‘Our community has a short memory’: why Liberals shouldn’t have marched in Mardi Gras

‘Our community has a short memory’: why Liberals shouldn’t have marched in Mardi Gras
Image: Image: @HomoAffairs / Twitter.

Apparently the LGBTQIA community has an extremely short memory, because how else could the Liberal party have marched in the Mardi Gras parade this year?

Has everyone forgotten the horror that was the marriage equality vote? There were various reports into how the vote affected our community, but no report can quantify the tears around dinner tables, the long hugs between barely known colleagues, or the pain of scrolling through internet news feeds filled with hate.

All of this foisted upon us by the Liberal party.

Seeing Turnbull in our parade is astonishing in the wake of the marriage vote. Not only because the Liberals had the audacity to march in our parade, but because they are also trying to take credit for marriage equality in Australia.

At the Fair Day event they had a sign stating “2017 Turnbull Liberal Government legislates marriage equality”. I wonder, how can anyone stand to read that sentence?

And yet, the Liberal party was celebrated at Mardi Gras by other people in the parade and by the crowd. Well, celebrated by most people.

There was a voice of dissent this year. A group of activists under the auspices of “The Department of Homo Affairs” disrupted the parade and then marched the whole route in front of the Liberal party with the sign “Turn back the float. Justice for refugees”.

This was in solidarity with refugees who Australia is sending offshore. It was also in response to the #SanctionAustralia call from RISE: Refugee Survivors and eX-Detainees.

The spokesperson said that the crowd was receptive to their message, with an elder queer shouting “make the Mardi Gras political again”.

This was clearly the aim of The Department of Homo Affairs, and it was in the tradition of queer protest that is humorous as well as political. They were dressed as Border Force agents and their flyer had such quips as “We will decide who CUMS here, and the circumstances in which they CUM”.

The Liberal party forcing the LGBTQIA community into a horrendous vote is just one of its atrocities. Its treatment of refugees is something that our community needs to stand against.

Some people do not have the luxury of a short memory. We have people in our community for whom marriage equality does not change their reality of violence and discrimination. And for the refugees left in torturous conditions, right now, forgetting is not an option.

As a community we need our collective memory not just for ourselves – though clearly the narrative the Liberals are spinning is a lie. We also need a collective response to the treatment of refugees.

Mardi Gras started as a protest as well as a celebration and that is what it still should be. Next year let’s hope there are more people disrupting the Liberals. In fact, let’s demand that the Liberals are not there at all.

Jessica Ison is a Tutor and PhD candidate at the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at La Trobe University.

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30 responses to “‘Our community has a short memory’: why Liberals shouldn’t have marched in Mardi Gras”

  1. The Liberal parties attack on the Safe Schools Coalition is the reason why the Liberals don’t deserve the free publicity by marching in the Mardi Gras.

  2. By your logic, the Labor Party and it’s representatives should be banned from the parade also. Let’s not forget that only relatively recently the Labor Party was in power and yet, after six years of Labor Government, we didn’t get marriage equality. Why? Because of the stridently homophobic Catholic Right/SDA faction led by the likes of Joe de Bruyn and Don Farrell.

    This faction has enormous power within the ALP and indeed when Gillard was made Prime Minister, she made a deal with the leadership of this faction, one key part of which required her to oppose same-sex marriage. Gillard held the line on this very consistently during her three years in office.

    Turnbull, for all his faults, was on the public record supporting marriage equality before either Rudd or Gillard ever were, and was ultimately stuck with the plebiscite/postal survey policy because of a hard core of anti-gay zealots within his party who threatened to stage a mutiny if they didn’t get what they wanted.

    So, in conclusion, if you want to call out homophobia in the Liberal Party, that’s fine with me as there are plenty of homophobes there. But please be consistent and don’t ignore the ALP’s troubling history of pandering to enemies of equality.

    • Put simply. The plebiscite was an attack on the community. Labor might not have done much to move things forward when they were in power, but they didn’t attack our community like the Liberals have. I’m also more willing to forgive their passiveness around the issue because in light of that attack on our community, they started listening. Changing the party line to support marriage equality, developing policy on transgender and intersex issues, and trying to block the plebiscite.

      Exclude the hell out of the liberals. Ban liberals from having any visible presence at any queer event until the people at the top acknowledge that the plebiscite was an attack on our community and apologises for it. I’m astounded this is even a debate.

  3. Time for a new LGBTIQ Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras Committee, How dare they allow Turdshit to march with us.
    I don’t give flying F’s that he is Prime minister, he is crap.
    Because of him and his shit and back turning, we had to be subject to all sorts of taunting, abuse, hurt, humiliation, degradation, slurs, untruths and what does he do and say??
    This turdshit does not even tell his own party members off for their unjust and crude behaviour, The people that some Australians or so called one’s voted in to rep us………..

    The Gay & LEsbian Mardi Gras should be retired, hung out to dry, and never ever allowed to run it again, Just for allowing this hypocrit to march with us. How dare they snub their noses and Pay us no respect whatsoever……..Fucktards.

  4. The gay community is comprised of many varying interests and backgrounds- eduction, politics and otherwise.
    I dislike the automatic assumption that because I’m gay my views on politics and refugees must conform with the view of the supposed LGBTQI collective.
    The Liberal party or the Labour Party for that matter also represents a broad church, some views of either party’, I agree with, some I don’t.. that is democracy
    I think it is great to have both partys in the parade, as both have homosexual representatives, in their own way ( I’d assume) to further the cause of their brothers and sisters.
    The more diverse the groups showing their support for the homosexual community the better, it is very counterproductive to do otherwise.
    To single out Malcolm Turnbull for criticism when he has openly attended and supported Mardi Gras for far more years than Bill Shorten is perplexing and seemingly quite blinkered.

  5. Idiotic at so many levels. But let’s just focus on one.

    When I saw this float in the parade, I thought it at first it was just good old fashioned satire from the Mardi Gras organisers.

    Now we read in this article the “Dept of Homo Affairs” were protesting at Mardi Gras’ decision to allow a float from Liberal Friends of the LGBTIQ community to participate. Yet they all had official wristbands issued by Mardi Gras to be in the marshalling area (clearly visible in the photo) and they were placed immediately in front of the Liberals in the parade by Mardi Gras.

    Which is it? Beggars belief that Mardi Gras didn’t have their hands all over this. What we do know is that the behaviour of the “protesters” actually slowed down the parade by almost 20 minutes. Guess that’s you call an own goal Mardi Gras.

  6. I will NEVER EVER forgive the People from the LNP that delayed what the Majority of the Country wished for.
    I will never forget or forgive the Loss of Life that resulted in that Period, especially the ones that I know Personally in the Trans Community who are Now No Longer Here now.

    I have some respect for those in the Libs that stood upto the LNP, individuals only, but that Party and all it stands for can Rot in Hell.

  7. If we are talking about short term memories, then I am afraid it is Jessica Ison whose memory fails her.

    In 6 years in government and 3 Prime Ministers, Labor did diddly squit to advance marriage equality, whilst many other OECD, and non-OECD (and Catholic and conservative) countries legislated for equality.

    The only out Labor federal politician said 7 years ago that marriage was between a man and a woman. She even voted with her party against marriage equality (12/11/08).

    No out Liberal member of Parliament has ever voted against marriage equality.

    When Jessica says “our community has a short memory”, may I suggest she checks her own memory first, or at least does some research into LGBTIQ history if she is too young to remember 7 years ago.

    • “In 6 years in government and 3 Prime Ministers, Labor did diddly squit to advance marriage equality, whilst many other OECD, and non-OECD (and Catholic and conservative) countries legislated for equality.”

      Patently false. There was a vote in the House of Reps on a marriage equality bill after Labor had lifted its shackles and declared marriage equality a conscience issue in 2012. The Libs (who falsely declare themselves to be a non-binding caucus) bound its members who all voted No. Shorten voted Yes. Sure Gillard and Rudd also voted No, fair enough to criticise them, but Turnbull voted No and no amount of pretending he didn’t will change that fact. Turnbull voted No in 2012, why can’t you just admit it?

      • I don’t believe I made any reference in my previous statement about Turnbull’s voting record.

  8. From where I was standing on Oxford St, I didn’t hear any heckles directed at the Liberal float; and on the whole I thought they were damned lucky the crowd were in the sort of buoyant mood that doesn’t want to be ruined. But there wasn’t much applause, either – in stark contrast to the ovation for Penny and Tanya.

  9. I agree. I’m not happy that Turnbull was officially invited after he endorsed all hate speech and refused to condemn violence against LGBTQI because, according to Turnbull, it was all part of free speech and being an adult.

    What makes me happy is that the crowd was silent when the Liberal Party’s float passed by. Having no float around them showed that the silence was aimed at them.

  10. So you’re going to label all Liberals as the same, even though there are gay persons in the party itself? What a thoughtless article.

    • It’s far left ideology …
      I’m just really grateful that we have equality .. And I think we have enough migrants and refugees for the moment, thanks!

  11. Stay pressed Jessica. The history books will show marriage equality was delivered under a Liberal government. You can spend the rest of your days trying to persuade others into your beliefs, but it was Malcolm Turnbull who showed real leadership and fought through his party internally (with the help of Dean Smith and co) to make marriage equality a reality.

    It is sad that people like you would have rather waited for a change of government for marriage equality to happen.

    • “it was Malcolm Turnbull who showed real leadership and fought through his party internally (with the help of Dean Smith and co) to make marriage equality a reality.”

      How exactly? They just swallowed the right’s position on a plebiscite, which is known to have caused a lot of completely unnecessary distress to the gay community. No civil rights issue in the history of Australian federation has gone to a public vote, but this time it was the gays so that had to happen? Why no plebiscite on no-fault divorce? No Liberal has ever answered that question before. But now it’s the gays so we need to involve everybody’s “opinion” whether it affects them or not? Disgusting.

      • And there’s still the Ruddock Enquiry to come, which looks set to recommend all the religious exclusion bits the RWNJs couldn’t get into the 2017 Marriage Act amendments at the time.

  12. The neoliberal, money-hungry, power-grabbing, self-interested sell-outs who exercise power at the Sydney Mardi Gras organsinig committee are not representing the LGBTQI+ community.

    Instead, they are representing the capitalists and the “brands” (yuk) that use their ill-gotten (usually corruptly or otherwise illegally) gained assets to buy marketing space at a media event.

    As a result, the Sydney Mardi Gras is reduced to (yet another) propaganda outlet for rich elites to display marketing materials (otherwise known as the original “fake news”) designed to lie to, and to extract money from, the rest of us.

    So, one should not be surprised that the Liberals were allowed a float for their own marketing purposes. Pretty sure that the real LGBTQI+ community will not forgot how the neoliberals controlling Sydney Mardi Gras sold out minorities to the highest bidder for marketing/ad space.

  13. On the one hand, it’s disingenuous for the Libs to claim credit on marriage equality, so I agree with that criticism. And if you’re looking for homophobic quotes by Liberal MP’s there’s no shortage, that’s also true.

    On the other hand, the Libs have more gay politicians in the federal parliament than any other party. They are an organisation which is changing as the old social conservatives die off. And if you cut off all lines of communication with the governing mob you’re not going to achieve as much for your community as you otherwise might.

    Principles are important but you also have to be strategic about how you implement them.

    • Nice try, but your update of the “But I have [insert noun for a non-white minority here] friends …. ” doesn’t work. The only thing that matters is a party’s actions and policies , not its strategic use of minorities for their marketing propaganda purposes.

      The foundations always come before the form. And the Liberal’s foundations are bigoted, while actively promote the hatred and the exclusion of minorities.

      • I am loving this discussion. Look at the thread of comments, everyone is winning and losing all at once, it’s a very diverse series of opinions. I’ve just given you a thumbs up Reality Check not because I particularly agree with you but I definitely would have agreed with you when I was 21 and I want you to keep it up. Top job.

  14. For someone that is studying at the “school of humanities,” you really should look to be more humane in your writing and ideas. Diversity is acceptance of others that you may not agree with. And as much as you clearly don’t like Liberals, those Liberals in the parade have been fighting for equal rights for years and decades. As unacceptable as it was for a national vote it brought us what we most needed and overwhelming majority of Australians in support of the gay and lesbian community. More, its insurance protection for the future. Why? because If it had of been brought before parliament without a national vote, future hard right nationalists like Bernardi’s party, Katter and perhaps some hard-right wing elements of Nats and Liberals could push to overturn any legislature. The fact that we have an overwhelming mandate protects us from any future intervention into marriage equality.

    On refugees, that all started under Labor and we accept more than ever before. It’s sad you’re blind to this for the interest in political point scoring. Australia is the 6th’s highest immigration nation in the world. In 2015, under Liberals immigration intake increased by 28%. The government then granted 17,555 visas to asylum refugees in Iraq, Syria, Myanmar, Afghanistan and Congo.

    • “Australia is the 6th’s highest immigration nation in the world” ? We’re talking about refugees and asylum seekers, you seem to have them confused with migrants. Australia offers about 13,750 offshore and onshore to asylum seekers each year. We regularly return gay asylum seekers to the place they fled where they are often killed, tortured or imprisoned. The gay men on Manus have been trapped there for up to five years, in a country that has a penalty of 15 years imprisonment for homosexual acts. I think it’s a fair guess that you don’t care too much about any of them, indeed, the attitude among most glbqti is that while ‘gay rights are human rights’ and ‘love is love’ that doesn’t extend to those who came here seeking good people who would understand and care. They can get stuffed. :(

    • That “overwhelming mandate” would have been sealed with a plebiscite which was vehmently opposed. But as the headline says, we have short memories.

    • Absolute garbage. The numbers were there, but Turnbull wouldn’t allow that vote to happen because he wanted to do what he does – try to be two sides of the ideological spectrum at once, as to appease his progressive base but not piss off his conservative base. So he put us through that hate campaigning for his own political gain, certainly not ours. He wouldn’t even speak out against the hate. You’d have to be a moron not to see that.

  15. The Liberal Party was the only political party than ran a campaign supporting YES , no other party had their own. campaign . THe yes vote was achieved in all but 2 or 3 Liberal Electorates … think about that before you deny them any part in the battle for Equality

    • I don’t think I saw that campaign. I was too busy being terrified by Abbott and Howard (and prominent Lib supporter Margaret Court, now I think about it, and Bronwyn Bishop and Eric Abbetz) on my television every second news program. The Libs might have run a Yes campaign but their patriarchs certainly gave No a bloody good boost too. Let’s keep these things in balance.

  16. This begs the question were they an official float or did they say they were one thing but changed this on the day when they were in the holding area?

    If they were no an official float but somehow managed to breach the barricade then it begs the question how was this led to happening?

    • So they used Midnight Oil’s tactic at the Sydney Olympics closing ceremony, when they took to the stage in nondescript overalls which they ripped off just before they started playing to reveal the ‘Sorry’ logo all over their stagewear?

      Guerilla marketing at its political best!