Today, I’m celebrating four years since I first set foot in Australia. There are many, many things I love about this beautiful, sunburned country. It’s truly a moment to celebrate and reflect. In fact, tonight Sydney celebrated with me by opening the heavens and setting loose a ferocious electrical storm. From my sixth floor apartment overlooking Elizabeth Bay Marina it was truly a sight to behold.
A lightning bolt of a different kind emerged earlier this week, albeit one which is far from pretty. In fact it’s positively ugly, in so many ways. Since I posted in September about the ugly hate speech that marred Malcolm Turnbull’s voluntary postal vote, something momentous in the history of the Commonwealth of Australia happened.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) mailed every person on the federal electoral roll, asking the question “Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry?” With almost 80% of the electorate returning their forms, the survey returned 7,817,247 (61.6%) “Yes” responses and 4,873,987 (38.4%) “No” responses. In other words, there were many more people in favour than not.
This allowed parliamentary debate and a vote eventually leading to the legalisation of same-sex marriage. Amid jubilant scenes in the Canberra parliament, the bill passed the House of Representatives without amendment on 7 December 2017. It received royal assent on 8 December 2017 and came into effect the following day, two months ago today.
But let us remind ourselves why the much-mocked and ridiculously expensive non-binding plebiscite was chosen in the first place. The Deputy Prime Minister of the ruling coalition and leader of the National Party, Barnaby Joyce was vehemently opposed allowing LGBTI Australians to marry in the name of “traditional marriage”, to the point of insisting the entire nation vote on it.
He decided to be the sponsor of the national vote for two reasons: as one of his conditions for his party joining the Liberal coalition, and b) he thought the No voters would win. Instead, the national referendum found a majority of voters in support, emphasising just how out of touch prehistoric throwbacks like him and Tony Abbott really are.
As the country considered legalisation, this miserable piece of flesh argued that such unions are wrong because marriage is a process “inherently there for the support of, or the prospect of, children” and because “every child has a right, an absolute right, to know her or his mother and father.” His own marriage was struggling, he acknowledged at the time. But that didn’t stop him from taking a stand in support of the “traditional family”. Amazingly, Joyce also argued that legalizing same-sex marriage could hurt Australia’s cattle trade because business allies in southeast Asia might find the position “decadent.”
But at the same time, he has now been outed as a man who broke his own vow of lifelong commitment to his wife and conceived a child out of wedlock with another woman, a young junior staffer whose own marriage – not even six months in – has been torn apart by Joyce. Put simply, this odious right-wing pig is a homophobe and a hypocrite who thinks he is exempt from the standards he seeks to impose on others.
To all those who say that this adultery is “a personal and private matter” for Joyce alone, I say you can’t put the lives of tens of thousands of your fellow citizens under the microscope during an unnecessary and expensive postal survey and then expect to avoid scrutiny yourself. The only silver lining is that he has exposed what “traditional marriage” really means for people like him. It is not a set of standards for heterosexual couples to live up to. It is a euphemism for prejudice against LGBTI people and our exclusion from the core institutions of society.
The gall of pushing the plebiscite and lecturing the LGBT community on the sanctity of marriage whilst having an affair with your junior staffer is a disgusting and disgraceful act. Come on Australia – why are we voting these pompous, revolting hypocrites in whilst they fail us spectacularly. Is this arrogant pot-bellied scumbag going to pay a personal contribution to the $122 million of the cost of the vote that he forced upon the country? Of course not. He’s far too corrupt to even consider it.
Joyce should be relieved of his ministerial duties forthwith. Better than that, he should give up his seat and bugger off back to his native New Zealand. There are sheep waiting for him. After all, he looks like he was conceived by a couple of them.