Friday, May 25, 2012
The Campbell Newman Liberal-National Party (LNP) government has wasted no time in launching an all-out attack on gay rights and on community services in the state. The May 20 Courier Mail reported that the government is preparing to overturn the civil unions law passed under the previous Labor government early this year.
A spokesperson for state attorney-general Jarrod Bleijie told the paper a proposal to end civil unions will be brought to cabinet “within weeks”.
A May 20 Galaxy/Sunday Mail poll said 50% of Australians support same sex marriage. Just 33% oppose it. Newman has said in the past that he personally supports equal marriage. However, the Courier Mail said most LNP MPs are pushing to repeal the existing civil union laws.
Meanwhile, health minister Lawrence Springborg said on May 19 the government would withdraw $2.6 million of funding to the Queensland Association for Healthy Communities.
Healthy Communities is Queensland’s only lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex health organisation. It had been contracted by Queensland Health to work with gay men on HIV prevention and on drug dependence in the queer community.
Healthy Communities executive director Paul Martin said: “We are shocked at the announcement made by Minister Springborg today. There has been no warning, discussion or negotiation with us about our current service agreements with Queensland Health …
“We are shocked at the announcement made by Minister Springborg today. There has been no warning, discussion or negotiation with us about our current service agreements with Queensland Health.”
In early May, the Queensland government also announced it would abolish a grant to the women prisoner rights group Sisters Inside, which helps female prisoners return to outside society.
The group has launched an online petition calling for the funding to be restored. Sisters Inside said: “Criminalised women have the highest rate of sexual and physical abuse perpetrated against them in our community.
“Due to this horrendous abuse women turn to self medication with illegal drugs and/or alcohol. Sisters Inside reduces crime in our communities, breaking the cycle of imprisonment which saves the State Government and tax payers money and keeps families together.”
Under the guise of seeking to slash public spending because of the state’s debt, the Newman regime is aping the former Bjelke-Petersen government by targeting progressive and alternative programs for cuts.
An emergency rally, titled Defend Civil Unions, Save Healthy Communities, will take place on May 30 at 5pm in King George Square.
Rally organisers said: “The LNP have not given a straight answer about the fate of the 400 plus couples who have already registered their civil union, or given a single thought to the impact of removing a recently won right and replacing it with what was there before: discrimination.
“This is an attack on us all. A government with basically no accountability removing a legal right, with only homophobia as a justification is really a shape of things to come. And we didn't have to wait long to see who was next. Healthy Communities, the only dedicated LGBTI health service in the state came under attack.
“We will not stand by silently as our rights are being stripped away. We will not allow this government to openly promote discrimination.”