Thursday, March 02, 2006

Hippopotamusal Hypocrisy

(NB: As far as I'm aware, "hippopotamusal" is not in fact a word. I just thought it would be a good adjectival form of hippopotamus.)

Couple of examples of ALP and Liberal "queer friendlies" in fine form:

ALP glam girl, the member for Adelaide (my former electorate) Kate Ellis, is jumping on the same-sex law reform band-wagon, pointing out how damn wonderful Labor is on s-s issues and imploring parliament to "do more", in particular by supporting shadow AG Nicola Roxon's new private member's bill to "prohibit discrimination, harassment and incitement to violence on the grounds of sexuality or gender identity".

Wonderful sentiments, but misguided and hypocritical for the following reasons:

Firstly, putting aside Roxon's pre-existing anti-queer form, her bill, while a good start, goes nowhere near as far in its reforms as Warren Entsch plans to go with his bill. We can also assume Roxon is only introducing it now so that Labor can maintain its queer cred, as it's becoming increasingly obvious federal Labor's lead ahead of the Coalition for same-sex federal law reform is closing.

As with the RU486 debate, both these Bills will be good litmus tests to see who are the true supporters and opponents of s-s law reform, based on how they vote. Roxon's bill will presumably be Caucus-binding but would then need the support of several additional Libs to have the numbers to become law. Whether Howard instructs the party to block the bill en masse (likely) or allows a conscience vote (unlikely) remains to be seen.

Similarly, Entsch's bill will not be Caucus-binding (otherwise it would be a government and not private member's bill) so would need a bloc ALP vote as well as the support of several Libs (who are obviously more likely to vote for one of their own party's bill than an Opposition's) to get over the line. Again, whether or not Beazley allows a conscience vote remains to be seen.

My thoughts are that both scenarios are unlikely, but the latter has a greater chance than the former.

Secondly, when did Kate Ellis become a mate to the homosexualists? Obviously, like her Liberal predecessor Trish Worth she has to at least have the pretence of queer friendliness when representing the gayest seat in South Australia, but let's not forget Ellis is a protege of the Catholic Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees union, the most anti-queer faction of the ALP that unfortunately also comprises its largest voting bloc and has always been the strongest opponent of Labor adopting queer-friendly policies.

(NB: In her speech yesterday Ellis invited "members of my own community in the electorate of Adelaide who have strong views on this issue to feel free to contact me because I would like to consult with them as our Attorney-General continues to consult on a national level". I'll certainly be sending a link to this posting as a de facto member of Adelaide and would invite any readers in her electorate to take up her invitation.)

So it seems to me Ellis has popped on the queer-friendly garb not because of any great interest in or passion for justice and equality for s-s couples, but under instruction perhaps from Roxon who's likely feeling the heat from Rainbow Labor and the GLRL.


Over on the other channel:

Call me cynical, biased, whatever – but I have no sympathy for openly gay Victorian MP Andrew Olexander.

If you read the Melbourne fag rag, MCV, you'll know of Olexander’s current whistle-blowing on the homophobia and bigotry of the Victorian Liberal Party to which he claims he was subjected during his time in state politics. Bitter at his failure to win preselection for his upper house seat, Olexander cites these as being major factors in his losing support of the party’s senior figures.

Nothing to do, of course, with the fact that one evening in 2004 he crashed his car after getting behind the wheel with a blood-alcohol level over twice the limit. Or that, when first confronted with this, he lied, claiming he’d fallen asleep at the wheel. Or that he was fraudulently receiving travel allowances to get to and from his electorate in which he claimed to live despite actually having residence several kilometres away.

It’s Olexander’s history of lies and denial of responsibility that so comprehensively shatter his credibility. In 2001, for example, Olexander proudly stated that “we in the Liberal Party value the dignity of individual people … regardless of their … sexuality or any other arbitrary factor about them”. Today, however, he claims that “he was routinely abused and taunted in the parliamentary dining room, in Parliament and at public Liberal functions” consequent to being out.

So, was he lying in 2001 or is he lying now?

This isn't to say that there wouldn't be an element of truth to his allegations. It’s not only the state of Victoria where the Liberal Party treats its queer members so appallingly - in South Australia, certain senior party figures went into overdrive to drive out MP Mark Brindal following revelations of his affair with another man. Parliamentary records and speeches, however, indicate Brindal had a much stronger history of speaking out on queer issues, despite being married and closeted, and he was even brave enough to introduce a private member’s bill allowing for same-sex civil unions in SA.

Olexander, on the other hand, appears to don the queer garb, Ellis-style, only when it suits his agenda of accusing his party of homophobia, rather than admitting it may have been his disgraceful behaviour as en elected representative, and not his sexuality, that ultimately jeopardised his preselection.

There are queer people, in Australia and internationally, suffering genuine victimisation and abuse because of their sexuality – recent assaults around City Gym spring to mind. These are the people for whom our sympathy should be reserved. Perhaps Olexander should have had enough foresight not to join a political party likely to condone and promote internal homophobia, if it’s suddenly such an issue for him now.

These type of fags do us no favours, merely reinforcing the concept of a victim mentality within our community. I mean, what did the guy expect? This notion that deep down the Liberal Party is really a broad church open to queers as much as anybody else is bullshit.

It's no accident that there are hardly any openly gay men in both Labor and Liberal state governments/oppositions and none federally. The heavyweights in both parties don't like them and work overtime to hush them up, except when it may be convenient to trot them out to the queer seats at election time.

No cheers for Ellis and no tears for Olexander here.


At 2/3/06 12:25 pm, Blogger mindlessmunkey said...


Hey QP. I am tagging you for the 'Meme Of Five'. If you've already done it, or are anti-meme, I promise not to be offended.

All the best,

At 2/3/06 1:29 pm, Anonymous Bill and Robert said...

As two of Kate Ellis's constituents, we share your doubts. We wrote to her in December, pointing out the five Liberal backbenchers who were supporting gay unions, and asking why there was nothing similar from Labor. We are still waiting for her reply.

Her predecessor, Liberal Trish Worth, was a vocal supporter of gay couples (to Howard's annoyance).

Here in SA we know all about Labor's lack of support for gay couples. The Rann Labor-National coalition introduced legislation to amend the many SA laws that discriminate against us, and then proceeded to delay its progress at every opportunity. It was sent out to two inquiries. It finally passed both houses, but Rann refused to put it on the agenda for the final nod that would have made it law. The Attorney General, a conservative Christian, made it quite clear that he never intended it to pass. With Parliament now dissolved for the election, and with the possibility of Family First repalcing the Democrats in the Upper House, there is little prospect of reform now.

The proposed legislation was so weak that, even had it passed, SA would still have been the furthest behind of all the states and terrotories in regognising gay couples.

Many thanks for your blog, by the way - we are regular visitors.

At 2/3/06 1:44 pm, Blogger Sam said...

Thanks Bill and Robert, and welcome.

I know all about the machinations of Mick Atkinson to bring down the bill from the inside. Fortunately, while I was doing a worst-case estimate of a possible post-election SA upper house the other day, I worked out that even if an extra FF extremist gets in, Labor are likely to win enough spots that, combined with Kanck (who'll be the last remaining Democrat) and the 3 Libs who supported the bill, the numbers would still be there for the re-introduced bill to pass. And I don't think even Atkinson could delay re-introducing it for another 4 years, though no doubt he'll try.

So I hope this offers some hope - it did for me.

At 2/3/06 1:45 pm, Blogger Sam said...

Oh, and thanks too MM. Will get onto it tomorrow. I'm neither pro nor anti-meme :P

At 2/3/06 6:22 pm, Blogger Sam said...

"Hippopotamus-sized", perhaps?

PS I did read the rest of the post but this is my only response, hehe.

At 4/3/06 9:08 am, Anonymous Robert said...

Lord have mercy, I am not the only gay man who gets cranky about politics and writes to politicans - and gets next to no response.

Faith renenwed for a while longer

Thanks QP,

At 4/3/06 5:29 pm, Anonymous Bazza (Crows eat Penquins) said...

I make sure ALP debutante Ms. Kate Ellis, receives all items affecting her GLBTI constituents. Also whats her name? Oh yes! Senator Penny Wong. BTW. Anyone seen or heard of her lately?
Adelaide is abuzz at the moment with the Festival, but more inportantly with the up coming election.

Love and fight from the Festival City to the Mardi Gras City xx

At 6/3/06 10:06 am, Blogger Splatterbottom said...

C'mon Sam, party's over. Time for some gos, or at least some highlights, or there is always the Oscars.

At 13/3/06 1:13 pm, Blogger GayRedneck said...

Queer Penguin

Sweetie, you really love to play the victim, don't you? the most tedious, self-important dreary Girl ever to own a keyboard!?

Whenever I hear the word "queer" I reach for my revolver.

It is time for witty, smart, bitchy and butch GAYS to re-take the spaces stolen by simpering "queers!"


At 13/3/06 2:34 pm, Blogger Sam said...

You're right GayRedneck, I should be more butch like you - there's nothing tougher or more manly than leaving a bitchy comment at the bottom of a blog post. Big Man.


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