Australia: Baillieu Cops Flak From MPs Over Gay Committee
May 7, 2012
Victoria Premier Ted Baillieu is planning to create his government's first ministerial advisory committee on gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and intersex health and wellbeing. Health Minister David Davis will be among senior ministers who will appoint committee members; these individuals will advise on matters including HIV treatment, aging, homophobia, and youth suicide.
The government also is weighing the prospect of rapid HIV testing, Davis revealed. "We are closely looking at what sort of trial might work," he said. "We're aware of some of the international approaches, and this would be a useful point for the ministerial advisory committee to give some direct advice on."
Matt Dixon, executive director of the Victorian AIDS Council, said he is optimistic about a possible community trial of rapid HIV testing. "A Melbournian must wait up to two weeks for their HIV result, while a Londoner or a San Franciscan waits 20 minutes," he said. "Australia is lagging behind the rest of the world regarding this."
While the committee has been widely welcomed, some members of parliament have complained they were not consulted or do not understand the reason for the committee.
"I don't see what used to be known as 'poofter bashing' happening, and I don't see overt discrimination. It's unnecessary," said one senior MP. "You don't need a committee for everything."
Sunday Age (Melbourne)
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