Living in fear of Liberals

I cast my mind back to the 2nd of February when I and a group of other gay, lesbian, and straight ally constituents, spoke to Teresa Gambaro. [Thanks Phil for reminding me that we had Straight allies there]

The thing that stands out for me is a statement that one of us made “I am afraid that the Liberals will get in to government.”

To date, I know one gay person who has said that he wants the Liberals in. ONE. And I have to say, he’s not thinking about rights when he says that either.  Even he doesn’t believe the GLBTI community would be better off under the Liberals – he believes that Australia as a whole would be – and he’s willing to take the personal rights cost of that.

But I digress. There are some people who haven’t voiced an opinion one way or the other, but the overwhelming theme since I took my place in the community has been fear of the Liberals.  We couldn’t let them get back in, and we couldn’t let them take power again.  We daren’t.  Especially after Howard’s game-changing, discrimination-enshrining amendment to the Marriage Act in 2004.  QLD Queers are even more afraid of Liberal Party ascendancy. Having seen Campbell Newman’s LNP handiwork we’re justifiably concerned that attacks on the queer community might be carried out federally. Again.

Gambaro pointed out that the Liberal party voted for the same-sex de facto recognition in 2008. As they should have. But did they table it?  Was it something a Liberal government would have done? I don’t believe so.  Federally, the Liberal Party really haven’t been allies of the GLBTIQ community, grudgingly giving when they couldn’t prevent things anyway, but never pushing for actual reform.

Even now, in the face of groundbreaking anti-discrimination legislation with a couple of deficiencies, before the Senate Inquiry findings are released complete, they have announced that they will vote against it and not seek any amendments.

They are voting against the first ever Federal Anti-discrimination act, the first federal protection of sexuality, gender identity, women, and multiculturalism, rather than trying first to fix the problems with it.  I believe the bulk of submissions were made around 5 points – that’s 5 amendments, to small portions of the bill – but we’ll find this out tomorrow, when I read and comment on the report.

I would like to take this opportunity to explain that for some (seemingly bizarre) reason I thought that the Liberals would buck the trend and become an effective opposition who appeared to take serving the people seriously.  That this legislation might be free from the partisan “she says up, so he says down” that has defined the Liberal Party and Tony Abbott in their terms as the Opposition. And for the record, I would have been happy with Liberal performance on this bill if they simply pushed for the amendments and then if the govt said no, voted against it. To not push for reforms is the lazy way out.

Is it any wonder we fear a party who refuses to make an effort for the disadvantaged ?  Is it any wonder we fear a party whose platform on gay marriage legislation introduced by another party is a unanimous “no” vote?  Is it any wonder we fear a party who within the last decade and in their most recent term of government introduced discrimination to the Marriage Act?

6 thoughts on “Living in fear of Liberals

  1. Well said, Dylan! What are your thoughts on the whole party politics here in Australia. I’m of the mind that all political party’s should be abolished and our political system should get back to the basics of MPs actually living in and representing their own electorate’s constituents rather than their party or their own or an organisations who make donations to their party’s interests. If that were the case and every MP had a vote and had the best interest of their constituents at heart then I believe we would already have Marriage Equality seems to me that party politics and MPs own interests are what is standing in the way of Marriage Equality. Having said that, I have no allegiance to any political party and am not comfortable with voting for either one because neither deserves to be in government. Both party’s are disgraceful in their treatment of the GLBTIQ community.

    • Thanks Ricki!
      I basically view parties as a necessary evil. A House and Senate full of independents simply makes it too hard to come to meaningful government decisions. But I do think that two major parties just aren’t enough. We need a third ruling as part of a coalition of the willing. Minority governments should be the norm as this promotes more rational policy-making and better allows for checks and balances.

      I don’t know that I agree with “disgraceful treatment of the community” – Labor’s 2008 de facto amendments were and are a massive step forward. Regarding their stances on Marriage Equality and Anti-discrimination legislation though, both leave a lot to be desired.

  2. I wanted to make a correction for the sake of any pollies who may read this:

    When we met with Teresa Gambaro MP, it was not only gays and lesbians who attended, we also had our heterosexual allies turn up to say they weren’t happy with gays being discriminated against.
    See more here

    Politicians need to realise that if they discriminate against the gays, that this also upsets many of our straight relatives, friends, neighbours and workmates.
    All these people vote, and pollies need to realise that if they want to keep their seat, they can not get away with treating gays as 2nd Class citizens.

  3. Pollies take note of this:

    “Ms Gambaro talked about her Italian ancestry. Phil Browne says “this prompted one man to tell Ms Gambaro that he and his entire Italian extended family, who were life-long Liberal voters, are no longer voting for Ms Gambaro because of her stance against gay marriage” ”

    More details here

  4. Dylan, you are so right on so many levels here. It seems a little bit of doomed if we and doomed if we dont. If we choose Liberals “for the greater good”, what is the risk to our Community being further relegated to the back field and losing more rights. I mean, in QLD we already seen what Sneaky Newman did with the Civil Union Act. Then the Leader of the Party made a decision to not support the Marriage Equality Bill and wouldnt allow a conscious vote. Is this how he would lead the country too? Agree with Abbott and you are ok, disagree and you will be silenced? On the other hand, we are currently being led by a self proclaimed Atheist who doesnt believe in marriage, but then quotes Bible references to support her stance on not Supporting Marriage Equality. We do indeed need a shake up in Politics and we certainly need to have honest, reliable people who will be the voice of the people. And I also agree, we do need a third Major Party. To date, you really only have two options. And its not really an option when you know neither of those two are willing to look after the interests of all the People, and are more than happy to ignore the voices of majority of the People. It is with a heavy heart, that I must admit that I dont think it matters who gets elected, as none of them seem to want to stand up and be a true Leader.

    • I hear this a bit. I really have to say in response that it will make a difference. The fact that neither party is *good* doesn’t mean that they’re as bad as each other.

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