FROM THE ANNUAL REPORT AS PRESENTED AT THE AGM, 18 OCT 2007:
The 2006–07 year has been an exciting one for us. After endless meetings with politicians, fielding questions such as 'You aren't advocating for polygamy, are you?' and 'Why isn't there a de facto support group if there is a homosexual support group?', we finally felt the tide turn. This occurred with the growth of the 'gayby' boom, the Victorian State Government's commitment to launching a relationships register and the slowly developing but increasingly prominent media visibility of all things queer.
It has been an incredible year. Most importantly, we have seen the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission's (HREOC) inquiry into the financial and work-related entitlements people in same-sex relationships being tabled in federal parliament. Unlikely supporters from major parties have come out in favour of removing the discrimination experienced by same-sex couples under federal laws.
Furthermore, many polls taken over in 2006–07 have demonstrated that public opinion is shifting from being dismissive of gays to supporting their quest to achieve the same rights as heterosexuals. By comparison, polls taken in the past indicated that the public had an overwhelmingly negative attitude towards equal rights for GLBTI people. The recent positive opinion polls not only amount to a mini-social revolution, but also clearly show that the community at large supports equality for the queer community.
Also, the public release of the long-awaited Victorian Law Reform Commission's inquiry into ART and adoption meant that 'rainbow' families were discussed in the media, and therefore kept firmly in the public eye. Public debate showed that there was widespread support for rainbow families — and the children that are born within them. All of these demonstrate the positive changes occurring within the LGBTI world and the wider community.
We have also had our share of lows. We still encounter bigots and people who do not want GLBTI people to have equal rights. We see this in anonymous forums online and in graffiti on walls, but mostly, we see it in the messages communicated by the Federal Government, which refused to respond to the HRECOC report. Yet we haven't, and won't, give up on pushing our agenda.
As co-convenors, and with the support of the committee, we constantly have to put ourselves out there. We must do this to challenge the status quo. We do it because we support equality and freedom from discrimination for GLBTI people, and because we strongly believe that a vote for LGBTI rights is a vote for basic human rights.
We thank you for entrusting us with the responsibility of representing the VGLRL in 2006–07, and we wish the incoming co-convenors and committee all the best.
Aly M and Gerard Brody
Co-convenors to 2007 AGM
COMMITTEE FROM 2006 AGM:
Graeme Moffatt (up to Nov 06)
Liz Chase (up to Nov 06)
Ron Thiele (up to Nov 06)
OFFICER POSITIONS TO 2007 AGM:
Female Co-convenor: Aly M
Male Co-convenor: Gerard Brody
Co-secretary: Georgie Ferrari
Co-secretary: Amanda Watkinson
Treasurer (up to March 07): Lee Matthews
Treasurer (from March 07): Brendan Parker
COMMITTEE MEMBERS CO-OPTED DURING THE 06-07 YEAR:
WORKING GROUPS DURING THE 06-07 YEAR
Alliances: Stephen Jones (Chair), Michael Glover and Joseph Crichton.
Communications: Lee Matthews, Corey Irlam, Glyn Cryer.
Equal Love: Jonathan Wilkinson (Chair), John Klopprogge, ...
Love Makes A Family: was incorporated in to the new Rainbow Families Council
Policy: Gerard Brody (Chair), Alastair Lawrie, Jamie Gardiner, Barbary Clark,
Brendan Parker, Felicity Martin, Janet Jukes, Jonathan Wilkinson, Melissa McPhail, Nicole Rich, Odette Richwol, Ruth McNair, and Simon Bryce.
Women's Involvement: Barbary Clarke, ...
COMMITTEE FROM 2007 AGM:
OFFICER POSITIONS FROM 2007 AGM:
Female Co-convenor: Demetra Giannakopoulos
Male Co-convenor: Stephen Jones
Secretary: Amanda Watkinson
Treasurer: Brendan Parker
OUTCOMES OF AGM 2007:
The Constitution was ammended so that the previous (and original) 'Statement of Purposes' of the organisation could be changed.
Since 1997 it read:
To achieve equality and social justice for lesbians and gay men.
Statement of Philosophy
consult with all community sectors;
develop common goals and policies among lesbians and gay men;
work closely with and support the Transgender community;
work closely with and support the Bisexual community;
address legal, social and economic areas of disadvantage and discrimination against gay men and lesbians;
work with other groups where appropriate;
work towards equal representation of women and men within the VGLRL.
conduct and disseminate research;
develop and implement educative strategies;
work at all levels of decision making - government, policy makers, organisations and other representative bodies;
monitor, respond to and initiate media;
raise money, employ staff and enter into other financial and legal arrangements as may be appropriate;
to do such other things as the association may consider to be necessary and desirable to achieve and advance the mission of the association.
The Statement of Philosophy now reads:
To change society to achieve equality, human rights and social justice for lesbians, gay men, queers, bisexuals and same sex attracted people in Victoria.
By society we mean every facet of our society, including not only the laws, regulations, local laws and by laws effective in any part of Victoria, and the policies and actions of every level of government affecting Victoria, but also the relationships within and between every neighbourhood and institution of society.
The vision of the Lobby is that sexual orientation is no longer the basis for discrimination in law or practice in Victoria, and that diversity of sexual orientation is valued and celebrated.
The Lobby will:
Compile the evidence: Conduct research and develop the case for specific reforms to advance the human rights of same sex attracted people in the social political economic and legal spheres.
Communicate the case: to raise awareness to politicians, media, policy makers and organisations to raise awareness of the inequality we face and its impact on our lives.
Campaign for change: on behalf of our members and the broader lesbian and gay community, campaign in support of initiatives to advance our human rights, and in opposition to initiatives to deny or restrict our human rights.
Develop and implement educative strategies: create and implement education initiatives to educate the wider community about the discrimination we face.
Work at all levels of decision making: work with federal, state and local governments, policy makers, organisations and other representative bodies to seek pragmatic and incremental change.
Build alliances: build relationships with like-minded groups to create grass-roots support for change.
Involve our community: Involve members of our community in the Lobby's campaigns, by making it easier for people to be involved.
Promote ourselves: Promote the Lobby to our communities, focussing on the inequalities we face and what the Lobby is doing to redress the imbalance.
Maintain and develop our association: Build on the work done in the past to make the VGLRL a dynamic and representative organisation.
The work of the VGLRL will be undertaken in accordance with the following values:
We acknowledge the moral and legal legitimacy of Indigenous people and communities. We will actively work with Indigenous communities beyond those already involved to advance human rights for all.
We support cultural diversity and differences, respecting that these differences, make society stronger.
We aim to achieve equal representation of women and men within the VGLRL in the areas of membership, volunteers, policy, campaigns and alliances.
We will administer ourselves efficiently and in line with good governance, and will raise and distribute money transparently and accountably.
We acknowledge that we are all volunteers giving up our time. We respect each others' decisions regarding the amount of time we are able to give and we encourage each other not to over commit ourselves.
We acknowledge that, as volunteers, we might not have all the skills required, but we encourage each other to learn new skills and we shall provide a supportive environment to encourage each of us to take on new challenges and expand our skills.
We will work consultatively, cooperatively and respectfully with transgender, bisexual and other organisations that support our mission and vision.
Where appropriate, the Lobby with seek to work collaboratively with organisations and individuals that might not share our mission and vision.
Find a full copy of the 2007 Annual Report