In praise of two mums

Eric Kerr (left) with twin Jeremy and their "mums" Debra Brindley and Roslyn Kerr, Courtesy of The Border Mail.
Labor candidate Eric Kerr was raised by two mums and is sharing his personal experience to increase awareness of same-sex marriage. Gabrielle Apter reports.

Eric Kerr has reason to believe in the success of same sex marriage. The Labor candidate for Indi was raised by two “mums” in a Wodonga family.

His mother, Roslyn Kerr, decided to start a family with partner Debra Brindley after 12 years of marriage.

Kerr told UniPollWatch that as a child he never felt any different to his peers.

While campaigning on other issues including asylum seekers and educational reforms to benefit the underprivileged, the 22-year-old has been sharing his personal experience to increase awareness of same-sex marriage.

“It’s partially what informs my opinions and why I feel strongly about it,” he told The Border Mail.

Kerr and twin brother Jeremy were conceived through in vitro fertilisation (IVF). Their mother was initially denied IVF based exclusively on her sexuality. At age 38, Roslyn was finally granted IVF grounded on false information.

Same sex couples weren’t as accepted back in the 1990s and Roslyn Kerr fabricated a partner, an interstate truck driver with a medical condition she did not want passed onto children, so that she could be approved of IVF.

“Back in those dim, dark days we really weren’t accepted anyway by the government of the day so we kept quiet about it most of the time,” Roslyn Kerr told The Border Mail. “We’re proud of him standing up and speaking out for us.”

Other children approached him with curiosity rather than negativity, which made school life easier for the brothers than it might have been.

Many of his relatives worked in the medical profession and some were surprised when Eric was elected as a City of Wodonga Councillor at just 18.

Kerr said that being surrounded by a family whose area of expertise is to help others inspired him to further delve into the world of politics.

He thought of the possibility of leadership and representing the community when acting as “Principal for a Day” at Wodonga West Primary School in 2013.

But Labor hasn’t held the seat in close to a century. The last ALP member, Paul Jones won Indi back in 1928 after Country Party MP Robert Crook neglected to lodge his papers.

And the prospects are not good for Labor in Indi. Robyn Walsh, a teacher, stood for Labor in 2013 but only managed to receive 11 per cent of the votes with a swing of -16.5 per cent.

Kerr told UniPollWatch that the best way to engage with voters was “face-to-face over a cup of tea”. He said also that a social media presence is a vital part of his campaign.

The main social media channels Kerr used to interact with his supporters were Facebook, Twitter and less often, Instagram. Unlike some candidates, who have a team of members to post on their behalf, Kerr posts on social media himself.

“Things won’t get better without change,” Kerr told UniPollWatch.