DEJAY Toborek isn’t your typical politician. His background is in performing – the professional kind.
He also has a drag queen alter ego, but most importantly, he speaks from the heart.
It’s not the first time Toborek has gone head to head with Turnbull. The pair had a meeting six years ago to discuss marriage equality after Adam Bandt called for everyone to speak to their local member about the issue.
“He sat my partner and I down, looked us in the eye and said ‘you could have civil unions today but if you want marriage equality, you’ll have to wait for it’. We’re still waiting,” Toborek told the Star Observer.
“We’ve been engaged for ten years this August – we’re really sick of this perpetual engagement, as are many of our friends and family.
“We’re quite conscious to the fact that people are losing family members as they get older, or even losing their partners before they can get married. That sort of stigma is just really pulling at people and we know over the past few days that he’s willing to let this plebiscite fail.”
Toborek dismisses the notion that Turnbull is in a tough position on marriage equality because of his right-wing colleagues as “not an excuse” as there has been captain calls in the past.
Instead, Toborek labels Turnbull as “convictionless”.
“A strong leader would do what he said he’s always vote for,” he said.
“We definitely know people are moving towards the Greens away from Turnbull. People thought he was a changemaker and then realised he is essentially hollow with all the platitudes he has made.”
In the last Federal election, the Greens placed about 5000 votes behind Labor in Wentworth. But judging from polls, Toborek thinks there’s a chance they will jump ahead of Labor to come second.
Toborek said this is partly down to the fact that the Greens are campaigning on what the electorate wants, which includes acting on climate change, marriage equality and asylum seekers. These issues have also been ones Turnbull has campaigned on in the past.
“Malcolm was also voted in on the platform of acting on climate change, and on the idea that he would be a more moderate leader and we would have better treatment of refugees,” he said.
“People are really appalled.”
While the Greens would prefer to work with Labor over the Liberal Party, Toborek said Labor is still just “straddling the fence in a really awkward position”.
“They’re only doing half the jobs on all their policies to make things better,” he said.
Toborek has come a long way since his early days growing up in Perth, where he studied at the esteemed Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) before moving to Sydney in 2000.
It was in Sydney where Toborek met his partner of 15 years, and forged a career as a professional performer and dancer. He also made a name for himself performing as a drag queen on Oxford Street.
But it was his early days in Perth, where he struggled to come to terms with his sexuality, that has made a huge impact on some of his policies.
“I initially came out to a counsellor in high school – I certainly wouldn’t have come out to a chaplain,” Toborek said.