Thursday, 27 October 2011

Melbourne Cup Weekend - Launch at Hares and Hyenas - this Sunday

We're finishing off our run of 'October launches' with the Melbourne launch of Speak Now this Sunday.

Come along at 2pm, Sunday 30 October to Hares and Hyenas Bookshop and Cafe (63 Johnston St, Fitzroy 3065 Victoria). Prof. Dennis Altman, one of our contributors, and Victor Marsh the editor will be introducing the book.

The event is free and all are welcome.

Title details and information - Clouds of Magellan

Brisbane launch

Shelley Argent (Shelley Argent OAM National Spokesperson PFLAG) and Victor Marsh (editor) at the recent Avid Reader Bookshop (Brisbane) launch.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Shelley Argent speaks now

The issue of same sex marriage is an issue very close to my heart. As I constantly tell the MP’s and Senators I meet in Canberra 'I have 2 sons, one gay, one straight and I want equality for both my sons'.

Marriage equality is an issue that urgently needs to be addressed in Australia. Conservative, Catholic countries are legislating for equality which encourages inclusion but the Australian Government is very slow to act because, as I am constantly told by the MPs, 'we are different'.

The continued discrimination in this country against the gay community is similar to the belief that the White Australia Policy was a good thing, but of course we now know this isn’t true. Racist fears were found to be groundless once this discriminatory policy was removed. And the same thing will apply when equality comes for the LGBTI community.

What gives me hope is today the young people are more informed, with higher expectations, and won’t accept second best. As a parent I believe this is an issue where parents should be standing in front of their children saying 'We want equality for all our children, not just some'.

This book SPEAK NOW contains a variety of stories, all compelling and confirming to me that it’s time for change, regardless of whether couples personally want to marry. Most definitely, they should have the same choices and rights as their siblings and society in general.

Marriage is an institution that isn’t perfect, or a Utopia, but it is how society generally values and celebrates a couple’s relationship.

Shelley Argent OAM
National Spokesperson PFLAG
Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays
Qld. Senior Australian of the Year 2011

Shelley Argent and Victor Marsh launched 'Speak now : Australian perspectives on sane-sex marriage' at Avid Reader, 18 October.

Monday, 3 October 2011

Rodney Croome speaks now!

Most Australians know that last week the Tasmanian Lower House passed a motion in support of marriage equality.

The motion sent an important message to the Labor Party National Conference and to the Federal Parliament.

The message was made stronger because MPs from religious and blue collar backgrounds supported the motion so ardently, and because opposition from the Liberal Party was muted (we heard none of the Liberals’ past claims about marriage equality being “socially destructive”, showing how much the issue has lost its edge as a political wedge).

All these positive messages will be amplified on October 11th when Senator Sarah Hanson-Young calls attention to the Tasmanian motion in the Senate.

Coverage of the decision highlighted the irony of Tasmania being the first state to pass a marriage equality motion when it was the last state to decriminalise homosexuality. But as I’ve argued, Tassie is leading because of its history, not despite it.

What many Australians will not appreciate is the impact the marriage equality motion has had locally.
There was a strong media focus on marriage equality in the lead up to the motion, thanks to David Foster’s support for the issue, as well as the release of an opinion poll and a survey of the economic impact of reform.

The motion itself put Tassie in the national and global spotlight.
In turn, this has sparked an intense community debate in Tasmania with floods of talk back callers and letters to the editor. Local newspapers have published a wide variety of opinion pieces on the issue and have highlighted the views of their local MPs.
The motion has also prompted a wave of requests from community organisations seeking speakers on the issue. For example, tomorrow I will be in Launceston to speak on marriage equality and other reform issues at a Tasmanian community sector conference.
I’m heartened to see that other states are considering motions similar to Tassie’s. The more states pass them the stronger the message to Capitol Hill will be.

But even more important in the long term is the constructive local debate these motions foster. By removing marriage equality from the distant world of national politics and giving it a local angle, motions in state parliament make the issue more relevant to a wider range of people than ever before.

Rodney Croome