Australia disagrees but Turnbull dithers as Abbott sools Dutton's homophobia

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Egged on by Abbott et al, Dutton leads the charge against marriage equality while PM Turnbull just looks on, writes contributing editor-at-large Tess Lawrence.

PETER DUTTON's verbal gay bashing is yet another of his obsessive compulsive assaults on social justice and gender equality.

But IA has been informed that he was fortified in his latest outburst by none other than those cheeky little haplorhines of the Monkey Pod Club led by the still grieving needy former PM, Tony Abbott who wants his tiara back.

Dutton's insulting reference that instead of campaigning for same-sex marriage, he'd prefer CEOs of publicly listed companies to “stick to their knitting” is contemptuous of the right to freedom of speech — a notion alien to many in our dysfunctional Parliament.

It is also contemptuous of the right to love whom we please, how we please and to equally share in civil rights without being discarded as aberrations of the flesh, freaks of nature or criminals.

LGBTIQ adults are not the only ones injured in all of this.

The systemic bullying of our children, built into the anti-marriage equality case by supposedly mature politicians, aided and abetted by religious zealots and vested interest groups, causes irreparable psychological damage, alienation and low self-esteem, and is indisputably a form of psychosexual child abuse, perpetrated and sanctioned by the state and institutions.

Just days ago, former Labor leader and Sky TV News schlock jock Mark Latham was sacked after a snide remark about a teenager's sexuality.

How gutless is that?

As if our young people don't have enough to contend with in the chaotic world we have bequeathed them, without foisting upon them our own irrational insecurities about sexual identity and preferences.

The general public is becoming increasingly intolerant of these stand-over tactics.

Against the backdrop of the child pornography pandemic and the related gross sexualisation of children in advertising, this is hypocrisy writ large.

Why are we adults bullying children?


On 16 March, in an historical group-hug to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull published on the Equality Campaign website, Australian CEOs of some of our more prominent "brands" argued a lucid, helpful, eloquent, constructive spin-free ethical, humanitarian and logistical business case in support of marriage equality, basically asking the government to legislate and get on with it.

Here's the full text:

It continues:

The letter is signed by:

Signed with love to Malcolm from: Mark Bernhard, Andrew Clark, Geoff Culbert, Robert Cutler, Michael Ebeid, Shayne Elliott, Tracey Fellows, David Gallop, Richard Goyder, Todd Greenberg, Brian Hartzer, Cindy Hook, Tony Johnson, Alan Joyce, Tony King, John Lydon, Steve McCann, Anthony Moore, Stephen Moore, Ian Narev, Peter Nash, Paul O’Sullivan, Andrew Penn, Kerry Purcell, ,Tim Reed, Heather Ridout, Luke Sayers, Ann Sherry, Rachel Stocks, Peter Tonagh, Louis Vega, Andrew Vesey, Jennifer Westacott and David Zehner. (Image via qnews.com.au.)


These names represent uber-national and international influential advertising brands like Amex, ANZ, Apple, Commonwealth Bank, Deloitte, Football Federation Australia, Holden, KPMG, MYOB, National Rugby League, Optus, PwC, Qantas, Telstra, Westpac, so their collective employee pulling power is impressive and numbers in the millions. 

The letter was an act of love from business and sporting sectors better known for more venal than Venus pursuits.

It was an heroic act of remarkable corporate courage embodying the impatience felt by the wider community towards a cowardly government that would rather be held to ransom by a handful of conservative politically regressive anal-retentives than heed the heartbeat of the nation.


Given we already know that the majority of Australians support same-sex marriage, it is ludicrous for the Government to continue with its facile claim of a "mandate" for a needless and money-squandering plebiscite.

It has no such mandate, and to claim otherwise is dishonest and politically expedient.

Long before the last Federal election, it was well known that the majority of Australians supported same-sex marriage. Besides, the Coalition was barely re-elected. In November last year, the Senate gave the $170 million-plus plebiscite the finger.

The plebiscite was Tony Abbott's silly idea in the first place and from the backbench he continues to fan its embers, using stooges like Peter Dutton, his personal aide-de-camp in the cabinet, to prosecute the anti-marriage equality case at every opportunity.


Its raison d'être was ostensibly to halt the burgeoning momentum in favour of marriage equality, to enable the galvanising of the minority like-minded political and religious conservatives, as well as vicious bigots and homophobes, and to buy time — to hijack and suffocate public debate, and to convert the rest of us into becoming accomplices in such ugliness.

In his continuing and seemingly futile fight to appease Abbott's dissidents, Turnbull unwisely took the baton from his nemesis, to run a relay already lost, thus identifying himself as Abbott's proxy — a follower and not a leader.

Turnbull is famously pro same-sex marriage, but he is infamously reticent to lead the charge to implement it.

Despite his entreaty to the party unfaithful at Saturday night's Liberal Party State Council meeting in Melbourne not to dress to the right, Turnbull should practice what he preaches.

Parliament entire should simply grow up and vote on the matter. The people have outgrown them again on this one.


IA understands several organisations declined informal approaches to add their signatures to the list — among them Australia Post, whose CEO Ahmed Fahour recently announced his resignation not long after his whopping $5.6 million salary package was made public, consigning him as an expensively registered parcel loitering in the "out" tray until he leaves in July for another postcode.

Australia Post was "sounded out" on the basis that it is a Government-owned entity and thus owned by Australians.

It employs about 36,000 people and, statistically, most of those would surely support marriage equality — and, of course, in terms of sexual orientation, discrimination by employers is an offence.

But what of Australia Post's board? Ah well, that is quite a different matter.

In a joint press release in May last year, Minister for Finance Mathias Cormann and Minister for Communications Mitch Fifield announced their former colleague and dismal failure of a minister for veterans' affairs (ask any veteran and stand back), one-time Senator Michael Ronaldson, had been appointed to Australia Post's board.


Michael Ronaldson is clearly not a friend to "friends of Dorothy's" seeking marriage equality.

He is a serial marriage equality denier.

In fact, according to the They Vote for You website, whilst in office, Ronaldson has a dismal record in 12 voting opportunities on the subject.

Perhaps it is too strong to say he scurried away to avoid his voting responsibilities, but Ronaldson was absent for seven of those opportunities and when he was there for the other five, voted no — indeed, as did the majority of the House.

Those who are deliberately absent are just as disgraceful as those political cowards who abstain from voting.

Did Ronaldson put the kibosh on Australia Post endorsing the CEOs' letter?

Signatories of the press release, Ministers Cormann and Fifield are also vehemently against same-sex marriage. Minister Cormann thinks the best way to insult an opposition leader is to call him a “girlie-man”, as he did Bill Shorten.


Minister Dutton sees himself as the good butch faerie stemming the barbarian hordes at the gates of Sodom and Gomorrah. Despite lacking the leadership gene, nonetheless, he sees himself as a future prime minister. Dearie me.

His sly remark about the CEOs and knitting is infected with sexual prejudice and misogyny, and his heterosexual supremacism is emblematic of the slurs so often cruelly aimed at "the other" in our society, whose preferences may not match our own but are no less worthy.

We cannot laugh away his subversive remarks.

Our unsmiling dour Minister for Immigration and Border Protection is notorious for his homophobia, his intractable dislike for refugees, asylum seekers, advocates, activists, craftivists and anyone who questions him and the Government. He has priors.


In his zealous sermon before a Queensland LNP conference, the arrogant Dutton typically singled out openly gay Qantas CEO Alan Joyce for criticism:

If Alan Joyce and any other CEO wants to campaign on this or any other issue in their own time and on their own dime, good luck to them.

Don't use an iconic brand and the might of a multi-billion-dollar business on issues best left to the judgements of individuals and elected decision-makers.

Dutton just doesn't get it.

Alan Joyce is not the only gay person in the global village and leaving anything to our “elected decision-makers” is bleedingly obviously a dead loss.

Last year, Dutton hit the roof when his own Immigration Department Secretary Michael Pezzullo made an extraordinary outreach to women, urging them to engage in "insurgency and revolution" and to fight harder for employment equity.

I rather suspect Dutton's demeaning of "the letter" feeds his appetite to be regarded as a "hard man" in a dominantly white male cabinet – indeed Parliament – that is largely a laboratory of synthetic testosterone; that is, mostly men firing blanks, as is evident by their legislative progeny.

Dutton's comment is also a great insult to the noble art of knitting. Knitters are not necessarily ideological nutters of the ilk of some of the ghastlier intellectually atrophied politicians, who cling like barnacles to the porous hulk of our Parliament.


Dutton is casting purls before swine (sorry dear swine).

Peter Dutton should at least understand two things.

Firstly, we all get the vulgar insult that is the sly subtext of his remarks.

Secondly, knitting is believed to have been invented by ancient mariners. The sophisticated technique was/is used in the handmade manufacture of chainmail weaponry and armour. It is a remarkable application for centuries widely deployed in various forms and adaptations in scientific, technological and everyday use, and now made by machine as well.

Even cursory students of Australia's history will be aware of the truism that "Australia rode on the sheep's back".

In no way is this to be confused with former Liberal Senator Cory Bernardi and his notorious views about same-sex marriage leading to bestiality, or my open letter to him headlined 'Rutting Beasts and Cory Bernardi' that still stands.

We know Bernardi's mate Dutton is into bondage and chainmail because of the sadomasochistic refugee and asylum seeker immigration policies he delights in enforcing, as well as his Border Protection portfolio, to say nothing of his former jobs in the police force, spending time with the drug and sex offenders squads, as well as the former National Crime Authority.


Has Minister Dutton heard of guerilla knitting or yarn bombing? One doubts it, otherwise we would have all been arrested by now for stashing that lethal weapon — the knitting needle.

Look upon their works ye mighty drongos and despair!

And what about those wicked and woolly brained anarchists, the Knitting Nannas? Here are some of them in Hobart, disguised as benign grandmothers, protesting against Minister Dutton and Government policy of detaining children seeking asylum. (Note the Knitting Nannas are well armed with pointy needles.)

Look at this tank, cunningly camouflaged in knitting so that it passes unnoticed:

This tank camouflaged in knitting says it all (Source: nomoi.hypotheses.org)

And who can ignore the power and sentiment of millions of knitted red poppies featuring on ANZAC Day, or to think of the army of people not only in Australia but around the world who collaborate on these magnificent inclusive community projects?

Initiated by Australian Lynn Berry in honour of her father, who served in the Second World War, this photo of the carpet of knitted poppies, lovingly placed upon terraces of Melbourne Federation Square in 2015 are still not enough to represent the numbers of those killed in that war alone.

Federation Square in Melbourne's CBD, buried in love and knitted poppies.  (Image via abc.net.au.)

Despite an embarrassing and feeble attempt to ameliorate Dutton's Abbott-goaded sledging of the CEO letter by canvassing the ridiculous idea of a postal plebiscite, the hour for marriage equality is now.

We are sadly governed by a sullen majority of intellectually stultified politicians who openly admit that they are not permitted to think and vote for themselves, or even vote on behalf of their own constituents, but instead are obliged to vote along party lines and orders.

Dutton and Abbott and their like-minded bedroom voyeurs can no longer spread their fanciful pixie dust over the issue. It has long turned into bulldust.

The bottom line is this: their fear and loathing stem from a hatred that dares not speak its name.

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