Written by: Serkan Ozturk
Courtesy of: SX Magazine
Having been written off as simply making up the numbers in the by-election for Sydney, Greens candidate Chris Harris has proved himself to be a real contender for the seat with the former City of Sydney councillor this week calling on members of the LGBTI community to continue showing support for his party and its proud record on fighting for equal rights.
A small business owner with degrees in Commerce and Law from the University of NSW, the former Deputy Lord Mayor and eight-year Council veteran told SX that his record as an activist and councillor spoke for itself.
“From transport to climate change, workers rights to improved community participation, I’ve been kicking goals for Sydney residents for eight years.
“I not only learned what issues matter to our local community, I also delivered results,” he said.
“On Sydney City Council I initiated a study into affordable housing in the city, introduced car share, initiated the bicycle steering committee, delivered a crêche for City of Sydney employees and introduced Acknowledgement of Country to council meetings.”
A long-time supporter of marriage equality and increased rights for LGBTI people, including the abolishment of the ‘gay panic’ defence, Harris said The Greens were the only major party anywhere in Australia that had consistently been advocating against all forms of discrimination.
He pointed to a successful pro bono defence of a transgender woman who had been refused a passport in her preferred gender by lawyer and current Greens MLC David Shoebridge as one of the many examples where party members stood up for their principles.
“We have been advancing these values, at all levels of government, for over two decades and had the first openly gay Member of Parliament in Bob Brown,” Harris said.
“I have been a consistent and strong supporter of the LGBTI community as a councillor. One of my first acts as a councillor was to co-sponsor a notice of motion to reinstate the position of an LGBTI Liaison Officer on the City of Sydney council.
“As the Member for Sydney I would become yet another Greens advocate for the LGBTI community in the NSW legislature.”
Buoyed by a recent poll showing he is only five or six percentage points behind both the leading candidates for the seat – independent Alex Greenwich and the Liberals’ Shayne Mallard – Harris promised he will continue to campaign strongly for better public housing and planning laws which will give local communities more of a say in development matters.
“As a Greens member I will bring a fresh vision for Sydney,” he said.
Photo: Greens candidate Chris Harris, right, doorknocking local voters. Original source: http://gaynewsnetwork.com.au/news/news-2/9064-greens-chris-harris-states-case-for-sydney.html. Republished with permission from the author.