Monday, 6 July 2015

Meeting Grace Grace

Last week I had the privilege, alongside my fiance Mitch of catching up with Grace Grace MP. Grace is the Qld State Member for Brisbane Central (ALP).

Grace reminded me that she and I first started working together professionally way back in 2000. This was when I was assisting Shayne Wilde and the Queensland Association of Gay and Lesbian Rights to remove LGBTIQ discrimination in the law. The first tentative toe in the water was an industrial agreement to allow employees to take time off to be with their ailing same sex spouses. Grace was a senior union official at the time who pushed the agreement through.

With politicians now being afraid that the sky will fall in by removing discrimination in the Marriage Act, the coming together of the changes in one little industrial agreement  seemed to be a case of the more things change, the more they stay the same. At the time, it was seen as "courageous", "adventurous", "brave", but looking back 15 years, it seems- so what! We did not know at the time whether the change would ever get through.

The change led to a multitude of laws being amended through the efforts of the Beattie government- to remove discrimination against LGBTIQ people.

However, more needs to be done, as I and others have continued to agitate, including recently Human Rights Commissioner Tim Wilson, who called for State sanctioned discrimination against LGBTI people to end, including, in Queensland:

  • the expungement of criminal convictions for sodomy
  • a non-discriminatory age of consent
  • removal of gay panic defence
  • removal of discrimination for adoption.
I raised all these issues with Grace Grace. It is ALP State policy to remove this discrimination.

Grace also congratulated me on being award LGBTIQ activist of the year at the recent Queen's Birthday Ball Awards in Brisbane.

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