From: http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au July 22, 2012 - 4:36PM
Farmer David Graham was an hour and half north-west of Goondiwindi when he heard that Campbell Newman and the Liberal National Party had won the March state election.
Mr Graham runs a ''45,000-acre'' sheep property, nowadays 18,210 hectares. (Edit: That'd be Dave's Dad - Dave has about 3,000 acres - and a dog training centre in Sydney)
''I have got to be honest, when Campbell Newman became Premier of Queensland I was out in the desert on a stock camp and I was absolutely elated,'' he said.
''I couldn't believe the numbers and I thought this was the best thing for Queensland.''
In more recent times - as a gay man in a monogamous relationship looking to raise children - he has become aghast at the changes to surrogacy laws being suggested by the LNP government.
''And then it was a kick in the guts when suddenly these social engineering policies started being rolled out,'' the former Big Brother contestant said.
''Here we are as gay Queenslanders, great Queenslanders - we all voted this government in - we wanted change,'' he said.
''But we didn't what this change to take away the rights that have been hard won.''
Mr Graham has been a member of the National Party since he was 17 years old. However, he recently let his membership lapse.
Today, he was in the Brisbane suburb of New Farm, where gay and lesbian couples launched a new organisation - Queenslanders for Equality - which aims to fight against legislation that discriminates against them wanting to have children using a surrogate parent, and against the changes to civil unions.
Mr Graham believes in the LNP, but questions its recent policy changes.
''I believe in the core values of the party. It is all about family. It is all about ensuring that whenever we can that we stabilise society,'' the grazier said.
''That's why I am in a long-term monogamous relationship. That is why I believe in the institution of civil unions.
''That's is why I can't comprehend why a party that believes in family - that believes in stabilising the family unit - wants to pull that apart.''
Mr Graham said the LNP appeared to be trying to ''socially engineer our society'' to some ideal, and ''that doesn't make any sense at all.''
He called on Mr Newman to remember that former National Party premier Sir Joh Bjelke Petersen removed discrimination against children in Queensland.
''The year before I was born, he took away any discrimination against children,'' he said.
''You can't re-introduce discrimination into the Parliament of Queensland that is going to effect children. Why would you do that?''
The government's proposed legislation is based in a 2009 bill put forward by then Opposition MP Lawrence Springborg, which prevents certain people from being recognised as parents.
''It means that the children that we have (through surrogacy) cannot identify us as their parents,'' he said.
''That is obscene to hurt children in that way.''
He said the government's new legislation was clumsy, poorly-worded and discriminatory.
''We don't want anything different from anybody else,'' Mr Graham said.
''All of my sisters and brothers - and I've got five sisters and five brothers - the law supports them in raising their children.
''The law is going to discriminate against me in raising my children.''
Stephen Page, a partner in Harrington Family Lawyers, says the proposed changes will make it a criminal offence for gay couples to use a surrogate to raise a child.
The new lobby group is basing their objections on two paragraphs spoken by Attorney General Jarrod Bleijie in state parliament.
Mr Bleijie told state parliament last month that he wanted to adopted Mr Springborg's 2009 bill, which sets out eligibility criteria for surrogate parents; that is, a person must be married or in a heterosexual relationship of not less than two years.
Mr Page said Mr Bleijie's address deeply worried gay and lesbian couples.
''And if you enter into a surrogacy arrangement which is non-eligible, then you commit a criminal offence punishable by up to three years jail,'' he said.
Queenslanders for Equality leader Paul Martin, a psychologist, said the lobby group aimed to stop the removal of lesbian, gay, transgender and bisexual Queenslanders' rights.
Mr Martin handed state Opposition Leader, Annastacia Palaszczuk, an e-petition with close to 5000 signatures protesting against the removal of gays and lesbians from altruistic surrogacy legislation.
Ms Palaszczuk promised to table it in parliament.
''What we have seen in the last four months from the Newman Government is a cloud of uncertainty in relation to their jobs,'' Ms Palazczcuk said.
''We know there is fear in relation to social housing tenants,'' she said.
''And now we also see a winding back of surrogacy laws.
''We don't want to marginalise people, we believe in equality and we will always stand up for what's right.''
He has faith that the new lobby group will help their cause.
''Queenslanders is going to be a group that takes the argument to the government, that sits down with government and says we need to talk about this,'' he said.
''It's not a case of, 'There's a rabble out there that wants to argue and fight with you','' he said.
''We actually want to discuss things with you in a plain-talking manner.''
And Mr Graham has faith in Mr Newman.
''I think he is a decent person and believes in marriage equality of Queenslanders of all shapes and sizes,'' he said.