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Out For: The new campaign group getting gay candidates elected into public office
Mar22

Out For: The new campaign group getting gay candidates elected into public office

CREATED ON // Sunday, 22 March 2015

Ahead of the NSW state election, a new political action group has launched whose sole purpose is to get LGBTI candidates elected into public office. Reg Domingo reports.

As NSW prepares to head to the polls, a new campaign group has launched to support LGBTI candidates get elected or re-elected into public office. Introducing OUT FOR.
OUT FOR is a third party political action group which aim is to build support for openly-gay candidates – people that will champion causes and issues that affect the LGBTI community.

Founded by Andrew Wolfson and Paul Friend, the organisation is modelled on the Victory Fund in the US, which works to increase the number of openly LGBT officials in US politics.

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Above: Founders of OUT FOR Andrew Wolfson and Paul Friend and, top image, with MPs Alex Greenwich, Penny Sharpe and Bruce Notley-Smith. Photos: Reg Domingo

In a similar vein, OUT FOR will actively campaign and raise funds for candidates that support the goals and aims of equal rights for the LGBTI community, no matter their political hue.

In the lead up to the 2015 NSW state election, OUT FOR is backing Independent MP Alex Greenwich, Labor candidate for Newtown Penny Sharpe and Liberal Member for Coogee Bruce Notley-Smith.

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Above: OUT FOR benefactors Penny Sharpe (Labor), Bruce Notley-Smith (Liberal) and Alex Greenwich (Independent) at OUT FOR's inaugural fundraiser. Photo: Reg Domingo

“OUT FOR was created out of a need for the LGBTI community to have a stronger political voice in Australian politics,” the pair said.

“We know the only way to change the equality conversation is through electing candidates who will advance LGBTI issues and policies.

“The mission for OUT FOR is to do exactly that, raise money for candidates that promote equality and elect more LGBTI people into public office.

Greenwich said the cross-party support of Out For will help advance the fight for equality.

“We need more LGBTI MPs throughout Parliaments, state and federal,” Greenwich said.

“NSW has proven what can be achieved when gay and lesbian MPs work together across political lines to progress important reforms including marriage equality and anti-discrimination.”

Notley-Smith said the work of OUT FOR highlights the importance of supporting candidates that puts LGBTI rights above party lines.

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Above: OUT FOR benefactors Penny Sharpe (Labor), Bruce Notley-Smith (Liberal) and Alex Greenwich (Independent) at OUT FOR's inaugural fundraiser. Photo: Reg Domingo

“Paul and Andrew are to be congratulated for initiating OUT FOR,” Notley-Smith said.

“It’s so important that our community gets behind the LGBTI candidates who have demonstrated that they are willing to fight for the issues that are important to us.

“It doesn’t matter what the candidate’s political stripes are; if they are effective in bringing about legislative change to our benefit, and are able to work across party lines to achieve this, then they should be supported.”

National Director of Australian Marriage Equality Rodney Croome underscored the importance of having visible, openly gay role models in politics.

“As a closeted gay teenager in Tasmania in the 1980s it was literally lifesaving for me to have Australia's first openly gay parliamentarian, Bob Brown, as a role model,” Croome said.

“He showed me that I could be gay and make a positive contribution to public life.

“This is why I support OUT FOR. By supporting today's LGBTI leaders it is helping to inspire the LGBTI leaders of tomorrow.”

Wolfson urged the community to get behind OUT FOR and the candidates they are supporting, saying that by “encouraging the LGBTI community, and their friends and families, to become a part of the OUT FOR movement we can contribute to a better, more equal and inclusive Australia.”

For more information on OUT FOR and the candidates they are supporting, visit their website and their contribution platform at www.outfor.com.au.

GALLERY: Check out photos from OUT FOR's inaugural fundraiser for Alex Greenwich, Bruce Notley-Smith and Penny Sharpe at the Beresford Hotel. Photos by Reg Domingo

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