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New committee to continue the fight for gay and lesbian rights - 27 August 2002

The Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby elects the 2002-2003 committee

The Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby (GLRL) has announced the election of its Committee for 2002 – 2003, including two new Convenors, at the Annual General Meeting held last Thursday at Gilligans Bar, Darlinghurst.

New Committee Convenors Somali Ghosh and Andrew Pickles take over from retiring Convenors Alex Sosnov and Anthony Schembri. Outgoing Convenor, Anthony Schembri said: “Both Alex and I are sad to be leaving the Lobby, but personal and work commitments have resulted in us not being able to continue to give 100 percent. We are confident that Somali and Andrew will build on the excellent results achieved this year, and ensure that gay and lesbian rights issues are at the forefront of next year’s state elections.”

Other outgoing committee members include Treasurer Jenny Mann and long-term contributor to the GLRL, Kathy Sant. According to Ms Mann the GLRL is in a sound financial position with sufficient cash reserves to fund the organisation for the year ahead. “The Lobby has been operating with very conservative spending practices for a number of years which has resulted in a sound financial position for the next year, even though funding and sponsorship opportunities have become more difficult.”
Incoming treasurer Luke Gahan who has been an active member of the committee for several years, said: "Like all queer community organisations at the moment, the Rights Lobby needs to be careful not to spend beyond our means. We must however not let this detract from our main objective which is to further the rights for Lesbian and Gays. Irrespective of our financial position, we will still be here fighting, and winning, as we have for twenty two years."

The newly elected Convenors Somali Gosh and Andrew Pickles, who have backgrounds in social work and the law respectively, have both worked with the GLRL for a number of years in both volunteer and committee positions.

The new committee includes: Somali Ghosh (Female Convenor), Andrew Pickles (Male Convenor), Suzy Tay (Secretary), Luke Gahan (Treasurer), Robert McGrory, Nikki Maloney, Amanda Millar, Grant Colquhoun, Luca Balboni, David Scamell, Jenni Millbank, Matthew Baird, Anthony Powell and Shane Garland.

The Annual General Meeting included the inaugural awards to recognise the efforts of supports and volunteers of the GLRL. The awards included:

  • Supporters Award, recognising the contributions of community organisations and individuals, won by First Fleet Productions and JoJo Fernandez;
  • Volunteers Award, recognising the efforts of GLRL volunteers, won by Alan Kirkland and Michael Flynn;
  • Hall of Fame Award, recognising exceptional service to the GLRL over a number of years, won by Stevie Clayton and Craig Johnston.

Outgoing Co-convenor Alex Sosnov said: “First Fleet Productions and JoJo Fernandez, joint winners of the Supporters Award, have been one of the Lobby’s most regular financial supporters over many years and we are grateful for all their support. JoJo through his exceptional productions talents voluntarily took on production of our "Rhythms of the Night" fundraiser during Pride Week which was a huge success.”

The GLRL’s achievements for the year include:

  • Dr Kerryn Phelps’ launch of the ‘Meet the Parents’ parenting report, researched and written by Jenni Millbank;
  • Securing a grant from the Law and Justice Foundation of New South Wales to conduct the next phase of the parenting campaigning;
  • Campaigning for federal reform including a high profile superannuation campaign which secured commitments from the Leader of the Opposition and the Shadow Attorney General for inclusion of same sex reform in super as well as gay and lesbian inclusion in federal anti discrimination legislation;
  • Ongoing lobbying regarding the age of consent issues including the development and implementation of the NSW “The Last State” number plate campaign which has seen an estimated 500 ‘number plates’ sent to the Premier;
  • GLRL’s involvement in the boundaries commission issues relating to South Sydney and Sydney City Councils;
  • Speaking engagements at SGLBA dinner, the Queer Revival Festival at the University of New South Wales and guest lectures at Sydney University and the University of New South Wales; involvement in the South Australian Rights Lobby’s Hypothetical event.

According to Incoming Convenor Andrew Pickles, the Lobby’s focus for 2002-2003 will be squarely on the State Election in 2003. “We will be working hard to ensure that gay and lesbian issues such as the age of consent and inequalities in superannuation are at the forefront of the election campaigns,” he said.

Supporting Andrew’s comments Convenor Somali Ghosh said: “It is important for Gay and Lesbian members of the community to understand that the fight for our rights are far from over, and while we will be working hard leading up to the State election, it is only one aspect of the long campaign ahead.”

The GLRL will be holding a fundraising event, at the Midnight Shift Bar on Oxford Street, Darlinghurst on November 30, 2002. Again JoJo Fernandez has offered his production talents to the lobby for this event. Further details will be available in mid October.