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Andrew Bartlett: A weekend of campaigning

It’s been a fair while since it was announced that I was contesting the House of Reps seat of Brisbane for the Greens at the upcoming federal election. Since then, I’ve spent a fair bit of time preparing the foundations for that campaign, as well as working within the party on our overall campaign in Queensland.
Andrew Bartlett: A weekend of campaigning

Andrew Bartlett (right) with supporters at the Equal Love Rally May 5 2010

Whilst I’d love nothing more than winning the seat of Brisbane, my first goal in deciding to run again has been to try to do all I can to ensure that Queensland once again has a voice in the Senate outside of the major parties – something that has been lacking since I failed to retain my Senate seat at the 2007 election. The more votes I can get in the seat of Brisbane, the more Senate votes will also go to the Greens, which will all increase the chances of Queensland regaining a direct voice in balance of power issues in the Senate.

Having spent a fair bit of time on administrative aspects of the campaign, it was good to be part of some direct campaigning activities over the weekend.  Bob Brown was in Brisbane and we had a fundraising event on Friday night. Having spent a fair bit (although not all) of my political life in a position of at least partial competition with the Greens, it is still a bit of novelty to be part of events promoting the party – but having said that, there has always been an enormous amount of policy overlap, as well as a range of times when there has been cooperation rather than competition.  One of the speakers at the Friday night event was Russel Norman, the co-leader of the Aotearoa/New Zealand Greens. Apart from giving us all a reminder of how much positive impact can be gained in balance of power situations, I was also interest to discover he was actually born in Brisbane, and didn’t move to New Zealand until his adult years.

After having a follow event on Saturday morning at the Rotunda in New Farm Park – probably the most popular park space in my electorate – I then went on to speak at the Equal Love Rally in the City that afternoon.  It is hard to think of two better values than love and equality, and it was great to be able to again speak in support of the importance of enabling all people, regardless of sexual orientation, to have the same right to marry the person they love.

I will never forget witnessing back in August 2004 the disgraceful Howard-era anti-family legislation – sadly supported by the Latham Labor opposition of the time – which not only degraded the ideal of marriage, but also  sent a direct signal to many Australians that the love they have for the person they want to share their life with is (at least in the eyes of the Labor & Liberal parties) of less worth or value, just because the person they love happens to be of the same gender. It is very sad that the current Pope, at the very time that more and more evidence comes forth of widespread sexual assault being perpetrated and covered up by officials of his church, is still attacking loving relationships amongst gays and lesbians as a "threat to society".  This is the same church that has the gall to describe homosexuality as "objectively disordered", whilst saying such people should be treated with "respect"!

Of course, as we’ve just seen (yet again) with some religious fundamentalists in the USA, such double standards and destructive deceit are not unique to the Catholic church.  I suppose it is up to people who subscribe to religions which hold such views to deal with such perversions of logic, but it is still unacceptable that such views should be inflicted on our society and – at least when it comes to the definition of marriage – our laws.

This article originally appeared on Andrew Bartlett's blog. Andrew Bartlett is the Australian Greens candidate for Brisbane in the 2010 Federal Election.

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