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?