Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Big Step Backwards

News reports this morning confirm that Queensland Premier Campbell Newman will repeal the Civil Partnerships legislation passed just six months ago by the Bligh Government. This is no great surprise, as it was raised as a probability during the LNP campaign.

The timing is surprising. This morning's Sunday Mail has released a Galaxy Poll in which 50% of the population support gay marriage, and only 33% oppose it. Even amongst LNP voters, 42% support gay marriage and 44% oppose it. And don't forget that Premier Newman himself supports gay marriage, yet is willing to overturn this legislation to appease the noisy 42%.

But it doesn't end there. If you're gay in Queensland, there's more bad news this Sunday morning. It appears $2.6m in funding has been withdrawn from Queensland Association of Healthy Communities, according to various Twitter sources. Such funding would come from the Queensland Heath Department, yet there is no media statement announcing these funding changes.

There is, however, a newspaper report quoting Queensland's new Health Minister Lawrence Springborg stating that funding will be redirected a new AIDS Council. The Queensland Association of Healthy Communities was established in 1984 as the Qld AIDS Council. Mr Springborg believes that by lobbying for equal rights, the QAHC has strayed from its it's original charter as an advocate for gay men's health. God knows what the LNP is thinking; Speaker of the House Fiona Simpson still thinks homosexuality can be cured!

Nothing but this shameful victory will matter to Wendy Francis, head of the Queensland chapter of the Australian Christian Lobby. She'll be dancing up and down the aisle at church this morning. Ms Francis spearheaded the ACL's campaign to have the Rip N Roll posters removed from bus shelters, so that children wouldn't be corrupted by the idea of two adults choosing to take care of each other's health. The Rip N Roll campaign was funded, at least in part, by the Brisbane City Council, which was at the time headed by Campbell Newman.

Ms Francis is also vehemently opposed to civil unions, and was seen leaving Parliament House in tears the night that Andrew Fraser's Civil Partnerships bill was passed. Prior to the 2010 Federal election in which Ms Francis was standing for the Senate, she infamously tweeted

@Wendy4Senate Children in homosexual relationships are subject to emotional abuse. Legitimising gay marriage is like legalising child abuse.

Remember back in February, prior to the Qld State Election, LNP Members including Campbell Newman addressed ACL meetings, hoping to sound far enough to the right to appeal to the extreme conservatives. It's no surprise, then, that the Newman Government is honouring commitments made to a tiny group of far right conservatives, against the beliefs of the majority of the population.

Is the Queensland Government's approach to "rainbow issues" to simply pretend they don't exist, or is the LNP trying to drive gays south, thereby making them someone else's problem?

More importantly, who is pulling the strings? Queensland voted overwhelmingly for a government lead by Campbell Newman, yet in repealing the Civil Partnerships legislation, Newman is ignoring the majority view, and acting against his own beliefs.  This might be what Bruce McIver, Wendy Francis and Fiona Simpson want,  but it's not what Queenslanders - or their Premier - want.

Add your voice to the chorus signing a petition in support of equal rights in Queensland.

1 comment:

  1. thank you so much for the shout out, and your insightful words