LGBTI groups praise O’Farrell’s LGBTI policies, reforms
The resignation of NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell has been met with shock and sadness from local LGBTI community organisations, who praised the outgoing Liberal leader’s record on LGBTI reform and policy.
ACON CEO Nic Parkhill said the O’Farrell Government helped usher a renewed push to tackle HIV transmission in New South Wales.
“The O’Farrell Government has been supportive of a range of law reforms and policy initiatives that have produced important health and human rights outcomes for LGBTI people and people affected by HIV,” Parkhill said.
“Under the O’Farrell Government, as particularly demonstrated through the leadership of Health Minister Jillian Skinner, we have seen the implementation of the most innovative HIV strategy in the country aimed at ending HIV transmission by 2020.”
Jed Horner from the NSW Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby (NSWGLRL) praised O’Farrell’s support on several key legislative issues.
"Premier O’Farrell has been a strong moderate voice, who has been supportive of law reform measures that will lead to legislative equality,” Horner told SX.
“These include the impending amendments to the Crimes Act to remove the homosexual advance defence, giving the green light to a private members Bill seeking to expunge historical convictions for consensual intercourse, as well as his statements in support of marriage equality.”
Fellow Liberal and out gay MP Bruce Notley-Smith said O’Farrell often offered him guidance and encouragement on LGBTI issues Notley-Smith was advocating for.
“I am hopeful that the next premier of NSW will follow his approach of being open and available to listen to and address LGBTI concerns.”
On social media, however, the response from the LGBTI community to O’Farrell’s resignation has been less than favourable.
Many cited the NSW Government’s role in the removal of the rainbow crossing last year while others criticised O’Farrell for introducing legislation preventing politicians to hold to government offices, which forced Lord Mayor Clover Moore to give up her seat of Sydney.
But it is the lockout laws that has raised the ire community, with many blaming the controversial restrictions for having a negative impact on Sydney gay nightlife culture.
O’Farrell shock resignation last week came after evidence surfaced which contradicted testimony he gave to a corruption inquiry.
O’Farrell is expected to remain in office until he parliamentary Liberal meeting this week, when the process for electing a new leader gets underway.
“It is our hope that the Coalition will appoint someone who can continue to serve to entire community, including LGBTI people, who is socially progressive – that’s our hope as a lobby group for the sake of the community,” said the GLRL’s Horner.