Image: Labor's new Shadow Assistant Minister For Equality, Louise Pratt
The Australian Labor Party’s new Shadow Assistant Minister For Equality, Senator Louise Pratt, has warned that LGBTI rights are under threat from Prime Minister Scott Morrison's "next generation" of leadership.
The 46 year old openly lesbian Senator from Western Australia has been an LGBTI activist since her university days and has one child with her former partner, a trans man and LGBT activist. They co-parent their son with his biological dad and his male partner.
In a statement to The Star Observer on Wednesday, Pratt said “Many LGBTI Australians have reached out to tell me their concerns about Scott Morrison’s appointment as Prime Minister. I share their concerns.”
“He defended and praised Israel Folau when he said that gay people were going to hell, saying he had ‘shown a lot of strength of character.’”
“Scott Morrison was a vocal opponent of Marriage Equality. He supported the divisive postal survey as a way of obstructing our path to marriage equality.”
“He then campaigned actively for the No case and voted ‘No’ during the postal survey.”
“To add insult to injury he supported amendments to the Bill to allow for discrimination against LGBTI people within the Marriage Act. He then went on to abstain from the vote – ignoring the will of the Australian people and indeed, the will of the people within his own electorate.” Pratt said.
“Scott Morrison was one of only a handful of MPs to abstain from the vote. He was joined by 8 other MPs including Andrew Hastie, Tony Abbott & Kevin Andrews. This is the same group of conservative MPs behind the push to replace Malcolm Turnbull in the top job.”
“The LGBTI community should hold concerns about the influence these and other hard right Liberal and National MPs hold inside the Morrison Government.”
"The LGBTI community can never be complacent. While we have achieved Marriage Equality, the growing conservative control in the Liberal Party means we could see the reversal of the rights we have fought so long and hard for quickly taken away.”
Conservative Liberal MP Andrew Hastie said on Monday that he expects “bold policy changes” protecting religious freedoms under Morrison, who is a Pentecostal Christian.
"I'd be very confident that Scott Morrison, as our new prime minister, working with Christian Porter as our attorney-general - he's going to take action on religious freedom," he told News Corp's Miranda Devine Live program on Monday.
The Philip Ruddock led review into religious freedoms was initiated after the marriage equality survey last year to appease coalition conservatives who oppose marriage equality. Those conservatives, including Morrison, want to create a “license to discriminate” against LGBTI people with new laws protecting religious freedom. Ruddock’s review was completed in May, however the government is yet to make the findings public.