Lesbian senator committed to fight for gay equality

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

As the youngest woman ever elected to Western Australia’s Legislative Council she was instrumental in pushing forward some of the most progressive gay equality laws in Australia, including equalising the age of consent, allowing same-sex adoption and banning sexual orientation discrimination.

Now 35-year-old Louise Pratt has pledged to work just as hard as an advocate for LGBT rights in her new role as a federal Senator.

The Labour Senator-Elect from Western Australia will take her seat in the Canberra parliament in July.

She has spoken of her excitement at the recent elections that brought her party to power after 11 years of opposition.

“I think we can already begin to see how different the political landscape is going to be.

“With John Howard gone, we have a much less conservative Opposition leader,” she told the Sydney Star Observer.

New Prime Minister Kevin Rudd committed his party to tackling discrimination in areas such as taxation and healthcare but ruled out gay marriage.

According to a report from the Australian Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (HREOC), there are as many as 58 federal laws which cost LGB family the rights that heterosexual families take for granted.

Senator-elect Pratt said:

“We have committed to changing the laws at a national level, and Kevin Rudd is already asking his Cabinet colleagues to pursue election promises.

“The proof will be in the pudding, and I look forward to having that dialogue with the lesbian and gay community as we undertake the reform agenda.”

When she takes her seat she will be the second lesbian in the Senate, alongside South Australia Senator Penny Wong Ying Yen.

In December Ms Wong was appointed minister for water and climate change by Prime Minister Rudd.

The 39-year-old lawyer was the first Asian-born person to become a Cabinet minister as well as the first out gay person of either sex.

She was elected to the Senate in 2001.