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The word that Turnbull dares not speak

I’m at a complete loss as to understand why that rasping husk of compromised humanity we’ve had inflicted on us as Prime Minister decided to co-opt this morning’s hideous mass slaughter of gay people in Orlando, Florida to the service of his government’s pathological border protection policies.

Not once in his obligatory comments on the mass murder did Turnbull acknowledge the identity of the victims, rather he carefully framed his remarks within the “terrorist threat facing the Australian way of life” narrative, a threat for which the LNP, with the full support of the opposition, created for our salvation the paramilitary border protection force.

Turnbull stopped short of invoking “stop the boats” and I suppose we should be grateful that even he, apparently, was unable to draw his stinkingly homophobic bow that far.

Had the victims been children they would have been identified as children. Had they been black, they would have been identified as black. Had they been Palestinians, Jews, women, protestors, Australians, ISIS, students, politicians, doctors or the homeless, they would have been identified as such.

But these were members of the LGBTQI community and Malcolm Turnbull could not speak their name.

Other politicians, including Obama, Clinton, Shorten & Plibersek have made a point of speaking directly to that community in their commentary, acknowledging that this has been an attack that will affect LGBTQI people wherever they are.

The murderer’s motives are as yet not fully known. But what is unquestionable is that he targeted a gay venue, and that he has been described by his own parents as “not religious, didn’t pray or fast, was very angry when he saw two men kissing.”

It might behoove us to remember at this time that the most vocal opponents of LGBTQI communities in Australia are white Christian men, some of whom are in the LNP, and some of whom gave Malcolm Turnbull his job. Could this perhaps go some way to explaining the PM’s bizarre reluctance to acknowledge the Orlando massacre for what it clearly is? A murderous attack on a particular community because of that community’s sexual orientation.

Whether or not the murderer was informed by other political motives as well does not alter the fact of his choice of target.

Let’s not forget that Turnbull recently bowed to pressure from Christian homophobes to gut a Safe Schools program that sought to educate, and protect LGBTQI kids from bullying, depression and suicide.

Let’s not forget that Turnbull has decided on a completely unnecessary and highly expensive plebiscite on marriage equality, an event that will permit all manner of hate and bigotry against LGBTQI people free expression.

Let’s not forget that Turnbull has firmly established himself on a vile homophobic continuum (making himself clearly part of the problem) that begins with playground bullying, and ends in the mass slaughter of gays who’ve just gone out dancing for the evening.

This is our Prime Minister, people. The man who denies the dead their identity. The man who dares not speak the word.

This article was originally published on No Place For Sheep.


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  1. Jack Russell

    Sooooooooo many many many words that Malicious can’t/won’t say…

  2. sj


  3. SGB

    Well said – we must not forget that this Prime Minister is the leader of a party where the majority of the ladership team, and the back benchers, are openly anti gay.

  4. Carol Taylor

    I noted a comment from someone in Turnbull’s electorate that the only time that Turnbull has been remotely interested in LGBTQI issues was when he needed the votes of the gay community. After that, dropped like hot cakes. The fact is, since that time Turnbull has done nothing, said nothing and was quite aghast at the suggestion that he might cross the floor to vote on the marriage equality issue, his response being that he would *shock* have to give up his front bench possie. One has to get a perspective about such things, that which was important and that which served a useful purpose but now no longer is. This effort in being able to slot in a mention of terrorist threats (be alert and be alarmed) is Tony Abbott at his opportunistic finest.

  5. wam

    Shame the battler from vaucluse has lost his principles but PM is clearly worth it and so say all the precedents?
    Hird and the bombers got the method and result terribly wrong but the theory was perfect for PMs since Gough.
    “Whatever it takes”.
    Little johnnie, the rabbott and the septic hairpiece were/are the pits but this man stinks.

  6. kerri

    OMG!!! that opening paragraph? Could you be any more accurate Jennifer Wilson?
    Yes! Indeed! Let us not forget that Turnbull is a newly minted god botherer and that no Liberal has, or will ever forget the extraordinary mileage that lying little rodent” Howard got from 911.
    It is extremely difficult to detect a right winger whose political interests extend beyond self!

  7. Matters Not

    We do know that a man walked into a bar with a couple of guns and killed and wounded lots of people. Most would agree with that ‘fact’. Nevertheless, the ‘meaning’ that’s subsequently given is across the spectrum.

    Surely the ‘meaning’ comes from the act. Like a light from a candle. But apparently not. There are so many people who are giving different ‘meanings’.

    How is it so? Is the ‘act’, the generator of ‘meaning’? Or is ‘meaning’ generated by the observer? If it’s the ‘act’ that generates the ‘meaning’ then why are there so many (different) ‘meanings’ floating about? After all it’s not the ‘act’ that’s in question. Only the meaning(s) that are subsequently given. Or perhaps I don’t understand this ‘meaning’ thing.

    Please explain.

  8. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Hear, hear Jennifer Wilson.

    If Malcolm Muck can’t pay respect properly then he should just shut up.

  9. paul walter

    MN, politics is involved..tonight’s Drum exposes how the US right and Trump in particular have seized on thé issue to hammer muslims and conjure the terrierism demon, over a worthwhile examination of US society and its gun culture.. NRA rules, as usual.

  10. Matters Not

    paul walter, yes I watched The Drum (on tape) but the point I am trying to make is beyond this particular ‘act’. My point is that ‘acts’ do not emit ‘meanings’. Rather people give particular and peculiar ‘meanings’ to acts.

    As to what ‘meanings’ might be given, one needs to look at historical, social, political, cultural (and the like) forces.

    A ‘meaning’ given today will not necessarily be the same ‘meaning’ given in a different socio-political-historical era. And those forces can be also applied to individuals.

    When people say ‘this means … What they are really revealing is the ‘meaning’ they give to ‘acts’ or whatever. People are the ‘meaning makers’. Not external events.

    It’s why historians and social scientists, in general, disagree. Not about the facts. But the meanings that ought to be given.

  11. Deanna Jones

    Thank you so much, Jennifer. Many of us in the LGBT community are traumatised and have spent the day looking out for each other. I have been trying to communicate to straight people that the act of voting in favour of continued discrimination against us and the act of shooting us, both come from the same fundamental attitude that sees us as less than human. Thanks again.

  12. paul walter

    No probs, MN.

  13. paul walter

    Ginny Lowndes’ clip is so instructive..they try to exploit the tragedy for ideological purposes, Owen Jones strenuously bells that cat, so typical right wingers, they ignore his points..but Owen is also an insider, knows the game and walks out in justifiable disgust.

    What a pity the host in particular and the other panelist weren’t at Orlando, instead of the victims…beneath contemptible.

  14. Max Gross

    Make no mistake, Turnbull sold his arse and whatever principles he may have held for the one thing he coveted all his life above all: the chance to be prime minister, if only for a few short, shameful months.

  15. silkworm

    Turnbull’s insistence that the Orlando slaughter was an attack on our “freedoms” was utterly offensive. And good on Owen Jones for walking out on Sky Newws over their lack of sensitivity.

  16. paul walter

    He was right when he said it was an attack on our freedoms. The question is, was he being mealy mouthed talking of “terrierism” rather than correctly drawing attention to Orlando as as a hate crime and something at bottom to do with OUR society and culture as currently operative, rather than looking for outsiders to deflect blame on.

    As for the Owen Jones clip, I still marvel at the ignorance and arrogance of the host and the other panelist with their deliberate black propaganda agenda and techniques..

  17. Sam

    The joke is, that no matter how much Turnbull tries to curry favour with the right wing in the media and indeed his own party, they will always still view him as a ‘dirty leftie’, Sure they might throw in with him to keep power for themselves but they will constantly bury him at every opportunity they get. See for example Andrew Bolt who can’t stop eulogizing Tony Abbott as the Prime Minister we needed and should still have but talks about Turnbull ignoring the people and hanging with his leftie mates on the ABC even though he’s no better than Abbott and all bar the likes of him can see this.

  18. Kronomex

    Turnbull can’t say anything because of the fear he has of the rabid right wing religious loonies who helped him become PM which only goes to show how gutless he is. Better to be a silent coward AND PM than standing up to them.

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