Bloody hell, here we go. On the same day as writer Benjamin Law‘s piece on Safe Schools comes out for the Quarterly Essay, The Australian is trying to whip up a frenzy around a tweet he sent almost two weeks ago.

You want to see the offending tweet? Here you go.

(FWIW, real quick, because it appears some people online do not get it and we need to make absolutely sure: Ben Law isn’t advocating rape. ‘Hate-fuck’ doesn’t mean sex without consent. This is clearly a bemused tweet wondering that if he was asked, would he fuck-with-consent the conservative MPs in parliament if it meant they would suddenly stop being bigoted. We good? Good.)

Those tweets were sent over a week ago, but The Australian decided to have at them anyway.

It’s pretty transparent why: Law’s brilliantly-researched long-form essay examines the “idealogical firestorm” around Safe Schools in 2016, which was largely led by the negative and often homophobic coverage of News Corp and The Australian. (Law noted at the Brisbane Writer’s Conference this weekend that it published tens of thousands of words on Safe Schools, and none of it good.)

The paper reached out to Liberal MP Andrew Hastie – a former SAS soldier who was once investigated for war crimes, and who was one of the names thrown up in suggestion to Law’s tweet – for his thoughts.

Here they are:

“Noting my skills acquired in my previous ­career I’d like to see him try. If anyone on the No campaign jokingly suggested using sex as a weapon against Yes campaigners, there’d be immediate calls for their resignation and marginalisation. Instead this guy gets a 20,000-word platform from Quarterly Essay.”

One can only assume that Hastie’s mates are exceptionally dull if he doesn’t know what ‘hate-fucking’ means.

The Australian also reached out to National MP George Christensen, probably because one of Law’s Twitter followers reminded him that Christensen would fall under the “every anti-gay MP in parliament” banner.

“It’s ironic that most supporters of Safe Schools say they support it because it’s anti-bullying and yet they engage in some of the worst online bullying you’d ever ­encounter, especially in their Twitter left-wing echo chamber,” said Christensen, who once compared legalising same-sex marriage to loosening gun control.

Anyway, totally normal journalism aside, Law’s incredibly well-researched piece is out today (with an extract published here) and we highly, highly recommend you pick a copy up.

Image: Supplied