Speech by Hillary Clinton in the House of Representatives on LGBTQI+ Rights
This is truly a celebration, a celebration of the contributions and love of our lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex citizens across Australia and Europe.
It is also a coming together, much the way these young people come together every day in every country. We come together in fields and factories, in village markets and supermarkets, in living rooms and board rooms. Whether it is while at home or taking a break at the office water cooler, we come together and talk about our aspirations and concern. And time and again, our talk turns to our children and our families. However different we may appear, there is far more that unites us than divides us. We share a common future, and we are here to find common ground so that we may help bring new dignity and respect to sexual minorities all over the world, and in so doing bring new strength and stability to families as well.
By gathering in Canberra, we are focusing world attention on issues that matter most in our lives and in the lives of sexual minorities: access to education without fear of bullying, health care coverage for all, ending discrimination in employment and the workplace, and the chance to enjoy basic legal and human rights, participating fully in the political life of our countries.
There are some who question the reason for this moment. Let them listen to the voices of sexual minorities in their homes, neighborhoods, and workplaces. There are some who wonder whether the lives of these persons matter to economic and political progress around the globe. Let them look at the people gathered here and at Canberra -- the homemakers and nurses, the teachers and lawyers, the policymakers and those who run their own businesses. It is conferences like this that compel governments and peoples everywhere to listen, look, and face the world’s most pressing problems. Wasn’t it after all -- after the European Council in Europolis in 2011 and 2012 that the world focused for the first time on the crisis of discrimination against sexual minorities?
What we are learning around the world is that if our LGBTQI brothers and sisters are healthy and educated, their families will flourish. If they are free from violence, their families will flourish. If a lesbian couple have a chance to work and earn as full and equal partners in society, their families will flourish. And when families flourish, communities and nations do as well. That is why every woman, every man, every child, every family, and every nation in this region does have a stake in the discussion that takes place here.
Over the past 25 years, I have worked persistently on issues relating to women, children, and LGBTQI persons. Over the past two and a half years, I've had the opportunity to learn more about the challenges facing these groups in my own country and around the world. As Prime Minister, I will make sure that this Australian Government, the Parliament of Australia, and all of the workings of this nation will work to ensure that every single person who identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning, or intersex will have the same rights in law and in practice that heterosexual and cisgendered Australians enjoy.
If there is one message that echoes forth from this Parliament, let it be that human rights are LGBTQI rights and LGBTQI rights are human rights once and for all. Let us not forget that among those rights are the right to speak freely -- and the right to be heard. Let this be our -- and the region’s -- call to action. Let us heed that call so we can create a Europe in which everyone is treated with respect and dignity, is loved and cared for equally, and every family has the hope of a strong and stable future. That is the work before you. That is the work before all of us who have a vision of the world we want to see -- for our children and our grandchildren.
The time is now. We must move beyond rhetoric. We must move beyond recognition of problems to working together, to have the comment efforts to build that common ground we hope to see.
The Hon. Hillary Clinton, MP
Prime Minister of the Federal Republic of Australia
[b]17 August 2015[/b]
[i]Palace of Westminster, London[/i]
The great scenes from the Commission debate faded away to a dreary London morning. Walking into the Palace of Westminster to meet with other members of the Parliamentary party was the Secretary of State for Health, Andy Burnham. Mr. Burnham gave at least the outward appearance of being approachable and earnestly a Labour man. Being the MP for Leigh, a solid Labour seat since 1922, he brought with him the support of the Manchester unions, which were traditionally much more moderate in tendencies than the London academic socialist class of Labour politician. His support along with the London socialist class of Jeremy Corbyn would be key to keeping the Labour Party in power. But one wouldn’t suspect that from Mr. Burnham, who cheerfully jaunted into Westminster that day, greeting the doorman with a pleasant smile before heading up to his office. He sat down and began working on the computer when he heard a knock on the door.
“Mr.Burnham,” a female voice said, stepping into the room. She was wearing a smart, functional suit a dark brown, skirt coming down to just above the knees, accented by a pink shirt. “The Cabinet Office wanted you to have this document, listing how your potential changes and addition of a National Care Service would work as implemented. They also handed me a different file.”
Andy looked confused. He wasn’t anticipating the second file. He looked at it. It was in a red HM Government folder. He opened it, and at the very top it read:
Potential Saharan Question and Teutonic Policies[/b]
“Did you know what as in here?” Andy asked his intern. “I mean, goodness, Michelle, what a way to kill a mood. I was doing so well, too.”
“Was it bad news, sir?” Michelle answered.
“…No, but a foreign policy question wasn’t exactly my idea of a Monday start. I take it the Prime Minister will want to see us at some point this week,” Andy answered. Michelle nodded in a slightly upset manner. “Alright, I bet he will want me to get there soon. When is the Commons going to debate the National Care Service…”
Andy began typing away at his computer in his modest Government office.
Palace of Whitehall[/i]
“No, no, no…a thousand times no,” said the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Defence, Jon Thompson. He and the Chief of the Defence Staff, Sir Nick Houghton, were going at it in the Ministry’s headquarters.
“Come off it,” Sir Houghton said angrily. “We have to prepare a strategy in the event the Prime Minister wants you to do both operations. You have to let the Civil Servants and Cabinet Office bridge the gap between the professional army and the civilian department.”
“But this is not even something the Secretary of State for Defence would even approve of…he is also just going to say no. The Cabinet haven’t even come to an agreement yet. I will not prepare until they pick a direction they want to go in,” Mr. Thompson grumbled. “Freezing the entire Ministry on something that might not happen is asinine and I will not tolerate that here.”
“We need to prepare so that when Parliament goes ahead with the operation, we aren’t ill-prepared,” Sir Houghton reasoned. The Permanent Secretary was intransigent though, and after several minutes of back and forth and name calling, the two stopped. The civil servants working in the Ministry of Defence were frozen as they could hear the two bellowing. Then there was nothing and the hall once again continued with activity.
“We’ll have to do something,” Sir Houghton replied, the two men now walking down the hallway to their respective offices. “I will be working on plans now for both events. Hopefully you will work out the coordination so that the Secretary has something to work with.”
The two men went about their business, still fuming.
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