Speech to Council August 15

Thanks very much, Madam Deputy Chair. I rise to speak on three items tonight. First, the very significant birthday that’s occurred of a resident in my ward; secondly, the successful tenderer for the Shorncliffe Pier kiosk, Sandbag, and also the same sex marriage postal survey. I’ll start with the significant birthday in Deagon Ward, Lily May Bowley, who turned 105 just recently. I had the pleasure of attending her birthday party at All About Living. 105 at All About Living. One of our fantastic community based organisations that support people, older people and disabled people to continue living in their own home.

Lily still lives in her own home and she’s fiercely independent and she only gets support a couple of days a week and she is certainly an inspiration to everyone that was there on the day celebrating that milestone with her. She did offer me some advice and she said that I must always enjoy life, because you’ll get old. Very sound advice and Lily has certainly seen an awful lot over her time, not only in the local community on the northside of Brisbane, but in a lot of other places as well in her 105 years.

So I would just like to place on record my congratulations on her reaching this milestone and a very happy birthday again. I would like to congratulate also Sandbag on being the successful tenderer out of two tenders for the Shorncliffe Pier kiosk. The process getting from the announcement to now having a successful tender has not been without its issues. I’ve been on the public record about those, but now that we’ve reached this conclusion and I do want to congratulate Sandbag, who do fantastic work in our local community and will run this as a social enterprise. They have received funding in every round for the Skilling Queenslanders for Work program from the State Government and one of their programs is in Certificate in Hospitality, so their social enterprise at the kiosk will not only support the work that Sandbag do in the local community, but also support those long term unemployed people going through their certificate qualifications in hospitality as well, so it’s a great outcome on a number of fronts. I did write to Councillor McLACHLAN certainly advocating for an open tender process and for a social enterprise like SANDBAG, and very glad to see that Councillor McLACHLAN has taken my advice onboard and look forward to working with SANDBAG and Council in seeing this be a great success down there.

Now finally moving on to the issue of the rights of our LGBTI community here in Brisbane, and we’ve seen, Madam Deputy Chair, over the last week or so the Federal Government make the decision to instruct the Australia Bureau of Statistics to conduct a voluntary postal survey on the issue of same-sex marriage.

I’m not going to get into the shortfalls of that decision because it seems like that now is the way forward for this issue to finally be acted upon. I want to place on record my support for the LGBTI community here in Brisbane. As Councillors in this place we are leaders in our communities and we are leaders more broadly in Brisbane, and I think that it’s important that we do show leadership on this issue. This issue we did show leadership in May last year when a majority of Councillors in this place voted on a motion to support legalising same-sex marriage.

On this issue I’m proud that Labor Councillors, the Independent Councillors and Green Councillors stood with the LORD MAYOR calling on the Federal Government to get on and do its job to legislate for marriage equality without using delay tactics.

Now I know this is the least best option, the postal survey, for Australians to have marriage equality. It’s an expensive exercise and it’s no doubt frustrating to the millions of Australians who support marriage equality. The postal survey will no doubt make our LGBTI friends and family members angry in that their marriage rights are subject to a popularity poll, but my message to LGBTI people in Brisbane is that I support you. I stand with you shoulder to shoulder in this march towards marriage equality. You are Australians, you are equal to me in every sense and I will be advocating for a yes vote in my community.

It’s a very simple proposition to me. The laws of this land should not discriminate based on sexual orientation. LGBTI people do not have to change. It is our laws that must change.

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