I’m pretty cross.
Today some up-and-coming would-be politician has resigned from the Liberal party because he got caught. A few years ago he tweeted some homophobic comments. He was lining up to stand at the next Victorian State Election and had a pretty good chance of getting into Parliament. He had been preselected to replace a retiring MP and his world was looking good.
Then, as if out of nowhere, in 2014, his tweets come back to bite him. Never mind that he appears to have deleted and closed the account that the tweets came from.
The breaking news in the Australian is described as such:
The Australian has obtained a series of tweets by Institute of Public Affairs research fellow Aaron Lane, who is also an endorsed state Liberal candidate at the November 29 state election. The tweets attack homosexuals, refer to former federal Labor leader Simon Crean as a “giant C’’ and refer to masturbation. Mr Lane is a religious member of the Victorian Liberal Right, who uses the derogatory term “faggots’’ and writes: “The problem is (IMO) many homos make their sexuality a defining aspect of their being.’’ He also tells a Twitter friend: “Just because he didn’t (ejaculate) doesn’t mean you’re still a virgin, sweetie.’’ Another tweet declares that “shirts are for faggots’’.
As the story unfolds we are treated to screen-shots of the tweets and Liberal party members rightly tripping over themselves to distance themselves from Lane. Lane is called in to explain himself. Lane is requested to resign, he’s asked to step down and finally he announces he is withdrawing his candidacy.
Good thing too. He is another religious-right fundamentalist who shouldn’t be anywhere near positions of power and authority.
I am sure everyone has said things that, on reflection, we wish we had not said – regardless of the context. I am deeply embarrassed and ashamed of the language I used in these remarks. I am not a homophobic person. I regret using this juvenile language and understand the offense that it has caused. I apologise unreservedly.
This afternoon, I made the decision to resign as a Liberal candidate for Western Victoria region at the upcoming Victorian election. This was an extremely difficult decision. However, as a committed member for the Liberal Party for over a decade, I chose to put the Party’s interests above my own.
That’s an apology. It’s never enough though. The use of juvenile language and the offence are borne everyday by gay people the world over. And I’m not at all sure about it being an extremely difficult decision. Rather sounds like it was resign or be sacked.
On Melbourne’s 774 ABC he put some context around the tweets and it’s likely that he was messing around. That may be the case. It doesn’t excuse the behaviour.
Now all this is neither here nor there. That’s not what makes me cross.
I’m cross because yet again the gayz have been used as a weapon to discredit someone. We are yet again the pawn in some political fight. We are yet again the plaything of the media. The Australian mysteriously getting copies of homophobic tweets on a political nobody, just months before an election has the hallmark of mud-slinging. How to get rid of someone? Easy, find a homophobic comment (that has been deleted) and use it as a weapon.
I’m really angry however about the double standard of the politicians.
Clem Newton-Brown is the Member for Prahran. He had this to say about the incident:
— Clem Newton-Brown (@clemnewtonbrown) August 1, 2014
The Premier Denis Napthine also says the right words.
Dr Napthine, speaking earlier today, savaged the comments.
“There is no place in my team or in the Coalition for this sort of behaviour and these sorts of comments,’’ Dr Napthine said.
Then why on one hand does the party move so quickly to distance themselves from homophobic tweets from a few years ago but do nothing about a sitting member of parliament attending a christian fundamentalist conference?
State Attorney-General Robert Clark is set to address a hardline pro-life event in Melbourne organised by a controversial US-based group dedicated to preventing abortion and the decriminalisation of homosexuality.
Less than three months before the November 29 state election, Mr Clark will deliver a “welcome to Victoria” speech to the World Congress of Families – an event which also features an American doctor promoting a discredited link between abortion and breast cancer, a promoter of Russia’s “crusade” against homosexuality, and representatives from the hard-right Rise Up Australia Party.
Not just any MP – it’s the Attorney-General heading off to address a bunch of christians who think that homosexuals need to be locked up.
You can’t get any of the Liberals to condemn the behaviour – people like Rodney have been trying:
— Rodney Chiang-Cruise (@rodneycruise) July 21, 2014
He’s still waiting for an answer from Clem. That’s the very same Clem that was nearly tripping over his own fingers to tweet quick enough condemnation of Lane.
The Labor party is no better. Quick to jump on the bandwagon today, but to date I’ve not heard of anyone condemning their Federal Leader, Bill Shorten for being the keynote speaker at this years Australian Christian Lobby conference. Yet another bunch that would like to see gay people persecuted.
Both of our major parties are quick to condemn the would-be politician before he even gets to the inner circle, but are not able to weed out from their own membership the homophobes and bigots. Shame on the lot of you.
So pardon me while I stamp my feet a little.