Labor MLC Tony Kelly, who also convenes Country Labor, made his own stab at playing wedge politics last week. He issued a press statement on Wednesday, goading the National MP for Barwon, Ian Slack-Smith, by asking him whether he agreed with Liberal leader John Brogden’s social policies.

Here is an extract from Kelly’s statement:

Barwon families deserve to know does Mr Slack-Smith support:

1 Mr Brogden’s plan to lower the age of consent for homosexuals;

2 Mr Brogden’s stance on young drug addicts that rehabilitation is more appropriate than punishment; and

3 Mr Brogden’s strong support for the medically supervised heroin injecting room.

These questions can be ans-wered with a simple -˜yes’ or -˜no’.

If Mr Slack-Smith supports Mr Brogden, he supports his radical views on social reform -“ it’s as simple as that!

The Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby condemned Kelly’s press statement, describing it as an outrage.

The fact that a senior government MP, who is deputy president of the upper house, the convenor of Country Labor, appears to be using homophobia as a political wedge to get at John Brogden, is completely unacceptable and absolutely outrageous, Lobby co-convenor Anthony Schembri said. What Tony Kelly is basically doing is whipping up homophobia in the country.

There is also a very crucial question, which is, is Kelly representing an individual view, or a view of the government? When you have senior members like him playing these games, it is actually hard to differentiate whether a person is doing it as an individual or whether they’re doing it as a representative of the government, Schembri said.

The Star placed a call with Tony Kelly yesterday but the call was not returned.

© Star Observer 2019 | For the latest in lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) news in Australia, be sure to visit starobserver.com.au daily. You can also read our latest magazines or Join us on our Facebook page and Twitter feed.