Lesbian campaigner Christine Forster could take former Prime Minister’s seat in Australian Parliament
Out politician Christine Forster has confirmed she is seeking the outgoing Prime Minister’s seat in the Australian Parliament.
The country’s outgoing Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is expected to resign from Parliament on Friday, after he was deposed by his own colleagues as leader of the Liberal Party and Prime Minister.
The moderate conservative was swiftly replaced as PM by right-winger Scott Morrison last week – but the impending by-election to replace Turnbull in Parliament is crucial for the government, which holds a tiny one-seat majority in the chamber.
The race for the seat in Wentworth, Sydney, is being closely watched – and a prominent gay local politician has thrown her hat into the ring.
Christine Forster, a Liberal councillor in the City of Sydney, has indicated that she will seek the party’s preselection for the seat.
The self-described “small ‘l’ liberal and a big ‘L’ Lesbian” is best known for her strong advocacy in favour of equal marriage, which frequently brought her into conflict with her brother Tony Abbott, a prominent Liberal politician who is also a former Prime Minister.
Abbott was the de facto leader of the anti-gay marriage campaign in the country, leading to a surreal family feud that saw his own daughter publicly record a video supporting her aunt’s right to marry, even as Abbott sought to block equality and prevent it from happening.
Forster was finally able to marry her wife in February this year, after the public backed the law in a plebiscite (public vote) on the issue.
Abbott attended the ceremony, and the pair appear to have somewhat reconciled.
Confirming her plans to seek the seat, Forster told AAP: “I think as someone with local credentials and a strong track record of strong liberalism, I feel they are the types of candidates we want in any seat.
“I’ve been strong in espousing and representing Liberal values in the city of Sydney.”
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A second LGBT+ activist, Andrew Bragg, is also seeking the seat according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
Bragg, who led the Liberals and Nationals for Yes campaign during the equal marriage plebiscite, resigned from the Business Council of Australia to nominate for the seat.
He confirmed “I have resigned from the BCA to contest Liberal Party preselection in Wentworth. I thank Jennifer Westacott, the staff & members for the opportunity. Under the Party’s rules, I am unable to make further comment on the preselection.”
The seat should be an easy hold for the Liberals, but the party’s support has plummeted following weeks of internal chaos and in-fighting, leaving a potential opening for an independent or Labor candidate in the by-election.