Where Labor's candidates for Lord Mayor stand on LGBTI issues
Labor is turning to the community to help select its candidate for Sydney City Lord Mayor at the upcoming local government elections. Here, SX asked each of them where they stood on LGBTI issues.
As the date edges closer for the next City of Sydney elections in early September, the NSW Labor Party has for the first time turned to members of the public to help it select its official candidate to take on Lord Mayor Clover Moore.
While members of local Labor branches will still be able to vote in person for their preferred candidate, City residents will also be given a choice to vote in what many have said is a move reminiscent of the American-style primary system.
Competing for the preselection will be FBi Radio co-founder Cassandra Wilkinson, NSW Council for Civil Liberties president Cameron Murphy, restaurateur Jonathan Yee, activist Linda Scott, and academic and former NSW Attorney-General adviser, Damian Spruce.
Both ballots of residents and ALP members will receive equal weighting, with no person allowed to take part in both votes.
The ‘Community Preselection’ will see the candidates who receive the greatest amount of votes from these elections to go on to become the party’s official nominees who will then compete against each other for the final position.
Online and postal voting close Thursday, while in-person voting will take place on June 2 between 9am-5pm at Victoria Park, Joynton Park and Redfern Park as well as at Glebe Markets from 10am-5pm. For more information, go to www.communitypreselection.com.
Where Labor’s candidates for Lord Mayor stand on LGBT issues
On same-sex marriage: I support every adult’s right to marry who they love and wish them well.
On Oxford Street: Oxford Street needs to have any charges and costs removed from local businesses especially charges for outdoor dining permissions. Also need to lease council properties on the street to positive out of hours users – I’m open to suggestions but artist run Entertainment venues appeals to me, for example 505 in Surry Hills.
On other issues: My strong impression is that LGBTI folks have same needs – an urgent need to deal with housing under supply and consequent price growth; better parks for all our kids; get off the necks of local business; abolish any rules preventing arts and music venues from flourishing. Whether LGBTI voters could care less is up to them. I assume they will only be interested if a candidate looks capable of making Sydney a better place.
On same-sex marriage: I have been on the public record supporting same-sex marriage for 8 years. Hardly anyone in the ALP was calling for same sex marriage in 2004, but I was. It is an urgent priority for us to fix and it should be done immediately.
On Oxford Street: Sydney and Oxford Street in particular, is the cultural heart of Gay Australia. It is appalling that Oxford Street has recently become quite desolate (in terms of the large amount of vacant space for sale or lease) and that at night it has become violent. We need to revive the Oxford Street precinct by making it both a vibrant place and a safe place. I will work to rejuvenate Oxford Street if I am elected.
On other issues: The Council should do more to prevent homophobic violence in the City and more to help LGBTI people who experience domestic violence. While it already has an LGBTI project officer it should run a LGBTI hotline so people can get assistance if they are suffering domestic violence and be able to report incidences of homophobic violence without having to go direct to police. The Council should be providing more resources for and advocating for the rights of transgender people.
On same-sex marriage: I believe it is the right of any individual to choose their partner in marriage no matter if they are heterosexual or homosexual. Same-sex marriage should be of equal standing of a heterosexual couple in marriage, rather than being classified as de factos under the current laws.
On Oxford Street: The current state of Oxford Street has changed dramatically under the leadership of Lord Mayor Clover Moore. Oxford Street use to be a bustling and vibrant area for shopping, fashion, nightlife and food lovers. Due to many changes in restrictive parking, cost of parking, bicycle lanes and bus lane, Oxford Street business operators have borne the brunt of declining business which has changed the landscape of this use-to-be busy strip. An alcohol freeze (zone) on Oxford Street is not the definitive way to curb alcohol related anti-social behaviour. I believe better policing from council by rangers and local police would be a better method.
On other issues: Labor has many well-known supporters of LGBTI communities like Penny Wong who was the first lesbian to be made a minister. I believe safety is an issue and if elected as Mayor of Sydney I will liaise with local police and state government to improve the safety of Oxford street precinct. I will set up local/street forums so we as local government can get a better understanding of what local communities want. Better understanding means better policy making.
On same-sex marriage: I am a strong and vocal supporter of marriage equality. I was a delegate at this year’s ALP National Conference, and was proud to vote to change the party platform in support of marriage equality. One of the first political campaigns I ever worked on was in the US whilst on exchange, fighting to defeat ballot measures that sought to remove anti-discrimination protections from the LGBT community in the workplace.
On Oxford Street: The current state of Oxford Street is terrible, and the City's efforts to revitalise it have largely worsened the problem. I’ve actively campaigned for a better balance of licensed premises with surrounding residences. We know that safety is a concern, and Council needs to play a strong role in regulating and enforcing late trading licenced premises in the area. The area needs revitalisation. I support the City’s moves to introduce arts spaces. In addition, community markets, such as those successfully operating at Eveleigh, should be introduced into Taylor Square, to start to bring the community back to Oxford Street.
On other issues: The City of Sydney Council must fight to retain its support for the relationship register and other important community events, in the face of a conservative Liberal state government and a potential increase in Liberal Council representation. I regularly speak to parents in same-sex relationships about the lack of childcare in the City, and others about the lack of transparency around development and overdevelopment in their streets.
On same-sex marriage: I strongly support legislating equal marriage as soon as possible. While changing the ALP platform at the annual conference this year was a positive step, it did not bind MPs to vote in favour of it. I believe MPs should be bound to support overturning the existing discriminatory law. I marched with Rainbow Labor in the ‘It’s Time for Marriage Equality’ float at this year’s Mardi Gras and will continue to advocate for marriage equality both inside and outside of the party.
On Oxford Street: Sadly abandoned shops, for lease signs, traffic noise, lack of greenery and cold public areas drain Oxford Street of vitality. The Council needs to take a strong approach to work with the community to reinvigorate Oxford Street, with measures that might include ensuring that GLBTI organizations have access to shopfront or satellite offices on Oxford Street if they are not headquartered there.
On other issues: All LGBT policy needs to take account of the diversity of the community, its elders, young people, people with disabilities and those from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. Safety in the city and protection from homophobic violence are important responsibilities for the council, in co-operation with other agencies, and need to be constantly monitored and improved. Police Gay and Lesbian Liaison Officers play an essential role in helping deal with and prevent violence against the community, but are not always available – the Council should work with the NSW Police Force to improve this.