Last week, the Federal Government’s review into the Safe Schools program was completed, and, surprise surprise, it found nothing wrong.
During the last few weeks of furore that arose from the program – a furore that, in the five years the Safe Schools program has been running quietly and uncontroversially, has never before reared its head – conservative MPs were quick to deny any allegations of homophobia, instead just proclaiming their concern for the children. The children who, according to them, were being indoctrinated with Marxist cultural relativism.
As Bill Shorten brought out his annual zinger and labelled Cory Bernardi a homophobe, Bernadi’s mates jumped to his defence, labelling such allegations as offensive and outrageous. “I have never met anyone that displays an extreme or irrational fear of homosexuality,” decried Luke ‘old straight man’ Simpkins. Meanwhile, George Christensen likened Safe Schools to paedophile grooming. These MPs sat there all high and mighty, certain they’d caught the gays with their pants down.
But they didn’t.
The review came back, and while it offered some suggestions, it recommended the program continue to exist, and continue to be funded. Naturally, these MPs (well, we don’t know for sure, since they were quoted anonymously) cried foul, calling the review a “fraud” and a “stitch up”.
The fact is though, the review confirmed what everyone who uses the Safe Schools program already knows: that it’s age appropriate, pedagogically sound, and, well, safe. And now it just makes plainly clear something else we already knew: that those who oppose it are just bona fide homophobes.
Not only that, they’re homophobes who pick at low hanging fruit. I mean, Bernardi et al. have already picked off the higher fruit, taking aim at marriage equality in the past, but that doesn’t mean he now needs to turn his attention to picking on kids.
When Malcolm Turnbull became PM, we were given the impression that we’d have a more socially progressive government. But so far he’s been all chat. Turnbull, the Member for Wentworth, would’ve publicly condemned these hard right near-lunatics, but Turnbull the PM placates them by ordering a review into a program his education minister supports.
Bernardi and his mates grow ever more irrelevant in a climate where a large majority of the Australian population supports marriage equality. These guys cling to the nuclear family, because it’s their source of dominance. And as divorce rates soar, single parents and gay parents abound, feminism gets stronger and gay rights grow, the role of the white man becomes less and less significant. These poor fellas just don’t know what to do.
These men are treating parliament like an echo chamber, shouting into a void where no-one really cares what they have to say. Sure, almost every media outlet in the country covered Bernardi’s comments about Safe Schools, but did so to essentially shut him down.
How will Turnbull respond to the rejection of the review by these grumpy old men? If he’s smart, he’ll ignore them, like the rest of the country does (aside from the spectacle, of course). If he’s smarter, he won’t preselect them when he calls the next election. These people are now so far to the right of the rest of the Liberal Party that they no longer represent its core values, so why should they represent it at the ballot box?
The outcry over what was, and has now been found to be, an uncontroversial and productive education program simply demonstrates how irrelevant and hateful these people are. Why they still form some of our government is completely incomprehensible to me.
[Main photo courtesy Flickr/Krissy Venosdale]
It’s Easter! But that doesn’t mean you can’t party. On Friday March 25, the Botany View Hotel is having a Bad Friday celebration, featuring a bunch of bands including World Champion and “the shittest band in Newtown”, Scabz. Also on Friday, Marcus Whalelaunches his new single at The Red Rattler, supported by Habits and Lupa J.
This Saturday March 26 sees The Justin Bieber Appreciation Society land at Plan B Small Club. Justin Bieber has a long track record of stealing lesbian haircuts, and now he just all out looks like one, so this is basically a gay event.
On Sunday March 27, Oxford Street is the place to be. Head to Oxford Art Factory for Loose Ends with L’Oasis, Matt Vaughan, Annabelle Gaspar, Brooke Powers, The Sweats and more. Or head underground at the Oxford Hotel for NatNoiz’s new party, Queerave, featuring Love Club, Hookie, Tanner Derrby and more.
And on Monday, don’t rise, because He did that for you.