Liberal Senator Cory Bernardi resigned from his position as Tony Abbott's shadow parliamentary secretary after widespread outrage about his reactionary and bizarre speech on the equal marriage bill which was debated (and defeated 42 votes to 98) in parliament on September 18.
Bernardi claimed equal marriage would destroy “our civilisation” and could be extended to bestiality and polygamy: “What is the next step? The next step, quite frankly, is having three people or four people that love each other being able to enter into a permanent union endorsed by society or any other type of relationship ...
“There are even some creepy people out there, and I say ‘creepy’ deliberately, who are unfortunately afforded a great deal more respect than I believe they deserve.
“These creepy people say it is okay to have consensual sexual relations between humans and animals. Will that be a future step?
“In the future will we say, ‘These two creatures love each other and maybe they should be able to be joined in a union’.”
Bernardi resigned from the Coalition opposition front bench “in the interests of the Coalition”. Abbott tapped him on the shoulder for his “ill-disciplined comments” but also praised him as “a decent bloke with strong opinions”.
Suicide Prevention Australia recently drew attention to the terrible toll from the hate creed perpetuated by the likes of Bernardi:
• 38% of gay people have experienced discrimination.
• 50% have experienced verbal abuse (74% of this abuse happened at school).
• 30% of Australian gay teenagers will attempt suicide and, on average, over 200 young people will suicide in Australia this year.
• Gay teenagers are 14 times more likely to attempt suicide than their straight peers.
Bernardi, this self-styled champion of “our civilisation” who fuels the virulent hate-campaign against lesbians and gays also drives the sharply escalating racist hysteria against refugees, especially those from predominantly Muslim countries. He's labelled refugees “welfare squatters”, opposes multiculturalism and champions “Western civilization” and “Judeo-Christian values” on his website.
“Time and time again the same characters seek to tear down our institutions that have been built and have sustained our civilisation for thousands of years,” he said in his speech against the equal marriage bill.
“The time has come to ask: when will it end?”
Patriotism is the last refuge of scoundrels. If “our civilisation” needs to be defended from an elementary democratic proposal to allow same-sex couples to get married — which polls show two-thirds of people in Australia support — then you have to question the value of that “civilisation”, as we do consistently in Green Left Weekly.
This week GLW was the subject of a failed motion of condemnation in federal parliament moved by another Liberal Senator. We've received a barrage of hatemail from Bernardi's co-thinkers. But we will not be intimidated from telling the truth and standing up for the oppressed.
You can help stand up to Bernardi and his fellow scoundrels by making a donation to the Green Left Weekly fighting fund this week. Direct deposits can also be made to Greenleft, Commonwealth Bank, BSB 062-006, Account No. 00901992. Otherwise, you can send a cheque or money order to PO Box 515, Broadway NSW 2007 or donate on the toll-free line at 1800 634 206 (within Australia).