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May 11, 2012

Did Gillard make a deal with Farrell and De Bruyn to sell out gay and lesbian Australians in exchange for power, or: The faceless men who barely interest the media at all

Here's a line of questioning you'd think the Can


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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17 thoughts on “Did Gillard make a deal with Farrell and De Bruyn to sell out gay and lesbian Australians in exchange for power, or: The faceless men who barely interest the media at all

  1. The Pav

    Given the PM’s personal circumstances it may be that she is not against same sex marriage but against all marriage.

  2. AR

    Mr777 – it may be that, having imperilled their lumpen western ‘burb seats with the unorstrayun pokie reform, Sussex St fears that sufficient poofter bashers may react, esp the ME immigrant groupings so assiduously cultivated since the 80s, to ensure loss of the rusted on seats.
    Note that I think that it is the Machine deciding, not Gillard herself whom I used to believe had both brain & principle.

  3. Roberto Tedesco

    Gay marriage is something that will mean a lot to those that want it, and the rest will not notice once it’s happened. Of course, there will be a few nailed on the cross merchants or similar who will find the whole thing an “abomination” but we should not let ourselves be dictated to by their prehistoric fears.

  4. Mercurial

    susanI think you might be getting a little ahead of yourself. Jeremy’s point is that no journalist pursued that line of questioning. Assuming it all to be true based on the fact that it fits a particular narrative,and calling for action on that basis is what we accuse right wingers of, frequently.

    It may well turn out to be the case, and if convincing evidence is presented, then I would support your suggestions. But until somebody is prepared to ask Farrell and de Bruyn the right questions, we don’t really know,and conjecture is at risk of becoming projection.

  5. shepherdmarilyn

    Australia in the last 20 years has reverted to a 19th century back water mine.

  6. Mr Rabbit (aka Steve 777)

    I have no way of knowing whether deals with Farrell and De Bruyn explain the PM’s continued inexplicable opposition to gay marriage, but it seems plausible. I had always assumed that the reason was political convenience – the PM wanted to avoid putting off socially conservative voters. This never made sense to me. Supporting Gay Marriage rights would not lose Labor one vote and it may pick up some votes from real ‘liberals’ who vote ‘Liberal’. So long as a conscience vote is allowed it would cause no significant problems for Labor, but it would allow Labor to wedge the Opposition for a change. Those who think that ‘gaity’ is an abomination or that they or the nation will somehow be seriously harmed if we allow gays rights accorded to everyone else already vote conservative / right wing. There would be a lot of noise from the usual suspects because of Julia’s alleged ‘flip flopping’ – Labor will be damned in the media, but that’s just business as usual.

  7. susan winstanley

    Obviously, Joe de Bruyn and Don Farrell should be the targets for the gay marriage lobby, not Julia Gillard, since she does not hold the power on this issue.

    What do the shoppies have against gay marriage? Time to ask them, its their union that elects Joe de Bruyn.

    What do South Australian Senate voters have against gay marriage? Time to ask them, its their vote that elects Don Farrell.

    Shop assistants and South Australian voters. They have the power over gay marriage. Perhaps its time to ask them what they really think.

  8. pastormaker

    Does the Labor Party stand for anything anymore beyond maintaining power until electoral devastation at the next election?

    What is the point of power if it isn’t used for anything other than securing fat pensions for untalented political hacks?

  9. Jeremy Sear

    Wait, you’re asking whether they’re backing Gillard despite Rudd also being anti-marriage, or why Rudd is anti-marriage if they’re backing Gillard?

    In answer to the former, I suspect there are other reasons, but not insisting on opposing marriage equality was a deal-breaker. Rudd’s anti-marriage because he’s from a religious tradition that apparently believes in imposing its cultural preferences on everyone else, I think, but you’d have to ask him.

    Supporting discrimination against gays is a massive moral failing, PK. A serious one, with ongoing victims. I’m not sure how else to put it.

  10. PK93

    But Rudd is anti gay marriage as well? Perhaps they threatened they’d bring down the government? Then what is Gilliard’s moral obligation? Is gay marriage of such urgency that she should cough up government on what would be a hollow stand anyway?

    I envy the moral self-certainty of left-wing bloggers who can somehow measure themselves up against this Prime Minister and conclude she is a moral inferior. I’m personally in awe of the women and what she has achieved under seige from the knaves on the right and the hollier-than-though left!

  11. Indiana Jones

    Gee I wish I could edit comments after posting them, but I understand why I can’t. Anyway, *’s to indicate the sentence I wish I could modify:

    ….asked by journalists. *Fair enough if the reasoning given is unshakeable in a quite unboltesque fashion.* But on the face of it…..

  12. Indiana Jones

    Yeah ish, sorta kinda. But there are a lot of “If ‘this’ then ‘that'” type assertions in this article where ‘this’ isn’t particularly well established if at all. And not just the explicitly stated ones. If nothing else, this article should be riddled with links backing said assertions. Particularly paragraph 3. And the last 2 paragraphs (shown) take the assertions and seem to run with (to me) an almost boltesque type of outrage that certain questions aren’t being asked by journalists. Fair enough if the reasoning given is unshakeable. But on the face of it, it, the reasoning isn’t and requires considerable “citation needed” type support.

    It is fair enough to be investigate “faceless men” who dictate policy. But until one establishes that reality first, it is hard to take the rest of it seriously. Even if one agrees with the general idea (as I do) that not supporting gay marriage is an odd position to take. IMHO.

  13. shepherdmarilyn

    Joe is a dinosaur, time he was pensioned off.

  14. Deziner

    Maybe they’re not going after De Bruyn because, despite being a “union thug”, he’s a thug for their side rather than ours.

  15. monkeywrench

    Frankly, the ALP is an organisation I barely recognize. They have striven to mould themselves into a such a pseudo-Liberal caricature that it seems hardly to matter, on points of true principle, whether Abbott or Gillard occupy the Lodge. Gay marriage, harsh treatment of asylum seekers, the supine acceptance of the dictates of miners…the only slight advantage Gillard has in my eyes is that she’s marginally less offensive than Abbott, and her colleagues are more acceptable than the hideous shits on the Opposition benches. Otherwise, the only party with any real dependable values is the Green Party.

  16. Agent

    No no, It’s just that Julia’s an old fashioned girl at heart……

  17. Andos

    Well, to be fair, the media isn’t interested in holding either the PM or the Opposition leader to account on any issues that genuinely effect us. Budget/Reply coverage: case in point.


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