Ms M,

Thanks for your comments. I guess at the end of the day, focusing on key issues impacting on the NSW electorate and engaging new voters is important.

I will pass on your comments to State Election Campaign. There is a Gay and Lesbian Committee/Work Group that meets regularly and feeds into the State Delegates Council, where decisions are made. Perhaps you could take this up
with them too??

All the best and look forward to connecting with you in person.

Greens Officer


Hi Greens Officer,

Thanks for your reply and I'm happy for you to forward my email to the Gay and Lesbian Work Group. I believe that the issue of gay and lesbian equality is a key issue that impacts on the NSW electorate.

This issue is fundamentally an issue about equality for minorities and the even distribution of civil rights in the laws and policies of NSW. It is therefore generalisable as a central tenet of any democracy and one the Greens should explicitly support, particularly in the current political climate where the distribution of rights is increasingly tied to political advantage, the strength of lobby groups and access to financial backing.

Having a platform that claims to support diversity but doesn't address it directly in its policy position is not the way to win new voters or to keep existing supporters, in my view. It will merely alienate potential voters who already feel excluded from existing party platforms. I, for one, feel very unhappy about the absence of this issue in the Greens platform.

I believe there is still time to incorporate a policy position on equality for Gays and Lesbians into the Greens platform for the upcoming NSW election and request that you forward my proposal to those concerned for consideration.

Ms M


Anonymous said...

You should visit the NSW Greens website to check the policy on Gay and Lesbian rights as part of the LGBTI (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex) policy of the NSW Greens.

I think you will find the NSW Greens have a set of published principles that propose genuine equality in terms of both treatment and, importantly, social outcomes for LGBTI people.


Ms M said...

Well welcome DMS. Yes, I have seen this website and read it thoroughly. Unfortunately these goals are not expressed or made reference to in the Greens election platform for the coming NSW election. This is my point. It's important for the issue to be visible and by not making reference to current issues that impace on LGBTI's and what NSW Greens plans to do about it, then the impression the party gives is that it is a secondary or lesser issue, compared to, for example, bike paths, which did get mentioned in the platform statement.