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2nd Australian jurisdiction appoints government Minister for LGBTI Equality

2nd Australian jurisdiction appoints government Minister for LGBTI Equality

Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Labor lawmaker Yvette Berry has become only the second person in the history of Australian politics to be given a ministerial portfolio that covers LGBTI Equality.

ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr made the announcement earlier today as part of an expected cabinet reshuffle, handing Berry ministerial responsibility for the areas of Housing, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs, Community Services, Multicultural Affairs, Women, and Social Inclusion and Equality.

Her job title relating to the equality portfolio will be ‘Minister assisting the Chief Minister on Social Inclusion and Equality.

‘I have created two new portfolios for Minister assisting the Chief Minister,’ Barr announced earlier today.

‘[Greens Party leader] Shane Rattenbury will assist with Transport Reform in the ACT and our newest Minister Yvette Berry will assist with Social Inclusion and Equality.’

Berry turned to social media to thank those that congratulated her on joining the ACT Government Cabinet.

‘Thanks for all your messages of congratulations and support I’m truly honored to be the new Minister in the Barr Government,’ she wrote.

‘Exciting times ahead, can’t wait.’

The ACT joins the Labor government of the state of Victoria in creating a portfolio covering LGBTI equality.

Martin Foley became the first government minister in any Australian jurisdiction to be given a ministerial portfolio covering LGBTI equality in December of this year, honoring an election promise to Victoria’s LGBTI community to do so by incoming Premier Daniel Andrews.

Berry’s appointment was welcomed by the campaign for the legalization of same-sex marriage in Australia, Australian Marriage Equality (AME).

‘The ACT should be applauded for continuing to establish itself as Australia’s "Rainbow Territory". This portfolio will give the ACT a historic opportunity to create significant improvements for its LGBTI citizens,’ AME deputy director Ivan Hinton said.

‘We look forward to meeting with Ms Berry and discussing how the territory government can continue to support the marriage equality campaign. It is impossible to achieve full social inclusion for as long as Australia continues to deny same-sex couples and their families access to marriage.’

The ACT Government tried to become the first Australian jurisdiction to allow same-sex couples to legally marry but the High Court of Australia intervened to stop it doing so in December of 2013 on the request of the Liberal government of Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott.