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.