Greenwich delivers first speech in Parliament
After being officially sworn in the day before as the state’s newest member of Parliament, Independent Sydney MP Alex Greenwich was warmly welcomed by his new colleagues and a packed public gallery early on Wednesday evening after delivering his maiden speech inside the bearpit.
Though Premier Barry O’Farrell saw it fit not to attend the historic occasion – perhaps still rueing the end result of the so-called ‘Get Clover’ laws that removed Greenwich’s “political hero” Clover Moore from the seat – a number of Coalition, Labor and Greens members were on hand to witness Greenwich’s speech, including Liberal MP Bruce Notley-Smith who delivered the new MP a surprise kiss on the cheek in congratulations.
Present in the public gallery were also the likes of Moore, federal Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young, Professor Kerryn Phelps, Mardi Gras chair Peter Urmson and GetUp National director Sam McLean.
Highlighting his agenda for the coming months of his first term, the former national convener of Australian Marriage Equality told Parliament he will strive to bring a collaborative approach to policy, with marriage equality, LGBTI rights and public education and housing high on his list of priorities.
“As an Independent I am committed to work with all members to achieve outcomes for my community, regardless of party or faction,” Greenwich said.
“I want to continue Clover’s loud and determined voice for keeping inner city public housing and expanding affordable housing, championing environmental sustainability, and advocating for better transport alternatives.
“As a proud gay man and representative of one of the gayest electorates in the country, I will continue to champion much needed LGBTI legislative reform. I have already mentioned marriage equality,” Greenwich told Parliament.
“Additionally, this house has the opportunity and duty to strengthen anti-discrimination laws so, for example, teachers can no longer be fired and students can no longer be expelled, for being gay. We must also put an end to the ‘gay panic’ defence.
“It is my intention to serve the people of Sydney, for as long as they will have me, and in that regard I must thank my husband Victor.
“We married in May of this year, and our honeymoon consisted of an intense campaign towards the federal vote on marriage equality, a local government election for the City of Sydney Council, and the recent Sydney by-election. Thank you for your patience, support, and love.”
Greenwich takes his seat in the Legislative Assembly as the first sitting MP to be in a same-sex marriage.
Photo: Serkan Ozturk