In August 2010 Julia Gillard accepted an invitation to meet Brigadier Jim Wallace (retd), leader of the Australian Christian Lobby.
Wallace later said “she went out of her way to engage with the Christian constituency … acknowledged the importance of Australia’s Christian heritage … made strong commitments … to continue and expand the popular school chaplaincy program … [and] to retain the definition of marriage.”
In April this year Wallace facilitated one of an ongoing series of meetings with Christian leaders where Gillard was warned that any concessions to “homosexual activists and their advocates” at the ALP national conference would lose the Christian vote and with it the next election.
They also ruled out any compromise, warning her “that civil unions or civil partnerships were not an acceptable alternative” as they would undermine traditional marriage.
As always, the prime minister, described as “gracious and frank”, reassured them that the fact that she did not share their beliefs, did not mean she did not share their views, especially on marriage. Which is going to make conversation round the table a bit sticky in a week or two’s time, when she hosts a dinner party at the Lodge for three same-sex couples who want to get married.
Oddly enough, while she will fling herself with gay abandon into the arms of Jim Wallace or Cardinal Pell, the GLBTI community has had to stump up $31,100 for the chance of a chat with her by buying the time at a charity auction.
Because, far from being “gracious and frank”, the PM has to date consistently and rudely gone out of her way to turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to requests to meet with the gay community or talk to gay media.
Yet she has gay and lesbian friends and employees, who all assert vigorously — but strictly off the record — that in private, she shares their belief that same-sex couples should be able to marry.
Quite how one remains friends with a woman who publicly trashes your aspirations, while shamelessly relying on you not to expose her hypocrisy, is beyond me.
It seems to me the majority of Australians sense that on this, as on many other issues, Gillard is going against her instincts, beliefs and nature, rendering her public performances flat, lifeless and wooden.
The best one can say of her is that she is an unenthusiastic and unconvincing liar. Ironically, it is her inability to lie with conviction that is flushing her approval ratings down the toilet.
What shall it profit a woman, we might ask her, if she holds government but loses her soul? But then again, she’s not a Christian, so perhaps it doesn’t bother her. It sure as hell bothers me.