FUSE 30 — Life Love Equality

We should all be concerned about the significant rollback of gay and lesbian rights in Queensland.

Over the past few months, Campbell Newman’s National Liberal Party (NLP) has made some serious changes to civil unions. It’s now a watered-down ‘relationship registration’ with no ceremony. There have also been amendments to the termination procedure — instead of seeking a court order from the District Court as with divorce, an application for termination is lodged with the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages — thereby reducing the similarities to marriage even further.

In Queensland, same-sex couples cannot legally adopt a child and proposed changes to surrogacy laws will mean that it will also become illegal for singles, same-sex couples and defactos — who have been in a relationship for less than two years — to use a surrogate mother. The proposed changes break a promise made by Premier Campbell Newman just before this year’s state election.

In a shock move, the Newman Government also withdrew $2.5 million in funding to the Queensland Association of Healthy Communities — a significant voice and safety net for the GLBTI community.  Andrew Bartlett, a spokesman for the Greens commented, ‘It is obvious that this decision is driven by the religious fundamentalist ideology that now dominates the NLP, rather than one based on evidence about better health outcomes’. Whether this statement is accurate or not, GLBTI people in Queensland must be wondering what future they have in the state.

In an absolute landslide election, I’m sure that many GLBTI people voted for the NLP without knowing what the potential repercussions were for the state and their rights. It just goes to show how important it is to know exactly where parties stand on GLBTI issues before you start ticking boxes on Election Day. Don’t think just because you’ve already got something it can’t be taken away.

In light of this, FUSE invited the leaders of the three major parties in the ACT to write an open letter to the GLBTI community to share their vision for Canberra leading up to and beyond the election in October (p30).

On the sunnier side of things here in Canberra, we interview three very creative and  talented people: Jude Kohn, a funky music chick with a blues heart — her journey began with a spectacular bicycle accident, a couch and a guitar (p16); Mark Sheppard, who steps off the stage to tell us about his new show "Chasing the Lollyman" and talks about what life is like as a gay “blackfella” (p24); and last but not least, local artist Daniel Edwards, who creates the most amazing textile art, defying common stereotypes and gender boundaries (p39).

Enjoy, Alex

FUSE 30 — Life Love Equality (Boy Issue)

FUSE 30 — Life Love Equality (Girl Issue)

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