Pure Poison IconHere’s a line of questioning you’d think the Canberra press gallery might have come up with on the subject of Julia Gillard’s mystifying ongoing support for discriminatory marriage laws.

Paul Barry even hinted at it in The Power Index last year:

But it’s not mysterious at all to those who understand the power of South Australian senator Don Farrell, widely known as “The Pope”.

Farrell was one of the faceless men who brought down Rudd and put Gillard in power in June 2010, which is largely why the PM is still opposing gay marriage herself. Farrell went to lobby her on this touchy subject back in March.

In light of Gillard’s determination even after the US President declares his support for marriage equality to continue opposing it without ever giving even a vaguely rational-sounding excuse, and in light of her sudden critical caucus support from far-right SDA leader Joe De Bruyn, blogger Chrys Stevenson asks:

De Bruyn opposed the Rudd spill in 2010. But, when Gillard’s leadership position was challenged earlier this year, he supported Gillard. Is it possible that a commitment not to support same-sex marriage was part of some quiet back-room deal forged between Gillard, de Bruyn and Farrell?

If this is the case – and I freely admit this is mere speculation – it is likely that the ‘deal’ was based on de Bruyns personal power given that even his own union, the SDA, don’t seem to support his stance on gay marriage…

Gillard’s continued opposition to same-sex marriage is contrary to the views of the majority of Australians, her own party, the majority of Australian Christians, the president of the United States, the new French president, Francois Hollande and even conservative British prime minister David Cameron. Her intransigence makes no sense in terms of her religious beliefs, her lifestyle choice or her previous passionate support for gay rights. Neither does it make political sense, given the widespread public support for legislative change.

The only conclusion I can draw is that Gillard sold out Australia’s queer community as part of a back room deal for political power. The only thing that makes sense to me is that Gillard is personally in debt to Farrell and de Bruyn and relies on their continuing support to shore up her increasingly shaky hold on the prime ministership.

How secular is a nation in which the prime minister is held captive to fundamentalist Catholic dogma? How democratic is this country when two men appear to control the prime minister’s stance on an issue which is so central to notions of justice, equality and human rights?

What does it say about the strength of our prime minister’s personal ethics if, in exchange for political power, she agreed to act as a ventriloquist’s dummy for religious zealots whose views represent neither her own beliefs nor those of the majority of her party?

Good questions you’d think would interest a press gallery genuinely interested in holding the PM to account on what she actually does to affect citizens’ lives. You want to ask Gillard about scandalous factional deals that genuinely do affect every one of us? How about starting there.

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