Peter Madden Should Resign From Politics In Shame

By Samuel Leighton-Dore

The massacre in Orlando on Sunday morning was a hate crime against the LGBTQI community.

Just as the dozens of murders around Bondi in the 1980’s (many of which remain unsolved) were hate crimes. Just as Matthew Shepard being tied to a fence, beaten, and left for dead in 1998 was a hate crime. Just like the bashing of Stephanie McCarthy last year was a hate crime. Just like the recent beating of Newtown local Isaac Keatinge was a hate crime.

As with many of the aforementioned crimes, there’s been a noticeable reluctance to call the Orlando killings out for what they were, and a real urgency among a number of politicians to use the devastating attack as leverage for their respective agendas and political campaigns.

Now, this was to be expected from a dim-witted, racist narcissist like Donald Trump. While parents such as Christine Leinonon waited anxiously into their thirteenth hour outside hospitals and trauma centers in Orlando for news of their loved ones, Trump was already calling for a temporary ban on all Muslims from entering the country. In fact, he was CONGRATULATING himself on his own foresight, probably patting himself on the back while he was at it.

Screen Shot 2016-06-14 at 4.06.43 PMSuch gross self-interest and opportunism from an Australian politician might be considered a little more shocking. Still, Tasmanian Senate hopeful and Family First party member, Peter Madden, managed to defy all common decency and wave the bigotry flag on our behalf, using the tragedy in Florida as a timely chance to remind his followers of the danger we, the LGBTQI community, pose to the future of Australian children.

Screen Shot 2016-06-14 at 4.08.03 PMIf that wasn’t bad enough, Madden proceeded to defend himself against the subsequent community outrage – citing the possibility of a forthcoming plebiscite as justification for debate.

Screen Shot 2016-06-14 at 4.08.25 PMNow THAT is truly extraordinary.

Despite issuing a half-hearted apology on ABC radio this morning, Madden has made his hatred of the LGBTQI community known in the past. Earlier this month he said on Twitter: ‘The gay rights flag is dripping with the blood of the unborn.’

A day later he posted: ‘Research proves a large portion of gays were molested as children.’

Oh, and then there was this beauty: ‘Safe Schools = a social Marxist agenda to molest children’s minds.’

While a new generation of LGBTQI young people have bone-trembling fear instilled in them by the cruel actions of a mad man, the fact that some of our leaders have been unable to pause and reflect on their hateful rhetoric is positively dumbfounding. For a man who claims to be motivated by family values, Madden has demonstrated a fundamental misunderstanding and ignorance for what matters to families both here in Australia and around the world.

The safety and well-being of their children.

Because every victim of a gay-hate crime has loved ones. Some are Christian, some are Muslim, some are Black, some are Asian, some are White, some are Latin. They all have families. Matthew Shepard’s mother, Judy Shepard, has spent the last 18 years campaigning for LGBTQI equality and acceptance through the Matthew Shepard Foundation. Parents of those lost in the 1980’s Bondi gay-hate killings have continued their daily fight for answers. The sheer agony on Christine Leinonon’s face as she spoke to the ABC News, begging for information on her only son and his boyfriend – that reflects the love that truly holds a family together.

For Madden to demonstrate hate in the face of such tragedy is not only un-Australian, it’s inhumane. An apology doesn’t change the fact that he is spending every day campaigning against equality for these victims and their community; painting them as dangerous to the fabric of a society that continues to harm, mock and murder them. A man with such little understanding of love and happiness, a man so hell-bent on promoting an agenda that excludes, belittles and mocks thousands of Australian families – that’s not a man deserving of leadership, let alone a Twitter account.

And frankly, he should drop out of politics in shame.

Australian families – Australian children – would be better off for it.

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