Our Deputy PM’s Hateful Screed On Gay Aussies Was The First Topic On ‘Q&A’

Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack’s hateful 1993 comments regarding gay Australians were brought to the fore on Q&A last night, mere hours after he was formally made leader of the Nationals Party.

McCormack, who once served as editor of Riverina newspaper The Daily Advertiser, wrote a column in which he said “a week never goes by anymore that homosexuals and their sordid behaviour don’t become further entrenched in society,” and “unfortunately gays are here and, if the disease their unnatural acts helped spread doesn’t wipe out humanity, they’re here to stay.”

Last year, McCormack publicly withdrew and apologised for those comments, saying “I have grown and learned not only to tolerate but to accept all people, regardless of their sexual orientation, or any other trait or feature which makes each of us different and unique.”

Regardless, it was still a topic of discussion on the panel show. When questioned by an audience member about how appropriate it is for McCormack to be elevated to second-in-command after those comments, former Australian Defence Force lieutenant colonel and transgender woman Catherine McGregor said she could forgive him.

Pointing to the broader changes within Australian public life – what McGregor called the state-sponsored bashing of LGBTI Australians in past decades, to the recent broadcast of Mardi Gras origin film Riot on Australia’s national broadcaster – McGregor said “we’re in a different country now.”

“I can forgive him for those remarks if he’s withdrawn them and stepped away from them,” McGregor said. “I wouldn’t like to be reminded of everything I said or did 25, 30 years ago.”

However, Shadow Minister for Justice Clare O’Neil’s concerns about McCormack’s appointment were largely focussed on McCormack’s seeming anonymity to the broader Australian public.

Former deputy leader of the British Labour Party Harriet Harman did touch on the lingering impact of such rank comments, though.

As the Barnaby Joyce saga pointed out, we might eventually come to learn damn near everything about McCormack’s life – even the bits he wishes weren’t shared for the public interest. Watch the chat below: