Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Wentworth Fun Run

Local Liberals joined 65,000 others to run, walk or be pushed across the new seat of Wentworth in the City to Surf race last Sunday. I joined our local federal MP for Wentworth Malcolm Turnbull (pictured) along with Lucy and Daisy to traverse the full breadth of the electorate. Whilst the race does not take in Oxford Street, the Oxford Street issues (a generalisation I know) were in the news as well (see below). More power to Malcolm as he continues his dedicated work in the area of law reforms for gay and lesbian people.

Turnbull takes on mission for gay and lesbian rights

Phillip Coorey and Sherrill Nixon August 13, 2007

MALCOLM TURNBULL has embarked on a personal crusade to convince his cabinet colleagues to allow same-sex couples the same legal and financial rights as heterosexual married and de facto couples. With cabinet preparing to discuss proposed changes, possibly as early as today, the Herald has learnt that Mr Turnbull, the federal Minister for the Environment, has stepped up his push by individually lobbying fellow ministers for support.
The discrimination faced by same-sex couples was highlighted a month ago when the High Court judge Michael Kirby called for the law to be changed so his partner of 38 years, Johan van Vloten, could have access to a part-pension payable for life should Justice Kirby die first. This right would be automatic if Mr van Vloten were female. The Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission published a report in June finding same-sex couples were discriminated against in 58 areas of financial and work-related entitlements.
The Attorney-General, Philip Ruddock, is refusing to comment on the state of deliberations or what he will be taking to cabinet, but the Herald understands Mr Turnbull was involved in helping draft the proposals and wants to steer them through cabinet.

"It's Turnbull who's been pushing for the reforms since the [commission] report," a colleague said.

The backbenchers Warren Entsch, Greg Hunt and Peter Slipper have also lobbied intensely. Mr Turnbull's eastern suburbs seat of Wentworth has a large gay and lesbian population, but a colleague of Mr Turnbull said his motive went beyond retaining his seat. Mr Turnbull's wife, Lucy, is the chairwoman of the AIDS Trust, and the Turnbulls have often raised money for the Bobby Goldsmith Foundation. Read more here.

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