Gay rights activist have bought the website of one of Australia’s most homophobic politicians.
The Australian Prime Minister recently ordered an ‘investigation’ into an education anti-bullying initiative, after pressure from right-wing backbencher Cory Bernardi. Bernardi previously resigned as a government minister after he compared gay marriage to having sex with animals.
The Safe Schools program was set up by the former Labor government – but Bernardi has waged a campaign alongside anti-gay Christian groups who claim it is “dangerous” and “brainwashing” students on LGBT rights.
Amid the row, Labor leader Bill Shorten branded Bernardi a ‘homophobe’ to his face in an on-screen clash this week.
But it’s gay rights activists who are getting the sweetest revenge – taking over Bernardi’s website, CoryBernardi.com.au.
The activists scooped up the domain, and have big plans for the site – which currently features a Pride flag.
It promises: “Compassion Lives Here. Coming soon” – a play on Bernardi’s election slogan “common sense lives here”.
It appears they were able to register the domain as Bernardi had neglected to do so.
Right-wing Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull had requested the investigation over concerns it is “inappropriate” for young people to learn about lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and/or intersex (LGBTI) issues.
A statement from the program responding to the announcement says: “Safe Schools Coalition Australia welcomes all opportunities to demonstrate the positive impact of this important program and provide the facts and evidence behind it.
“This program was developed in response to requests from Australian teachers and principals looking for advice and resources to better support the diversity and well-being of their students and create safe learning environments.
“Already, close to 500 schools have opted in to the program, with over 15,000 teachers choosing to utilise the training and tools offered so they feel better equipped to support same sex attracted, intersex and gender diverse students, their families and peers.
“All students, staff and families deserve to feel safe, included and valued at school. Ensuring the well-being of all students and their equal access to education is what this program is all about.”
The anti-gay Australian Christian Lobby said: “This is a great first step to getting this program de-funded and taken out of our schools.”
It comes amid tension on LGBT rights in the country, as Turnbull’s government are blocking a free Parliamentary vote on equal marriage – which lobbyists say would likely fall in favour of equality.
The government instead plans to hold a non-binding ‘public vote’ on the issue after the next election – which could stall the first marriages until 2018.
The anti-gay marriage lobby has exploited the planned vote to call for the suspension of hate crime laws – under the guise of permitting a “balanced” debate.