Gay MP credits naughty Grindr ads for election success: ‘The best parliaments are hung’
Newly-minted Australian Greens MP Stephen Bates has attributed his election success to a vivacious Grindr ad campaign.
Brisbane’s Bates hosted several risqué ads on the queer dating and hook-up app, with attention-grabbing slogans such as “put Stephen Bates on top this election”, “the best parliaments are hung” and “spice up Canberra with a third”.
The soon-to-be-former retail worker beat Trevor Evans of the Liberal-National Party for the Brisbane seat with 53.4 per cent of the vote with an 8.4 per cent swing in the country’s general election on 21 May.
In an interview with radio station B105 on Sunday (29 May), Bates said his campaign was “110 per cent” a motivator in his success.
“As weird as it will sound to any gay person [hearing] this, it is a big place of community where a lot of people do come together,” he said.
Despite winning a third seat in Brisbane for the Greens, 29-year-old Bates still has to finish three shifts at his retail job, telling B105 hosts Stav, Abby and Matt: “I actually have to still work this week, because I still have to pay my rent and bills and my car repayment, so I still have to go back to work.”
Bates is a big believer in political representation of people from “normal job backgrounds” in parliament.
“The fact that politicians can earn so much money is kind of why they can be so out of touch with what everyone else is feeling,” he said. “They don’t feel those shocks from inflation or the cost of living as much as everyone else does.
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“It gives me a bit of a unique edge, where I actually know what it’s like to live on the minimum wage because I’ve done that before.”
Once he’s started, Bates’ salary will more than quadruple from approximately $50,000 to $211,250 a year. Until then, he’s still working in order “to earn enough money to get by.”
“[$50,000], you know, is pretty much like the median wage of the country, so that’s what most people are on,” he said. “I actually know what it’s like to struggle to pay rent, because I do sometimes. It gives me that perspective of what it’s actually like out there, and not just inside the Canberra bubble.”
Bates spent a year campaigning and knocking on doors to get a good idea of what the public wanted and required. He eventually found that issues like climate action and the cost of living are at the tip of his voter’s tongues.
“They want to see people actually creating policies that will make housing more affordable,” he continues.