It feels like an extremely long time ago that Malcolm Turnbull claimed that Australia would undoubtedly be having a ‘respectful debate’ about marriage equality after forcing the country to undergo a postal survey on the issue. In reality it was only a couple of weeks, but the LGBTQI community has already been overwhelmed with blatant homophobic comments, posters, and attacks.
Today it all took the fun new leap to radio, when ABC 774‘s ‘Mornings with Jon Faine‘ had Victoria‘s Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commissioner Kristen Hilton on as a guest to discuss the postal vote survey. Faine and Hilton were taking calls from listeners, and accepted a call from a man named Don, who was upset with Hilton’s position on marriage equality.
He started out by saying that Hilton should not be in her job if she was advocating for the ‘Yes’ side, as he believed the commissioner should remain neutral, and promote both sides.
I think it’s disgusting that she gets out and says ‘we are going to support the Yes vote’, instead of saying ‘we haven’t got an opinion one way or the other because we should be supporting both sides.’
Hilton explained that her job is to promote equality and reduce discrimination within the state, that many other countries have marriage equality, and that the push for marriage equality was supported by the majority of Australia. Things then turned extremely ugly, when Don asked to say one more thing.
Can I say one more thing? Hitler had put all those kind of people in their own concentration camps, it’s one of the two good things he did.
When asked by Faine to repeat himself, he explained further.
Hitler had concentration camps for these gay people, one of the two good things he did? The other one was build the autobahn.
Well. There is your respectful debate, Malcolm. Congrats. The call is obviously upsetting so be careful, but you can listen to it in full, if you want to.
This comes soon after LNP Senator Matt Canavan said on Sky News that the debate “hasn’t been that bad” and that people should simply “grow a spine and grow up” and stop being such “delicate little flowers.”
Caller to Jon Faine 774 today said Hitler got it right when he exterminated gays. Does being offended by that make you spineless senator? https://t.co/9raBmexKzG
— Barrie Cassidy (@barriecassidy) September 11, 2017
LGBTQI people are tuning into their radios on their way to work only to hear fellow citizens say that they should be put into concentration camps, and praising Hitler for doing so. This is not respectful debate, it is not something we can just brush off, and the blame for it lies entirely at the feet of this government.