Minister for Creative Industries Steve Dimopoulos and Minister for Equality Harriet Shing, Victoria’s only two out gay MPs, at the 2022 Midsumma Pride March.
Victoria may have some of the more progressive laws in Australia for the LGBTQI community, but it has one of the lowest representation of out MPs in the state Parliament.
Just around 1.6 per cent of members of Parliament in Victoria identify as LGBTQI, as opposed to 16 per cent in ACT and 11 per cent in Western Australia. Northern Territory, NSW and SA have around 4 per cent, 3.7 per cent and 2.9 per cent of MPs who identity as LGBTQI respectively. There are eight out gay, lesbian and bisexual MPs in the federal Parliament after the May 2022 elections.
Only Queensland and Tasmania fare worse than Victoria – there is not a single out LGBTQI MP in these states.
Now an advocacy group in Victoria wants to get more out LGBTQI MPs elected in the forthcoming elections in Victoria in November 2022.
It Takes More Campaign
With the Victorian State Election fast approaching, the Victorian Pride Lobby will be holding an LGBTIQA+ Community Candidate’s Forum in November.
— Victorian Pride Lobby (@VicPrideLobby) October 6, 2022
On Thursday, the Victorian Pride Lobby launched a non-partisan campaign ‘It Takes More’, with a view to support, mentor and focus attention on out LGBTQI candidates.
“It takes more than a rainbow lanyard to have equality. We will only be the ‘equality state’ when our Parliament reflects the rich diversity of all our communities,” Nevena Spirovska, Co-Convener, of the Pride Lobby, told Star Observer.
In October 2020, the Pride Lobby had successfully run a similar initiative – the Rainbow Local Government campaign – during the local council elections in Victoria.
Around 132 out LGBTQI candidates had contested the council elections that year, of which 29 were elected to various councils across the state, up from 11 councillors elected in 2016.
According to the Pride Lobby, despite the fact that trans activist Julie Peters ran for the elections in 1996, “there has never been a trans or non-binary nor a intersex person elected to the Victorian Parliament. There has never been an openly lesbian, bisexual, or queer woman elected to the Legislative Assembly, and only two ever elected to the Legislative Council.”
The Pride Lobby has launched an It Takes More website to spotlight the LGBTQI candidates at the state elections.
Don’t Be Afraid To Use Your Voice, Says Minister For Equality Harriet Shing
Harriet Shing, Minister for Equality in the Daniel Andrews government and Victoria’s only out lesbian MP, told Star Observer in an interview in September, that visibility was important to make a difference in the equality space
“Our Parliaments, our boardrooms, our workplaces and our communities really do deserve the benefit of diversity and that includes LGBTQI+ leaders,” Shing said. “Having LGBTQI+ representation in the government is also about policy decisions that reflect and recognise lived experience of LGBTIQ+ people.”
The Minister also had a message for young people who were looking to serve in Parliament.
“Authenticity and finding a good supportive network of people who love and support and accept you as you are is a key part of any one’s journey in becoming involved in politics,” Shing told Star Observer. “There is in politics, a fair degree of pressure to conform to a certain ideal of what it means to be a politician. Don’t be afraid to be yourself and don’t be afraid to to use your voice exactly as it is,” added Shing.
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