Liberal member for Prahran Clem Newton-Brown has restated the Coalition's support for the LGBTI community in the wake of a damaging email exchange between an MP and a gay man.
Last week, it was revealed newly elected member for Frankston Geoff Shaw responded to an email from student Jakob Quilligan's criticising the Baillieu Government's move to roll back anti-discrimination laws by appearing to compare homosexual rights to reckless drivers and child molesters.
"I'm 20 in a week. I'm able to vote," Quilligan wrote to Shaw. "I want to work, live and love freely during the course of my life, and I want to do that without thinking that I can't."
Shaw responded: "Are you suggesting that a Christian School should employ a muslim to teach Christian children?
"You state that you 'want to work, live and love freely during the course of my life, and I want to do that without thinking that I can't'. What if I loved driving 150kms per hour in residential areas? What if there was a convicted sex offender who stated that, or a child molester? Can they still do what they want? Under your statement the answer is yes."
On Monday, Clem Newton-Brown rejected Shaw's response as being unrepresentative of Shaw's and the Coalition's views.
"Following the Sunday Age publishing this story in relation to Geoff Shaw I spoke with him yesterday afternoon," Newton-Brown said in a statement.
"I was informed that the impressions that were portrayed in the weekend media do not reflect the views of Mr Shaw. Nor do they reflect the views of the Coalition Government.
"The Government that I represent shares the same concerns as Mr Quilligan regarding higher rates of depression, anxiety, self harm and suicide attempts amongst young, same-sex attracted people.
"Our Government has provided $4 million over four years in the Budget to deliver support and services for same sex attracted people aged 10 to 25 years."
The full exchange between Quilligan and Shaw can be read here: www.theage.com.au/victoria/email-exchange-20110508-1edqv.html