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“Departure”, by Klearchos Kapoutsis

Welcome to the very last Rainbow Report. Don’t worry, this is not going to be one of those self-indulgent, let’s look back etc etc shows: just the last helping of the sort of news and information that I hope has been interesting you for the last eight years.

There is a measure of self-indulgence tonight, however, in that all the stories deal with things I am passionate about.

I have long campaigned for better and targeted healthcare for LGBTI Australians, especially young people, which is why I became a member of the Ministerial Advisory Committee on LGBTI Health & Wellbeing, bringing such issues to the state government’s attention. Chair of the committee, Mike Kennedy, joins me to talk a bit about what the committee is doing.

I’m also passionate about safe, wealthy countries like Australia doing as much as possible to make things better for LGBTI folk who live in countries where it’s dangerous, possibly even fatal, to be gay. So I have recently taken up a post as a Director of the Kaleidoscope Human Rights Foundation, and right now we are worried about an anti-gay crackdown under way in Sri Lanka ahead of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Conference in November. Fellow Kaleidoscope director Douglas Pretsell has that story.

Fairness and equality are supposed to be part of what makes Australia Australian, but we need laws and agencies to make sure it happens in practice. One such is the Victorian Equal Opportunity & Human Rights Commission, a body so well respected by the state government that it has been allowed to languish without a properly appointed Commissioner since Helen Szoke resigned in August 2011.

The entire board resigned in June 2012 after state Attorney General Robert Clarke vetoed their recommended replacement candidate. Kate Jenkins has now been appointed to the role: she joins us tonight.

And last but by no means least, despite being the most unsporty person on the planet, I understand how important it is to have our own teams and tournaments: this weekend it’s gay soccer, as teams slug it out here in Melbourne this weekend for a stash of silverware, including the Julie Murray Cup.

Julie Murray is undoubtedly the best known and most successful womens’ soccer player in Australia, if not the world. She captained the Matildas, the national team, played at the Olympics, and had a successful professional career in the USA. I’m honoured to have Julie as my guest tonight.

Now comes the tough part. After tonight, I’m taking an extended break from being on air. Thanks to everyone at Joy who has supported and encouraged me. And thank you for listening: it’s been a pleasure to know you.

This is the end of the Rainbow Report, but it’s not The End. You can be sure, sometime in the future, I’ll be back. In the meantime, let the wise words of Lily Tomlin be your guide.

 “I said “Somebody should do something about that.” Then I realized I am somebody.”

Please, all of you, be somebody. Every day.

 

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