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Ruddy Good News - What TheElection Results Mean For Us

With a sweeping victory handed to a Rudd Labor government, the new parliament promises great opportunities for advancing same-sex equality in Australia.

Despite the popularity of individual candidates, the Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby’s election survey showed that pink voters went into this election with a stark difference between the major parties on gay and lesbian equality. The ALP came out particularly stronger than the Coalition on relationship and family recognition, addressing homophobia in education and consultation with our community.

On the issue of relationship recognition, the Coalition promised only superannuation death entitlements for same-sex partners of Commonwealth employees. In contrast, Labor promised comprehensive de facto equality for all same-sex couples and their children across superannuation, taxation, immigration, health and family law. Our job is now to ensure Labor delivers on this promise.

Whilst the major parties were agreed on opposing marriage equality, in the election survey the Coalition claimed that current definition of marriage was “not an expression of discrimination … [but] about the special status of marriage.” A ‘special status’ it seems, that gays and lesbians will have to fight hard with both parties to win in future terms. The community will now wait to see how Labor’s plans for a nationally-consistent state-based relationship register will play out in the face of more conservative state governments, such as the NSW state government.

In the lower house, we look to have key allies. Outspoken supporters Tanya Plibersek and Anthony Albanese were easily returned, and there were key victories for moderates and progressives in both parties including Janelle Saffin (Page), Bob Debus (Macquarie), Russell Broadbent (McMillan) and Malcolm Turnbull (Wentworth) who all recorded impressive swings.

This election was also a first for women. Julia Gillard takes the mantle as the first female Deputy Prime Minister, and Louise Pratt joins Penny Wong in the Senate as the second openly lesbian member of federal parliament. Pratt’s past experience includes the convenorship of Gay and Lesbian Equality (WA), in which she played an instrumental role in delivering same-sex relationship and parenting equality to Western Australia.

Bob Brown led The Greens to pick up seats in South Australia and Western Australia, bringing their total to five seats in the Senate. The election saw the loss of NSW Greens’ Senator Kerry Nettle to a progressive Liberal Senator Marise Payne.

Overall the election results point to a substantially more pink-friendly parliament, with the Senate – although unclear – looking very promising. The new government looks likely to need to convince The Greens, independent South Australian Senator Nick Xenophon and either Family First’s Steve Fielding or a Coalition Senator to pass legislation without Coalition support. Xenophon, a lawyer and popular anti-gambling campaigner from South Australia, has voted to support same-sex equality in South Australia and is on the record for being a moderate on gay and lesbian and other issues.

The next three years presents a golden opportunity to achieve real progress for gay and lesbian rights in Australia. Now a pinker house has been built, it is all our responsibility to give our community rights organisations the resources they need to push the government to deliver for lesbians and gay men. If you are not already a member, it’s time to join your local gay and lesbian rights organisation. Or, log onto our website to see how else you can show your support:

Emily Gray and Peter Johnson are the Convenors of the Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby in NSW. Be part of the push for equality, volunteer or donate now.

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jackie87 said on the 26th Nov, 2007

Fantastic result...I would like to thank all of the other true believers especially in my home seat of Bennelong who threw a rotten government and its leader out on its teeth.

Also a big thanks to all of the other volunteers at the polling booths trying to convince the voters of Australia to vote for a particular cause takes it out of you, especially when its busy and wet in the morning and quiet and tiring in the afternoon.

Stevie Boy

Stevie Boy said on the 26th Nov, 2007

Thank you for this article explaining the election outcome from a gay rights perspective. The article certainly makes the result sound very positive for us but my understanding is that this is not totally the case. Due to the likely make up of the Senate, Labor will need the support of Family First (along with the Greens and the SA Independent) to pass legislation which the Liberal party votes against. Can you please explain how it will be possible for any of the changes our community is hoping for to be passed when the extremely anti-gay Family First Senator will without a doubt block them all?


dreadcircus said on the 26th Nov, 2007

Hmm this will depends on how this govt reacts to people marching and fighting for rights. Will they take howards water canon aproach and steel cages around our city?
After all we do have the power and freedom of speech to have spoken loud and put Labor back in. I think Labor have come into power at just the right time when many of us feel as if our rights have been stolen over the past 11 years.

LOL @ Howard getting smashed. I listened to the vote count live on JJJ with roy and HG, it was a hoot coming home on the plane from Adelaide. I had a pompus elderly couple in front of me bleeting out loud the the air stewards how "Everybody in Sydney was voting Howard in" so hearing he was getting beaten on the plane prompted me to say to our bass player just loud enough for them to hear "Awesome Howard has lost he's seat, finally the nazi rule is over and people like myself may begin to see some equality instead of evil ."

Yup they went white, well pastier than what they already were. I hope Rudd does something great in his term, he's now even hinting @ saying "sorry". For if he does not great then I form one will be marching.


mikeysyd said on the 26th Nov, 2007

I'm cautiously optimistic. If Turnbull can get over the line as leader of the Liberal party then that may also (and I stress may) help.


jackie87 said on the 26th Nov, 2007

I wasn't feeling it this morning handing out how-to-vote cards at St Mark's Church in the Liberal seat of North Sydney (made marginal by weatherman ALP recruit Mike Bailey), where there were a lot of typically snobby SUV mums and outspoken old people who were helped exclusively by the Liberal ladies where the overwhelming response to the Greens were that they were a "watermelon party" (green on the outside and pink on the inside) so I wasn't confident Labor would win North Sydney or that booth.

Later when I was campaigning at Ryde the response towards Maxine McKew amongst most people was fantastic and I gotta thank the Labor people at Ryde for actually offering voters to vote Green in the Senate much to the chagrin of the nasty Hitler Youth (Young Libs) who were shoving how to vote cards in people's handbags and generally made snide comments about Maxine being ugly as if it really mattered because it made them look stupid having overloaded themselves with tacky John Howard paraphernalia everywhere in sight which was a typical Liberal solution of throwing money at everything and hoping it grows.


chad_74 said on the 27th Nov, 2007

Is it true the labor rep in the seat that covers newtown is against gay reform?

GL Rights Lobby

GL Rights Lobby said on the 27th Nov, 2007

Hi Chad74,

Newtown sits across two federal electorates depending on which part of Newtown you are in. The elected members are Anthony Albanese (Grayndler) and Tanya Plibersek (Sydney).

You can read both their individual response to our federal election survey on gay and lesbian issues on our website: Just go to the "Candidate's Response" section.

That should clarify where they stand on gay and lesbian issues for you.

Stevie Boy

Stevie Boy said on the 27th Nov, 2007

The minimum ways that equality can be achieved in the Senate is if:
= Labor + Greens + Xenophon vote for equality, OR
= Labor + Coalition votes for equality, OR
= Labor + Greens + One Coalition member crosses the floor to vote for equality, OR
= All parties vote for equality.

Thanks for that great response. It certainly helps to clear some things up. The way the Senate make up has been reported in the mainstream media constantly makes it sound like without the support of the Liberals, Labor would need the support of the Greens and Xenophon AND Family First to pass equality bills. Glad to hear this is not necessarily the case otherwise we probably wouldn't get anywhere! I have heard that Nick Xenophon's standing on gay and lesbian issues is moderate with the potential to be somewhat progressive. From what he has indicated it certainly sounds like he is willing to listen and be reasonable which is a good start.

I would agree that supporting the G&L Rights Lobby at this time is extremely important. The prospect of this country being a better place for gay and lesbian people to live is very exciting. I think this would be positive for the entire country, whether certain people tend to believe it or not. What would you suggest is the best way to get involved or support the Lobby?

GL Rights Lobby

GL Rights Lobby said on the 27th Nov, 2007

The best way to support the GLRL if you are living in NSW is to become a member. Membership is only $25 full/$10 concession. Members recieve regular updates on the progress of our work and ways to get further involved. You can access all the information you need here:

If you want to get more active, you may also want to volunteer.

Please note however, we have changed our contact details recently and I've just noticed the website needs updating. So, to send any membership forms to us, our contact details are:

Ph: 02 9571 5501
Fax: 02 9571 5509
PO Box 304, Glebe NSW 2037

Email is the same!

GL Rights Lobby

GL Rights Lobby said on the 29th Nov, 2007

Hi Stevie Boy and others,

Although it could be weeks before the final Senate results are available, it is important to revise that the ALP looks likely to require The Greens and two further votes to get equality over the line if a Bill is presented. There is still a small chance for The Greens to pick up one or two seats, but at the moment the Senate figures look like it will require Xenophon and Family First, or Xenophon and at least one Coalition Senator, to vote for equality in order to get it over the line without bipartisan support in the Senate.

Equality is still achieveable, however it is clear that we will need to:
= Push the Coalition to support reform,
= Push the Opposition leader to give Coalition Senators a conscience vote OR,
= Convince at least one Coalition Senator to cross the floor.

The GLRL has worked hard to build support across the political spectrum, meaning that equality will be achievable but will need lots of hard work. In 2006 and 2007, we met with several members of the outgoing government who were supportive of reform and the Coalition has already come some way in recognising the need for reform by committing to interdependency reform on a case-by-case basis. In August 2007, we were closer to getting stronger commitments from the Coalition after a submission went to Cabinet, but the media reported that these were rejected by outgoing Prime Minister John Howard - who is no longer the leader nor likely to remain in parliament.

The track record of the Coalition has also shown that certain individuals will publicly support and speak against party policy, as we saw in the asylum seeker debate with Petro Georgiou's proposed private member's bill and Warren Entsch's proposed private member's bill on same-sex equality. Both of these proposed bills - although never coming to fruition - helped lead to a changed Coalition policy.

Now more than ever, we need the support of our community to ensure we have the resources to meet with Coalition MPs and Senators to push the Coalition to change its policy, gives its members a conscience vote OR help pressure at least one Coalition Senator to cross the floor.

Stevie Boy

Stevie Boy said on the 29th Nov, 2007

This is extremely disappointing it feels so close yet so far. All we need is one or two more seats for Labor/Greens and we could see some real change. Unfortunately this doesn't look to be the case. Family First must be smiling. Oh well I guess the battle continues and I suppose things still look better than they have for the last 12 years

Tim D

Tim D said on the 29th Nov, 2007

One of the coalition will cross the's not that bleak. At least there's hope.


jackie87 said on the 29th Nov, 2007

I think it looks promising if Turnbull becomes leader of the Opposition, it will finally undergo a moderate overhaul on both sides, plus Liberal Senator Marise Payne is fairly supportive, lets just hope extremist poster boy Alex Hawke keeps it in his pants!

Tim D

Tim D said on the 29th Nov, 2007

Turnbull is the only hope the Liberals have left.

Jesus I loathe Alex Hawke.


jackie87 said on the 29th Nov, 2007

If it's any consolation he used to work at Woolies Parramatta


chad_74 said on the 29th Nov, 2007

Rudds made one bad decision already.
Hes made Julia Gillard minister for industrail relations and also the education portfolio.........
Nothing against Julia but how can one person be in charge of two major portfolio's?
Each one is important (well we were told they were) and requires undivided attention.


jackie87 said on the 29th Nov, 2007

and to top it off she is Deputy PM, Tim and her have gotta knuckle down, its all about the hair!

Stevie Boy

Stevie Boy said on the 29th Nov, 2007

The news isn't getting much better for us with Malcolm Turnbull losing the leadership race. I'm not sure where Brendan Nelson stands on these issues

Stevie Boy

Stevie Boy said on the 29th Nov, 2007

Okay just to add to my comment above about Brendan Nelson. I have done a little more research and it appears that Brendan Nelson along with Malcolm Turnbull voted in favour of passing equality reforms. This is a good sign so the news is possibly not all bad


dreadcircus said on the 29th Nov, 2007

Today I've been speaking with Penny Sharpe whom I met at this years Transgender Day of Remembrance. I have been asked along to Parliament this coming Wednesday along with kids from Queer support group 20/10. I'm hoping to get the nsw public schools interested in showcasing my rock band made up of trans and lesbian women to create awareness. What better medium to hit todays youth?

This shows the labor party are serious to me about pushing hard on equality. I'll keep you posted on the developments :)


jackie87 said on the 2nd Dec, 2007

Looks like Brendan Nelson is trying to match the ALP's position...gonna make a few conservatives upset in the NSW division of the Libs


introspect said on the 2nd Dec, 2007

Upset conservatives or not, it seems to be good news for our community.



AlleyKat said on the 3rd Dec, 2007

I'm just so thrilled about Penny Wong. She was so composed and articulate in the days following the election. I look forward to finding out more about her and to her positive impact on Australian governance, culture, and climate.


hj741 said on the 4th Dec, 2007

I think it's about time Gay marriages become legalized.


jackie87 said on the 4th Dec, 2007

Well, its now in such a good position the ACT is about to re-introduce the civil union laws and the federal ALP has already indicated they are unlikely to block the laws like the previous Government had but it is not known if they will follow suit in other states.

Anthony Mahera

Anthony Mahera said on the 4th Dec, 2007

Well...........................I voted for Johnny.

Reason: Because Workchoices was a benefit to me rather then a hinderance. Don't get me wrong, I'm pro union and have been in a union all my working life, it just they had done min to nothing for me over the past 12 years. I pay money every fortnight into a union, but it seems its going into a black hole. I don't see them, talk to them or even here about what they have done to make my working life easier.

Since workchoices - My pay has increased, bonuses have gone up and I work less hours.

If the "Union" laws are introduced back, I will lose everything that I have worked for over the years. I don't believe that people deserve there pay increases every year just for turning up. You should earn it!!!!

Considering that RUDD is our new PM. Gee...... he seems alright and so far so good, still early days though. We'll just have to wait and see.


taylor-dayne said on the 4th Dec, 2007

i love it - how quickly things can change. libs and labor are both pretty gay friendly overall, which is fab news for us!

we won't get marriage, but that's fine by me - why should we have it anyway? civil unions will come though, and i think most gay people see that as enough.

Stevie Boy

Stevie Boy said on the 4th Dec, 2007

we won't get marriage, but that's fine by me - why should we have it anyway?

We should have it because it's called choice. If you don't want to get married then don't but there are other gay couples who want nothing more than to marry each other. In an equal society don't you think that's reasonable? In addition, there are now a number of countries which allow gay marriage. So why not us? I believe Civil Unions would be a positive step forward in the meantime