The MP responsible for a bloody reprehensible 1993 column on gay Australians has issued an apology, hours after his role overseeing the Australian Bureau Of Statistics – which is administering the upcoming postal vote on marriage equality – came under some serious fire.

Nationals MP Michael McCormack says the column, which includes the choice passage “unfortunately gays are here and, if the disease their unnatural acts helped spread doesn’t wipe out humanity, they’re here to stay,” is a totally outdated reflection of his views.

No longer does he believe that queer Australians should be excluded from equal rights, no siree.

Regarding the Daily Advertiser piece, McCormack says “I want to assure the public my views have changed quite significantly since the time of publication.”

I have grown and learnt 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.

I apologised wholeheartedly for the comments at the time and many times since, but I am making this statement to unreservedly apologise again today.

Referencing concerns that the postal vote will open the floodgates for all kinds of hateful and damaging rhetoric – like the sort contained in his column – McCormack writes that “the debate on same sex marriage should be carried out in a respectful manner and I encourage both sides of the debate to be mindful of the hurt that their words might inflict, even unintentionally.”

Earlier, Today Show host Lisa Wilkinson pressured Liberal heavy-hitter Christopher Pyne over McCormack’s column, eventually forcing him to admit “the remarks aren’t acceptable in modern society and he should distance himself from them.”

McCormack’s new statement is still unlikely to convince advocates for marriage equality that the much-maligned postal vote is anything but another tool to delay the inevitable.

Despite that, the Australian Electoral Commission has reported patently insane levels of voter sign-ups in the lead-up to the vote. That influx of votes stands to influence public policy in a far more positive way than a horrendously bigoted column from 25 years ago.

Source: Michael McCormack / Twitter.
Image: Stefan Postles / Getty.