October 26, 2014 | Graham

Bigots abound in Australia, but Shorten ignores some of them

If 8,445 Australian bigots had their way, Bill Shorten would not have been a keynote speaker at the Australian Christian Lobby’s national conference and wouldn’t have been able to get the publicity for his view that:

I believe in God and I believe in marriage equality

Those 8,445 responded to an AllOut campaign and emailed Bill Shorten asking him to reconsider addressing the ACL conference because the ACL is:

…openly opposed to the rights of Australian lesbian, gay, bi and trans people and equality in Australia, and also has links with anti-gay groups around the world.

Bill is on record as saying that bigotry should be illegal in Australia, so it is good to see that in this case he ignored it.

Hopefully he also has a nose for straw cases, one of the refuges of the bigot, because I’m not aware that the ACL is opposed to the rights of “Australian lesbian, gay” etc. groups, just that they prefer other relationships. Preferring heterosexual relationships to homosexual ones is not an issue of rights.

However, free speech is a rights issue, and the ACL, and their members, have every right to their opinions.

But while Bill has done the right thing in this situation, he and AllOut illustrate a problem with the assertion that bigotry ought to be outlawed. While they appear to agree on this proposition, they don’t agree with what constitutes bigotry.

The other alternative is that Bill might have accepted the invitation because he thinks the best way of dealing with bigotry is to confront it, but that would tend to conflict with his view that it oughtn’t to be allowed.

So, if agreeing on what constitutes bigotry is so difficult, even for people on the same side of an issue, how are we to legislate against it?

Over to you Bill.

And for those interested in the fascism of the AllOut approach, here is their media release.

8445 Australians ask Bill Shorten to pull out of Christian Lobby conference

Thousands Call On Shorten To Decline Christian Lobby’s Invitation

  •  Conference venue, the Hyatt Hotel Canberra, is also under fire
  • Agenda of Australian Christian Lobby is linked to globally renowned anti-gay groups

Saturday, 25 October 2014 – An outcry from All Out – the global movement for love and equality – is targeting Opposition Leader Bill Shorten for accepting an invitation to be the keynote speaker at the Australian Christian Lobby’s annual conference today. This week, 8,445 All Out members in Australia emailed Mr Shorten to request that he reconsider his commitment to speak at the ACL conference in Canberra on Saturday.

 The Australian Christian Lobby is openly opposed to the rights of Australian lesbian, gay, bi and trans people and equality in Australia, and also has links with anti-gay groups around the world.

 “The Christian Lobby are actively opposed to marriage equality, and the recognition of lesbian and gay parents and their families. Their lobbying activities are not representative of Christian values or all Christians in Australia” said Hayley Conway, Senior Campaign Manager for All Out in Australia. “The ACL’s close links to extreme dominionist organisations should automatically exclude them from receiving the support of Australia’s political leaders. Bill Shorten’s appearance today is simply not acceptable.”

 In addition to the 7 700 emails sent directly to Shorten by All Out members, opposition to the conference included hundreds leaving 1 star ratings on the Hyatt’s Facebook page, and resulted in the Hyatt allowing lesbian, gay, bi, trans and intersex employees the chance to refuse work during the ACL’s booking. It has been reported that Hyatt’s parent company in Chicago has demanded that the Canberra hotel ‘make amends’ to the lesbian, gay, bi and trans community in Australia.

“The Australian Christian Lobby stands against family, respect and equality in Australia. Mr Shorten should stand up to the electoral threats of bullies like the ACL, and show that he believes in fairness and equality for all Australians and their families.” said Conway.


Posted by Graham at 8:02 pm | Comments (7) |
Filed under: Ethics,Media


  1. Obviously this little lot was in an attempt to buy votes.

    Labor is I believe, getting too close to it’s media wing, the ABC. Obviously the ABC has more homosexuals per 100 staff than any other organisation in Oz, & may be feeding Labor false information about the number of votes available by pandering to their lobbying.

    I suppose I must be one of those bigots, but I find the catch phrase “mirage equality” offensive. In fact I am finding a growing aversion to all such catch phrases.

    The fact that groups are trying to use such phrases instead of reasoned argument id becoming more annoying as the number of groups doing it increase. Trying to make odious propositions, or lousy science acceptable in this way is starting to get up my nose, & with me is most counter productive.

    I wonder how many others they are offending with this smarty-pants type use of catchphrases.

    Comment by Hasbeen — October 27, 2014 @ 9:44 am

  2. From the website of the Australian Christian Lobby, “a voice for values”, I quote: The good news is the Senate inquiry recommended not to pass the Greens bill recognising overseas same-sex marriages.
    This is an important win in the ongoing battle to preserve the definition of marriage in this country.
    End quote
    I don’t see it as bigoted to call, as I did, for Shorten to keep his distance from an organisation with values very different to my own and, I hope, his.
    On freedom of speech, I challenged the calls for the Hyatt to deprive the ACL of a venue. I disagree with what you say but support your right to say it.

    Comment by Ralph Seccombe — October 27, 2014 @ 4:58 pm

  3. People who dare to be born different, left-handed, black, white brindle, blind or gay, with a club foot or backward facing/unusually curved (B.P. petrol pump, stick it in your ear R sole) penis; have as much right to a measure of human happiness as any other group.
    Given none of these groups choose to be so afflicted, or disadvantaged, but rather have their various conditions created in the womb and by nature!?
    Therefore, it is hardly up to us to decide how they are allowed to live, love and be happy.
    Live with a partner of their choice/find true love and enduring happiness!
    The real bigots are those that will not see/ignore any and or all irrefutable medical evidence, that in any way conflicts with their preferred (medieval flat earth) view of the world! [The conformation bias!]
    (Cast not your pearls before swine! J.C.)
    Were J.C. alive today and mixing with his followers, with his ultra gentle and caring ways; and his reported preference for almost exclusive male company?
    Many would arrive, possibly fatuously, at a conclusion that he was GAY!
    Wouldn’t it be the most extreme irony, if some so called Christians, were able to get away with persecuting a similarly disposed minority.
    And in direct contravention to his evocation, to treat all others as how you would be treated, if but you stood in their (his?) shoes!
    For heavens sake, what the hell is wrong with the end of centuries of mindless persecution, and equally mindless discrimination; and replacing all that with genuine CHRISTIAN equality.
    At the end of the day, no pastor or preacher is being asked to Ben Dover, or set aside his or her personal bigotry, and marry any same sex couple, if they are opposed to that; nor employ any in so called Christian schools.
    The right to be an inherent bigot is a right; surely, as is free speech!?
    Just don’t do it on the quite erroneous grounds, that anybody chooses to be gay/Christ like.
    I mean, if you only knew just how much pain suffering/rejection and exclusion, was the end result of daring to be born gay, nobody would choose to be gay! NOBODY!
    In fact, many people conflicted by so called christian belief and their own inherently confusing feelings, choose to to stay in the closet, and live an angry lie!
    To their eternal unhappiness and that of a partner/children of any such union!
    And sometime rend all that asunder, when they finally come out and reveal who and what they really are!
    The sight of two grown men kissing and fondling each other is not my cup of tea, nor is it, when some Heterosexual couples are equally engrossed and alone in their (sexually heightened) world, and oblivious to all others; who however personally uncomfortable, are for all practical purposes, just part of the furniture!
    Even so, no genuine christian should be on these peoples’ case; or persecuting them from dawn to dark, because they are different!
    What consenting Adults choose to do in private, is nobody else’s business but theirs!
    “Insomuch as you do unto the least among you, you also do unto me”! (J.C.)
    Alan B. Goulding.

    Comment by Alan B. Goulding — October 27, 2014 @ 5:11 pm

  4. Graham,
    when you and Bill Shorten use a term so much you should define what you use by the term.

    Until I find a better definition this one will do.
    Bigots are either:
    1. People who do not believe what I believe, or
    2. People who believe what I do not believe.
    which leads to on conclusion:- we are all bigots but some are bigots and hypocrites too.

    Comment by George Gell — October 27, 2014 @ 6:40 pm

  5. George, I don’t necessarily disagree with your position. I don’t think it is possible or desirable to try to stamp out bigotry. You can’t criminalise what people think in a modern progressive nation just because some people find their thoughts offensive.

    Comment by Graham — October 27, 2014 @ 9:45 pm

  6. Given just how much of traditional Christianity, [absolute faith founded on absolute fiction,] is being destroyed as, (the greatest story ever told) by continually emerging evidence?
    I wonder what right does any so called Christian have to set him or herself up as some sort of moral arbiter, and then in the face of almost irrefutable medical evidence, that the conclusions relied on are inherently wrong!
    Alan B. Goulding.

    Comment by Alan B. Goulding — October 30, 2014 @ 12:38 pm

  7. Just as much right as you do Alan. You’re always sounding off about something and not being a Christian doesn’t make you right.

    Comment by Graham — October 30, 2014 @ 1:02 pm

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