FROM THE ANNUAL REPORT AS PRESENTED AT THE AGM, 16 OCT 2006:
Female Co-Convenor's Report
The last year has been a busy one. I am pleased to report that despite the late nights and endless urgent, panicky phone calls re a lobby 'crisis', I am still passionate about social justice and law reform for LGBTIQ Victorians – and why wouldn't I be? I have had the opportunity to work with a fantastic team of committed, concerned individuals, and have shared and gained skills a-plenty from the lobby! And so, I would like to take this opportunity to share a few highlights over the last year.
My first public speak on behalf of the lobby was a rally for International Human Rights Day on 10 December 2005 - I remember sharing the stage with activists from different groups– greenies, socialists, indigenous speakers, union representatives – and the similar struggle that we share is what has inspired and carried me this year. Especially when dealing with politicians, government workers, and even people within our community. (A forum in which I was called a 'liberal fascist conservative' springs to mind, the reason being I was putting forward the VGLRL stance on relationship recognition and it was deemed to be heterosexist and conservative from members within our community). However, for me, criticism from within our community has reaffirmed the diversity of the LGBTIQ community itself, and how we can not speak for all of the community but only for those who join us, support us and elect us to represent them in our dealings with all levels of government for law reform and social change.
In terms of 'goals' or what I might be smiling about: a project this year was to see the Over the Rainbow publication updated and ready for distribution. I can report that it is in its final stages and hopefully once that is done, we can update the web version of Over the Rainbow - a comprehensive range of information about the laws that effects LGBTIQ Victorians in just one click!
Working with the Victorian Gay and Lesbian Liaison Officers (GLLOs) this year has been challenging - coming from a community legal background and a (healthy) distrust of the police has meant I had to work through my fears/dislike and I can say with confidence that it is cops like Scott who have made me re-think some of my former views! I do now believe that community policing can benefit our community, although I still find red tape incredibly frustrating!
Giving evidence with Gerard at the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission Same Sex-Same Entitlements Inquiry was yet another chance for me to use the skills I use in my 'day job' and one of the perks of my involvement in the VGLRL for me! Gerard has covered the inquiry in his report so I wont repeat self here.
I have enjoyed the camaraderie and relationships that develop from the lobby. The respect and admiration that I have for the management committee members, from working groups, and every single member that contributes whether just by joining or by getting involved as a volunteer– remains just as strong today a year after being female co- convenor. I do not believe for a second that the VGLRL would have been as strong as it is now if it wasn't for every volunteers efforts, so I end my report with a thank you to every single one of you.
Female Co-convenor 2006
Male Co-convenor's Report
It has been a privilege to be gay coconvenor of the lobby in 2006. From the committee of management, to our extensive network of volunteers, to our many supporters in the GLBTIQ and broader communities, we have worked hard and worked smart to defend and extend our rights.
Early in the year, the committee engaged in a strategic planning process to examine our mission, vision and values; and our organisational structures. The constitutional changes that you will consider tonight flow from that process.
On the policy front, we have gone from strength to strength. Our Policy Working Group has developed carefully considered policies in our major state and national areas of interest, to complement policies already existing in areas such as access to assisted reproductive technology. These policies – and in particular our policy on same-sex relationship recognition - have had a substantial impact on public debate and decision-making in Victoria.
Yet policy development is but one part of our work. During the year, we have consolidated and built our database of 1500 individual and organisational contacts, which enables us to quickly get our message out to a wide audience. This year, our Communications Working Group supplemented our regular e-mail bulletin with the printed Outcomes newsletter, which we plan to make a regular event. During the year, we increased our membership and put in place systems to welcome, induct and monitor new volunteers. Our Events Working Group also facilitated and supported several important public events, such as the Midsumma Festival, the Jimmy Somerville concert and a relationship recognition debate at the Melbourne Queer Film Festival.
The effectiveness of our campaigning relies heavily on people who write letters to newspapers, call up talkback radio, visit and write to their members of Parliament and indeed talk about our human rights to family, friends and workmates. I am particularly proud that this year we have increased our capability to track and support these essential people.
Just how effectively these three levels of activity came together was shown by the campaign we mounted around the ACT Civil Union Act. Although the Governor General struck down the Act – denying Territorian couples an alternative to marriage - there is no doubt that in Victoria we comprehensively won the battle for public opinion, exposed out extremist opponents as bereft of ideas, significantly increased the lobby's profile and sent a clear message to the Victorian State Government that there is considerable political support for civil unions. They also came together when our Equal Love Working Group organised the hugely successful National Day of Action, building participation threefold over 2005. These are great examples of community campaigning at its best.
Although we have not yet been able to convince the State Government to recognise our relationships with registration and celebration, we have done a great deal of work behind the scenes and are confident it will bear fruit in due course.
My heartfelt thanks to the committee, to all our volunteers and to our supporters in the GLBTIQ and broader communities. Our community has an impressive percentage of intelligent and committed people who give enormously of themselves to support our many community groups. To those who have chosen to do so with the Victorian Gay & Lesbian Rights Lobby I say again, thank you. It is an honour and a privilege to work with you.
Gay Male Co-convenor
COMMITTEE FROM 2005 AGM:
Female Co-convenor: Aly M
Male Co-convenor: Ron Thiele
Secretary: Graeme Moffatt
Treasurer: Lee Matthews
COMMITTEE MEMBERS CO-OPTED DURING THE 05-06 YEAR
WORKING GROUPS DURING THE 05-06 YEAR
Administration: Liz Chase, Graeme Moffatt, Ron Thiele, Ai Kusuma, Andrea Cally, Helenka King, Penelope Hone.
Alliances: Aron Paul
Communications: Aly M (Chair),...
Equal Love: David Johnston-Bell (Chair), Jonathan Wilkinson, John Kloprogge, Alison Thorne, Craig Hall, Stephen Kress, Claudia Priori, Mark, Sarrazin, Tony Langdon
Events: Lee Matthews (Chair), Alison Kenwood, Penny Byrne, Pete Dillon.
Love Makes A Family: Felicity Martin (Chair)...
Policy: Gerard Brody (Chair), Alastair Lawrie, Jamie Gardiner,...
Website: Alistair Popple, David Johnston-Bell
Women's Involvement: Barbary Clarke, ...
COMMITTEE FROM 2006 AGM:
OFFICER POSITIONS FROM 2006 AGM:
Female Co-convenor: Aly M
Male Co-convenor: Gerard Brody
Co-secretaries: Georgie Ferrari & Amanda Watkinson
Treasurer Lee Matthews
Find a full copy of the 2005-06 Annual Report by clicking here 2006 Annual Report