Thousands march for civil unions, condemn health cuts

Thousands rallied in Brisbane's King George Square on May 30. Photo: Jim McIlroy.

Several thousand people rallied in King George Square on May 30 to defend same-sex civil unions and oppose cuts to the Queensland Healthy Communities program. The protesters marched through city streets to state parliament for a further rally. The emergency rally was called by Equal Love Brisbane under the theme, “Defend Civil Unions! Save Healthy Communities.”

Publicity for the action said: “The Liberal National Party government is moving closer to repealing recently won civil unions. Last week, Queensland's only dedicated lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, intersex health service, Healthy Communities, was defunded. Now is the time to act. Now is the time to take a stand.”

Health minister Lawrence Springborg and Premier Campbell Newman refused to meet with protesters outside parliament. Labor Opposition leader Annastacia Palaszczuk and South Brisbane MP Jackie Trad both attended the rally outside the parliament building.

The audience was addressed by John Ebert and John Stafford, partners for 42 years, who applied for a civil union in February, the May 31 Brisbane Times reported. "[The rally] is to do with equal rights for all citizens of Queensland. We were given some rights and now Campbell Newman is trying to make us second-class citizens again," Ebert said.

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