Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Same Shit, Different Name

(Sorry kids, the overwhelming joy and excitement of uniform civil procedure at my work is making proper queer penguinations very difficult. Here's my SX column. Chookas.)

"It would appear John Howard – finally – is starting to smell not so fresh to voters. Three significant lies after his election victory – on interest rates, deployment of additional troops and the Medicare safety net – and his personal satisfaction rating has dropped to 49 per cent (which, though admittedly nothing to sneeze at, is his lowest in eight months).

"Should this trend continue, the number-crunchers in Peter Costello’s camp may soon be agitating for a Liberal leadership, and therefore prime ministerial change. Recently, there has been speculation as to whether or not the plight of queer people would be any better under Costello than Howard, or whether we would have to endure continued denial of our relationships and rights as overseen by Australia’s single most narrow-mindedly conservative PM in living memory. Sydney Morning Herald journalist Margo Kingston claims: “Costello would not move further to discriminate against gays and he would draw the line there. The thing with Howard is that he wants to go further.” This comes less than a year after Julie McCrossin surprisingly, and I believe very optimistically, predicted that same-sex marriage would one day be made legal by a Peter Costello-led Liberal party.

"A plot to destabilise Howard’s leadership has perhaps already begun. Only this year did Attorney-General Philip Ruddock, architect of the same-sex marriage ban, have the unnerving gall to offer a message of support in the Mardi Gras Season Guide, after 8 years of Howard continually refusing to do likewise. This could be an indication of once-moderate Liberals like Ruddock undermining Howard and re-aligning themselves to the “progressive” future of the party.

"But is Costello really as “small-l” Liberal as he is marketed? In contrast to Howard, he is a baby-boomer, a republican and he once danced the Macarena with Kerri-Anne Kennerly on morning television – a sure sign of liberalism if ever there was one. In 2004, however, he also aligned himself with far-right, anti-queer evangelical organisations like Hillsong church and its political affiliate, Family First, claiming he played for twelve hours straight the Hillsong CD he was given in 2002. Whether this move is indicative of his personal beliefs and character or merely shrewd political strategy is unknown, but we cannot easily dismiss his background, with his own brother, Rev Tim Costello, claiming that Peter’s fundamental view of the world is informed by his evangelical Baptist upbringing. Costello speaks often of “freedoms” and maximising individuals’ choices, but supports, at least ostensibly, legislation that denies queer people the freedom to choose marriage.

"Even if Costello were truly able to separate his religious convictions from his political vision, Howard’s stranglehold on the Liberal party cannot be overstated. Many of the new post-2004 election Liberal MPs were socially conservative, some even Bible-bashers, and Howard’s desire to be succeeded by the greatest religious hypocrite of all, Tony Abbott, will not be easily swept aside.

"I don’t believe things could get any worse for queer people under Peter Costello – anybody would be an improvement on our current PM after all. But I also don’t believe Costello is our saviour."


At 20/4/05 11:44 am, Blogger 'Thought & Humor' said...

Thought I would stop in to say, "Hi"!!!


'Thought & Humor'
Cyber Humor
Harvard Humor Club

At 20/4/05 1:54 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Peter Costello our saviour?
Naw! there'd be shit everywhere from flying pigs..

At 20/4/05 3:19 pm, Blogger Sam said...

True...But then so many Australians seem content to swim in Howard's golden showers, maybe it's not such a great leap...

Hi to thought and humor too btw.

At 22/4/05 11:56 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sam,have a funny feeling that it's on. Howard will roll over in the next couple of months. They won another "lie at all costs" election and hope that the mud will stick on the monk.

John leaves with a chance to move to similar digs, as G-General, after he publishes his long awaited book. Tony gets newly created Ministry of Religion and Gay Affairs.

Howdy all down under!


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