“You’re not getting the red carpet!” It’s the fairly simple message we gave to Malcolm Turnbull by not officially inviting him to the Sydney Mardi Gras parade in 2017. Honestly, we could have delivered a more acidic statement if we wanted to, but it was the least we could do to retain some of our dignity.
Along with other members of Community Action Against Homophobia, I brought the proposal to the parade’s annual general meeting after it was first pushed by one of the parade’s board directors, James Brechney. It was gratifying to register our dissatisfaction with the man who earlier this year made headlines as the first sitting prime minister to attend the parade.
The reality is that he hijacked the event. He got plenty of media as, one cynical selfie after another, he spruiked his supposedly gay-friendly values. But what did we get? He’s been nothing but a conduit for homophobes since then. Now he fills the tired boots of chief explainer of why we can’t have equality.
So we enjoyed seeing him shift in his seat as he was forced to respond to an interviewer asking him about his “uninvitation”. Channelling the “I have lots of gay friends” mantra of the homophobes he keeps company with, he replied that he has “had so many invitations” to the Mardi Gras parties of his friends that he and his wife Lucy would have lots of options.
Personally, I’d rather Malcolm and Lucy celebrate their marriage in private at Mardi Gras 2017. As long as he keeps us from enjoying the same, rubbing their government-approved relationship in the faces of us second-class citizens is just unseemly. You’d think his own public relations people might be able to point out the obvious indelicacy of it all.
But the public relations know-alls reckon it is our side which has erred by calling Turnbull out. On his blog, Andrew Bolt accuses us of the denouncing even our “friends as evil”. He asks me: “Is this the way to win them over?”
Thanks for the tip, Bolt. Of course I deeply respect the strategic input of a man who warns of a slippery slope from legalising same-sex marriage to legalising bestiality.
But yes, people on our side have asked the same question. In fact, it would be reasonable to say the reaction to our red carpet retraction has been nearly hysterical. We have been questioned about everything from whether we’re alienating Turnbull as an ally and threatening corporate sponsorship of the parade to whether we are carrying through an exercise in Trotskyist entryism into Mardi Gras in the style of Jeremy Corbyn’s “takeover” of the British Labour Party.
Right. First up, someone claiming to be on our team while doing everything to uphold the status quo is not an ally; they’re a liability. But really, Mardi Gras started as a protest against the police brutalising our community. It was organised by gay liberationists and revolutionaries. It may be swarmed by corporate sponsors these days, but Mardi Gras will never be theirs. It belongs to us, and we say Turnbull’s not welcome.
Hundreds of Victorian Socialists volunteers have been staffing early voting polling booths since 14 November, building on the more than 150,000 doors knocked across the north and west of Melbourne during the state election campaign. They are bringing a new style of campaigning to the state election, and have found a constituency of voters fed up with the prevailing pro-corporate, mainstream politics.
The Australian Nursing Federation will proceed with a ballot of its West Australian members in defiance of an order by the Industrial Relations Commission. If nurses reject the McGowan state Labor government’s below inflation pay offer, they will resume a campaign of industrial action, which was suspended last week.
The latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics confirm that real wages are falling at the fastest rate since the Great Depression, possibly even the 1890s, both period of massive unemployment.
“The question of what kind of city we want cannot be divorced from the question of what kind of people we want to be”, Marxist geographer David Harvey writes in his book Rebel Cities. “What kinds of social relations we seek, what relations to nature we cherish, what style of life we desire, what aesthetic values we hold”.
Victorian Socialists—recognised by Beat magazine as “the most left-wing option Victorians have this election”, and by PEDESTRIAN.TV as “Fierce door knockers and grassroots campaigners”—is making a mammoth effort to push against the grain of history in the state election. The party has a chance of getting Jerome Small elected to the upper house in Northern Metro and Liz Walsh in Western Metro. If successful, it will be only the third time a socialist independent of the ALP has been elected to any Australian parliament.
The UN COP27 climate conference is taking place in Egypt, which is an apt choice for a climate conference—a military dictatorship propped up by oil money from Saudi Arabia. And it’s reflected in the outcome.