Monthly Archives: February 2010

A list of senators who just voted for discrimination to continue

Here’s a list of Australian senators who believe in discriminating against gay people:

Abetz, Eric (Tasmania).
Back, Chris J (WA).
Barnett, Guy (Tasmania).
Bernardi, Cory (SA).
Bilyk, Catryna L (Tasmania).
Bishop, T Mark (WA).
Boswell, Ronald L.D (Queensland).
Brown, Carol L (Tasmania).
Bushby, David C (Tasmania).
Cameron, Doug N (NSW).
Cash, Michaelia C (WA).
Colbeck, Richard (Tasmania).
Collins, Jacinta (Victoria).
Cormann, Mathias H.P (WA).
Crossin, Patricia M (NT).
Eggleston, Alan (WA).
Farrell, Don E (SA).
Feeney, David (Victoria).
Ferguson, Alan B (SA).
Fielding, Steve (Victoria).
Fierravanti-Wells, Concetta (NSW).
Fisher, Mary Jo (SA).
Forshaw, Michael G (NSW).
Furner, Mark L (Queensland).
Hogg, John J (Queensland).
Humphries, Gary (ACT).
Hurley, Annette (SA).
Hutchins, Steve P (NSW).
Johnston, David (WA).
Lundy, Kate A (ACT).
Marshall, Gavin (Victoria).
Mason, Brett J (Queensland).
McLucas, Jan E (Queensland).
Minchin, Nick H (SA).
Moore, Claire (Queensland).
O’Brien, Kerry W.K (Tasmania).
Parry, Stephen (Tasmania).
Polley, Helen (Tasmania).
Ronaldson, Michael (Victoria).
Sherry, Nick J (Tasmania).
Stephens, Ursula (NSW).
Sterle, Glenn (WA).
Troeth, Judith M (Victoria).
Wortley, Dana (SA).
Xenophon, Nick (SA).

These are the people who yesterday voted against the Marriage Equality Bill, a bill which did no more than remove the parts of federal legislation that continue to discriminate against gay people. A third of Senators declined to vote at all – moral cowardice, but at least not overt bigotry.

Every one of the people on the above list should be remembered for this repulsive act. In thirty years, when we look back at this bizarre episode in our history – the same way as we look back at those who opposed giving indigenous Australians the vote, or equal opportunity legislation for women – let’s not forget the contribution made yesterday by everyone on that list.

The most ironic thing was the speeches given in opposition just before the vote, where members tried to justify their support of discrimination. Senator Sherry tried to use the ALP’s record on other discrimination as an excuse. Which is daft, but dwarfed by Senator Brandis’ bizarre attempt to redefine “discrimination”:

I fail to see this issue as being an issue about discrimination. What Senator Hanson-Young failed to acknowledge in her contribution is that there are certain customs and practices in any society that are unique to certain types of relationships, and to acknowledge that is not to discriminate against people. In our society the limitation of marriage to people of opposite sex is not to discriminate against people who wish to belong to samesex relationships; it is merely to acknowledge the undoubted social reality and custom in Australia that marriage is a unique institution which has only ever been regarded as being between a man and a woman. I am astonished that there could be outrage at discrimination against gay couples by not extending to them the definition of a custom—that is, marriage—which has never, ever in any society, in the whole of human history, been regarded as other than a relationship

I think he’s saying that because they’ve been traditionally discriminated against, it’s not discrimination to discriminate against them now. Weird.

Senator Fielding spouted his party’s general nonsense about how gay marriage somehow “undermines the family”, but was mercifully spared from having to try to explain that by a severe time limit. And Senator Boswell endorsed the remarks by some idiotic constituent who thought that gay marriage “would make the commitment we have made appear to be of little significance. Consequently we would regard it as an insulting, invasive and unacceptable violation of our rights to now have our commitment massively devalued”.

That’s the quality of debate offered in Parliament on this fundamental issue of equal rights by the people determined to refuse them.

The Greens will reintroduce this bill after the next election. I hope they reintroduce it every year until it passes – and that we remember those who insist on adding their names to the roll of shame.

UPDATE: I’ve updated the list with senators’ states – I’ll be remembering to put those senators on that list below those not on the list when voting later that year. I may well put the Liberal senators who abstained (from Victoria, Fifield, Kroger, Ryan) ahead of the Labor senators (from Victoria, Collins*) who voted no on this Bill. And obviously the Greens ahead of all of them.

How pathetic is it that only five senators stood up for equality in 2010?

*Collins is also the senator for whom the ALP made the deal with Family First in 2004 that got Fielding “elected”. A double loss for Australia.

I’ve sent her the following letter (by post): Continue reading