Regardless of where you fall on the political spectrum, it’s tough to find people to like in our parliament. Even those with the best of intentions end up skewing towards insincere strategy and confected political stunts but, for all of Jacqui Lambie‘s faults, she was very rarely guilty of not being herself.
Her ejection from the Senate at the hands of Section 44 of the constitution garnered something of a mixed response: on one hand, she was always honest, always sincere, and always vocal about real issues affecting working class people. On the other hand, though, she had some hideously bad views on Muslims and immigrants at large. As The Guardian‘s Bridie Jabour said so well:
I get why people praise Lambie but it is a luxury to see racism as merely a character flaw— Bridie Jabour (@bkjabour) November 13, 2017
While you might have been heartbroken to see her given the boot as a senator, you can take solace in the fact that she is still doing media appearances where she speaks her mind with a hefty amount of passion and a much less hefty amount of forethought.
On tonight’s ‘Q&A‘ she spoke up for that most downtrodden and persecuted of minorities: the people that voted ‘no’ in the postal survey. Because it would be impossible for the ‘no’ people to just admit they’ve lost, they’ve shifted the goal posts from the complete abolition of marriage equality to just making sure that, if we do get marriage equality, it’s OK for them to have ‘no homosexuals’ signs on their bakeries, and this issue took up a fair chunk of tonight’s episode.
Apparently of the belief that Australia‘s existing anti-discrimination laws are too far-reaching in their monstrous quest to prevent discrimination, our conservatives are pushing to make sure whatever marriage equality bill is passed explicitly adds protections for people who provide services for weddings to refuses whichever weddings they deem to be too homosexual.
That might seem like a bafflingly esoteric concern that would maybe only be held by people that have very odd ideas about how to run a business, but if Lambie is to be believed, it’s a very real, very heartbreaking concern:
30% of those Australians lost out on that vote and they are feeling the hurt from that and I don’t hear anyone talking about that, which I find quite disturbing. Congratulations, you won, I was part of that 37% that said ‘no’ because of my religious beliefs and I made it very clear to Tasmanians when I was a senator if the majority voted for that, I would vote with them. That was part of my job and I have no problem with that.
But you still have nearly 40% of Australians out there hurting right now and what they’re worried about now is – people have been ringing me that have garden weddings, they’re making cakes. I had a bloke ring me about two weeks ago saying “Jacqui, I want to know what my rights are right now because I only want to marry a man and wife in my garden.” I said, “I’m sorry mate, I can’t help you out with that.” He’s now going to sit in limbo for months. why should he – he has a freedom in this country, he has a right to say “Because of my religious beliefs, i cannot marry you in my backyard.”
This is what you are doing to people, because you are going out there, bull at the bloody gate, as politicians do, and yet they haven’t filled in the gaps. How long are these people going to have to go through more pain? They’ve lost, they’re feeling the pain. How much longer do they have to feel more pain?
Few things here. Firstly, I’d suggest that the pain of the ‘no’ vote losing is utterly ridiculous and that if you felt genuine distress because some people just got the same rights as you, you are not a very good person. Secondly, the pain of waiting to find out the legal status of the discrimination you want to do in your garden wedding business is absolutely nothing compared to the pain queer people went through having their rights publicly debated. Thirdly, discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is already illegal under Tasmania’s Anti-Discrimination Act 1998, which maybe Jacqui could have helpfully pointed that man towards.
In a way, you have to admire her conviction, in another way, you have to be absolutely dumbstruck at some of the dumb stuff she has so much conviction about. Have a watch below: