Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Family First and the politics of rallying gay-hate

The susceptibility of the “Christian” Fundamentalist Right to playing gay-hate politics is old news, a la Fred Nile. What is new in 2004 is that, because the bi(b)le-spewing fascists are now operating nationally, they necessarily present an odd mix of party almost-uniformity with a few spectacular political/personal anomalies.

Nothing illustrates this better than Family First’s decision to exempt three Liberal candidates from an otherwise comprehensive, mutual preference deal. If this decision was based on a candidate’s view being at loggerheads with his/her own party’s platform – as are Warren Entsch’s on gay marriage – then it would be borderline explicable, although still over-the-top personal (Entsch’s dissenting views on gay marriage are a matter for him, his party, his competing candidates, up to a point* and his constituency – a self-balancing structure which covers the situation very fully indeed, I would think).

With the other named**Liberal candidate to be explicitly cold-shouldered by Family First, however, the decision was made completely without reference to the candidate’s views. Instead, Liberal candidate for Brisbane, Ingrid Tall – who is on the record as opposing gay marriage, and who happens to be an out lesbian – has been singled out solely, AFAICT, because of her sexuality.

If the same decision had been made because Ms Tall was Jewish, or left-handed, I strongly suspect that the instant outcry would have forced the Liberals to immediately unwind their national preference deal with Family First. As it stands, though, the Liberals look set to semi-warmly embrace a political party whose policies, in part, and – more importantly – political tactics, in whole, come straight from Nazi Germany and modern Saudi Arabia.

See also Robert Corr, on preferences and the so-called No-GST Party, also Nazi fellow-travellers.

Update 5 October 2004

That Family First refused to preference swap with Ingrid Tall solely because she’s a lesbian is hardly new news. That it’s a fresh – and presumably again transient – issue today indicates the cowardice on the part of the media when it comes to following-up such stories.

Nonetheless, some people within Family First are realising that they do have a gay-hate image problem on their hands. On last night’s “7:30 Report” Peter Robins, FF candidate for Adelaide, said this:

They say we're bigots and homophobes, yet I've worked in the entertainment industry for over 30 years and work closely with more homosexuals than a lot of people have had hot dinners. Many of them have been and are my very good friends and close colleagues and still are.

Robins’s official bio is here. When you Google for the name of the “entertainment/hospitality industry” organisation he actually works for, though – the Adelaide Convention Centre – you do wonder whether he might be slightly overstating his gay-friendly cred.

Writes Robins in a recent trade mag:

We at the Adelaide Convention Centre obviously service the corporate theatre / industrials area in South Australia. Our focus is two-fold, 1: create excellent solutions for our clients; and 2: remain mindful of cost issues, maximising the ‘bang-for-buck’.

Without once using the word “fabulous” or anything remotely close to it in the above para, I think that Robins’s claim to gay-cred is blown out of the water, quite frankly.

* Note here that the pooncier-than-Ian-Thorpe (going by his name, anyway) National candidate for Brisbane, Major Withycombe has defied coalition protocol by publicly dissing Ingrid Tall because of her sexuality. Go and get a real name – and a real job – you little bunkhouse faggot.

** The third pariah Liberal candidate has not been named yet. With Warren Entsch being, AFAIK, the only candidate to publicly dissent on the gay marriage issue, and Ingrid Tall being the only “out” Liberal candidate (again, AFAIK), my guess is that Family First is poised to name-and-shame – involuntarily, if need be – a second gay/lesbian Liberal candidate.

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