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Digital Subscriptions > DNA Magazine > #197 - Travel Special > ELECTION 2016

ELECTION 2016

Meet The Gay Candidates

This year’s Australian Federal Election has a record number of openly gay candidates contesting seats in the House of Representatives and the Senate.

Whether you’re a capital C conservative, a small L liberal, a Leftie or a Green, there’s a gay candidate in your stripes. Remarkably, in two seats (Higgins and Brisbane), there are two openly gay candidates competing against each other from opposite sides of the political spectrum.

For the LGBTI voter, the elephant in the room is marriage equality – and it looms very large and very pink!

The Liberal National Party government is committed to a plebiscite on marriage equality if it wins a second term – a policy that’s unpopular even among many of the LNP team.

Meanwhile, the Labor Party has pledged to pass marriage equality in their first 100 days in office if elected. During their last time in government they removed over 100 pieces of legislation that discriminated against gays, but didn’t go as far as marriage equality.

The Greens are wholehearted in their support for marriage equality and gay civil rights, but they can only add their numbers to whichever major party moves first towards equality.

Blue, red or green, DNA canvassed as many pink candidates in this election as possible and their stories and opinions may surprise you…

DEAN SMITH

A sitting Liberal senator from Western Australia, and the first openly gay Liberal in Federal Parliament.

DNA: Are you proud to be the first openly gay member of the Liberal Party to sit in federal parliament?

Dean Smith: It actually makes me proud of the WA Liberal Party: a conservative party in what is generally held to be a conservative state selected an openly gay man to be a senator before parties in some other states that like to promote themselves as “progressive”. Perhaps that should give some people pause for thought when they consider what the term conservative actually means.

Your leader, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, is committed to the idea of the marriage equality plebiscite; why do you oppose it? I have raised my concerns about the plebiscite chiefly as it relates to undermining the principle of parliamentary sovereignty. My concerns would be just as strong if the plebiscite were about euthanasia, or military deployment. We did not hold a plebiscite to deal with contentious issues such as RU486 or stem cell research.

You’ve threatened to cross the Senate floor to support Labor’s marriage equality bill; does this make things difficult for you in the party room? During my time in the Senate I have always stood up for what I feel to be Liberal Party principles, and for Western Australia. There is an expectation that people will come to the party room with strong views on particular issues, and that the party room is the place for those frank discussions to occur.

How does it feel to be in the same party as Cory Bernardi, who has said some outrageous and offensive things about marriage equality? In politics, and within political parties, people have a range of views on a range of subjects. If you’re going to take offence at every instance of heated rhetoric or controversy, politics probably isn’t the place for you.

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About DNA Magazine

It’s our Travel issue and we take you to France, The White Party in Palm Springs, steamy Havana and romantic Budapest. We’ve got the hottest guys from our model search finals, sexy travel accessories, and we pay tribute to Prince. We have a great in-depth feature on the murder of screen legend Ramon Novarro, and we speak with the gay politicians who are shaking up “the House” Down Under. Adam Garcia is this month’s Straight Mate, and check out the amazing photos of cover star William alone in his hotel room. Plus you get 40 extra pages not included in the print edition. Go you!