LGBTI campaigner speaks out in support of Dubbo gay community

By KIM BARTLEY June 20, 2015,  –

Prominent anti-discrimination campaigner Garry Burns hit the phone after reading about Nicholas Steepe’s struggle to speak to Dubbo city Councillors.

Prominent anti-discrimination campaigner Garry Burns hit the phone after reading about Nicholas Steepe’s struggle to speak to Dubbo city Councillors. Photo: CONTRIBUTED

A HIGH-PROFILE anti-discrimination campaigner has told Dubbo politicians to show the city’s young gay and lesbian residents that they are “welcome” in their home town.

Sydney-based Garry Burns hit the phone on Friday morning after reading of student Nicholas Steepe’s battle to speak with each and every Dubbo city Councillor about marriage equality, a linchpin of “social inclusion”.

Mr Burns rang the offices of Dubbo City Council and Parkes MP Mark Coulton before sending an email to his own representative in the Federal Parliament, Malcolm Turnbull, asking him to nudge Mr Coulton who is currently against same-sex marriage.

The openly homosexual man, who makes “no apologies for going after people in the public eye who promote homophobia”, is reminding Dubbo’s political leaders of their responsibility to promote “diversity, inclusivity, tolerance and understanding”.

“I was touched by this story and I felt really sad that in 2015 we have still got young gay and lesbian people being denied inclusivity,” Mr Burns said.

“They just want to be treated like they are part of the Australian family.

“They look to Councillors, they look to politicians, to give them that support.

“It is important that these councillors…sit down with this young man and the gay and lesbian youth of Dubbo and say ‘you are welcome here’.”

Mr Steepe sought talks with individual Councillors on behalf of Dubbo’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) community.

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When five of 11 councillors ignored his invitation, Mr Steepe applied to speak to the council as a whole at one of its June meetings.

On Wednesday he was notified that he could address the council at its monthly meeting on June 29, an arrangement changed by the council a day later.

Mr Steepe and Dubbo mother Libby McMahon will now address the council in an open forum at committee meetings on Monday, June 22, which suits them better.

“I believe that’s quite a positive step because it will allow for debate,” he said.

The LGBTI community and its “straight allies” have been asking the council to join a national and community-driven campaign aimed at influencing federal politicians to reform the 1961 Marriage Act to include same-sex marriage.

About 40 councils in Australia, including Coonamble and Lachlan shire councils, have joined big business, entertainment royalty, politicians and families in trying to bring about change.

Mr Burns, famous for rows with John Laws and Jeff Kennett, applauds Mr Steepe’s effort to engage the council on the issue, even though it will come down to the votes of federal politicians.

“Every Australian should be involved in the promotion of inclusivity, especially those elected to high office,” said the Moree-raised activist.

“If all people are talking openly about a need for legislative change, the Commonwealth government will go ‘I got it’.”

Original Email Sent To Senator’s Leyonjhelm and Bernardi

Dear Senator’s Leyonjhelm and Bernardi,

If you two Un-Australian pathetic little turds are not happy with our multi-cultural Australian society why don’t you pack up your Mrs.and the kids and “ f ** k off ” out of our country.
There is no such thing as free speech in Australia.
If you two dangerous hate mongering bastards were to publish images ridiculing Muslims or Jews on the internet contemptuously it would be an unlawful act under the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977. ( NSW ).
According to you two incongruous imbeciles it would be free speech to incite hatred against the Australian Jewish & Muslim Communities.
Over my dead body !
“ Mr.Turnbull these men are dangerous to our tolerant Australia because they want the right to incite hatred in the guise of “free speech”.
It’ll be those two “bigots “ in the end doing the suffering and not our minority Australians.
What these dickhead’s preach is no better then Hitler because intolerance & hate damages our society’s decency.
The Commonwealth Liberal Government of Australia is dangerous and must be replaced by the Australian people because it’s a dangerous government.
Warm regards,
Garry Burns
Anti-Discrimination Campaigner & Public Interest Litigant.



15 August 2013

Independent gay right activist Gary Burns calls for opposition leader Tony Abbott to make a public apology to Australia’s homosexual community over his public statement that homosexual Australians right to marriage equality is just ”  radical change based on the fashion of the moment”.

Mr.Burns said , ” I am Australian and as an Australian I am entitled to be treated equally regardless of my characteristic. I didn’t pick up my homosexuality at Knock and Kirby’s as some kind of fashion accessory. I was born a homosexual and I should at least be treated respectfully by Mr.Abbott regardless of that characteristic.
Mr.Abbott’s credibility for public office wouldn’t be capable of buttering a plate of parsnips for the dinner table. The man is an incongruous imbecile”.

Mr.Burns federal M.P in Wentworth is Mr.Turnbull.

” Mr.Turnbull needs to get up off his “cross stitching” and start to defend his large homosexual constituency here in Wentworth because of his leaders pernicious public statement in relation to them and their worthiness for equality is denied by his leader simply because they are homosexual”, Burns concluded.





I did not abuse Lucy: Burns

I did not abuse Lucy

A gay rights campaigner has defended himself from claims that he verbally abused and physically intimidated Wentworth MP Malcolm Turnbull‘s wife Lucy over the weekend.

Gary Burns, famous for suing John Laws when he used the term “pillow-biter” on air, encountered Mrs Turnbull on Saturday.

Mr Burns launched a tirade of abuse at Mrs Turnbull, leaving her shaken, The Daily Telegraph reported today.

In response Mr Turnbull complained to the Labor Party, stating Mr Burns was a Labor volunteer and therefore the party’s responsibility, the newspaper said.

Today Mr Burns said he had done nothing more than make his point “passionately”, and said he had not been acting as a Labor Party volunteer.

“I did not have a Kevin 07 shirt on, I was not representing the Labor Party,” Mr Burns said. He did confirm he has acted as an ALP volunteer once in recent times, when he escorted Bob Hawke on tour of the federal seat in Sydney’s eastern suburbs last week.

What Mr Burns said he did was challenge Mrs Turnbull about her husband’s recent lack of support for a Democrat-initiated bill that proposed ending discrimination against homosexuals in 58 areas of law.

Both major parties supported only one of the 58 recommendations, involving superannuation benefits for deceased partners.

Mr Burns said he was on his way to a shop to buy the newspaper on Saturday when he spotted Mrs Turnbull.

“I said to Lucy: ‘Is Malcolm 57?’ ” he said this morning.

“She looked at me and said: ‘What do you mean?’

“I said there’s 58 … recommendations and he’s only supported one.”

He then “expressed his view with passion” he said, before walking off. The conversation lasted about 30 seconds and at no point was he physically aggressive or verbally abusive, he said.

“It was just a bit of argy bargy … I’ve done nothing wrong. Why should I apologise?

“There was no swearing, there was no touching her, it was just a passionate plea for equality for gay men and lesbians … you don’t just win a seat in Parliament and stay there like a crab sitting in the sun.”

He said people sometimes reacted poorly to him because of his passion.

“I think what people find with Gary Burns is passion, you need passion to change things … I’m a dogged individual; it’s about standing up to bullies and bringing about a common society for everybody.”

He said Mrs Turnbull was just upset because he had been accusing her and her husband of failing to act on gay issues.

“I’ve been campaigning in the gay media about the inaction of Turnbull on these local issues.

“What he does is send his wife [who] sips sauvignon blanc and waves her pinky finger out to the gay community.”

A spokesman for the Turnbulls later called Mr Burns’s behaviour “abusive, offensive and intimidatory”.

“There are many witnesses who can attest to that, as Mr Burns knows full well.”

Dylan Welch
November 12, 2007 - 3:27PM