Sunday, December 19, 2004


Following Larry Kramer's attack on the US Human Rights Commission, and the suggestion that they might work with the Bush administration , supporting the privatisation of social security in return for the recognition of inclusion of gay and lesbian couples, the National Gay & Lesbian Taskforce responded with an open letter in the press. HRC declined to sign.


What better statement can you have of our rights? Wise words for our own times and country, too . . . .

"although the struggle for freedom can be difficult and painful for those without full equality, it would be an historic mistake to grow tired of the battle or surrender basic rights and equality in order to make the road easier."

"We will not sacrifice our rights—or the rights of others like senior citizens on the altar of political expediency. Most of us, if confronted with that choice, would not even know where to begin. Which right would we give up?

The right to adopt children? The right to serve our country proudly and with honor? The right to be at our partner’s bedside in death? . . . . "

"Nothing short of full equality and protection granted to all other American citizens is acceptable."

Couldn't have put it better myself.

So I won't.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

The Village Voice: Nation: 'You Can Never Not Fight Back!' by Alisa Solomon

The Village Voice: Nation: 'You Can Never Not Fight Back!' by Alisa Solomon

Good old Larry Kramer - what a wonderful parcel of advice for all those arse-kissers who think we should be cosying up to the Howard government because they might be what we have to work with for the next six years.

His advice to US lobbyists is equally true for Aussie ones: their job is not to ask, beg, or request, it is to demand, and who cares if they don't like it? What worse can they do that what they're already doing?

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Time to get nasty

Now that I’ve finished my on-air duties for the week, I wanted to have a rant about the despicable craven piece of advice masquerading as 'being realistic' in MCV last week, on how to deal with the Howard government.

In essence it said that the gay community had to pick some new leaders willing to engage with ministers and bureaucrats, not activists who want said ministers etc. thrown out, and who embarrass them in public by holding nasty things like demonstrations, mouthing off about their homophobia etc. etc. We have to accept we can only work for little changes, give up on our dreams, accept whatever crumbs they condescend to drop.

Well, as my good mate Kaye Sera would say, “Pardon Me, Mary!”

You can dress up in your Armani suits, pack your shiny black leather briefcases with glossy position papers, and make all the smooth and soothing noises you like: the minute we hit Canberra it’ll be “Down on your knees boy, and give me tongue.” And then they’ll walk away with a grin, having given nothing in return, except a bad taste in our mouths.

This government isn’t interested in us. Never mind gay marriage – it won’t even fund AIDS tests. The Minister for Health said on World Aids Day – if I may paraphrase, “It’s your own stupid fault, just stop fucking each other and it’ll go away.” We can bow and scrape all we like, the message is clear – fuck off and die, faggots.

Instead of sitting around wondering how best to grovel, we should take a leaf out of America’s book. Yes, I know all the gay marriage constitutional bans got up. Yes, I know George Bush got elected. And I can hear from here the cries of “cultural cringe” and “ Australia’s not America”. No, it bloody isn’t, more's the pity. Do you see the Yanks sitting around whining about how to make people like them? Trying to work out the most appealing way to crawl to their enemies?

No – they conduct earnest symposia, such as the recent one for young activists, studying the strategy and tactics of the Christian groups that defeated us and said, OK, the God Squad were very successful. Let’s learn from that – borrow some of the same tactics for our side.

Did couples wanting to marry in Oregon, New York, California etc. etc. cry into their beers saying, “It’s no good, they’ll never give it to us, boo hoo.” ? Maybe for about five minutes – then they were back in the press, on TV, in the courts, battling on.

Did the HRC stick with the strategy their chair had fashioned? No, they booted her out and got in some fresh thinkers.

We have to get off our butts and sue, attack, embarrass, upset, out and damage this bunch of smug murderous idiots with all the power at our disposal, not queue up to beg for a job wiping their bums. We don’t have the Democrats – they imploded. We don’t have the Greens – they didn’t get up. We don’t have Labor – they’re in thrall to the Catholics and the Aspirational Assholes. We only have ourselves.

The gloves have to come off.

If there are any closet gay pollies we know of in Canberra who won’t speak up for us, any gay journalist, lawyer, professor who won’t go to bat for us, out them. If media tarts badmouth us, sue their tits off. If lunatic clergymen gut up on their hind legs and call us pagans on a par with wife-stranglers and widow burners, as one opponent of NZ civil unions did, sue them, ridicule them, make their lives hell. Pay them back in their own coin. It’s time to stop being nice: that’s what got us where we are, ignored and left to rot. Now it’s time to get nasty.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

It’s déjà vu all over again

Once again I see John Howard but I hear the voice of the Maggatollah Thatcher. Curb the unions! Enforce secret ballots! Weaken or do away with unfair dismissal laws! Ban pattern bargaining! Outlaw the closed shop! Give management the freedom to manage and enterprise will blossom!

Am I missing something here? On the one hand people are complaining – and rightly – that employers are demanding more and more of our (unpaid) time, that work and life are seriously out of balance, that we have no choice but to work till we drop or else, that once you hit 50 no-one will employ you, that none of us will have a decent pension when and if we finally do retire. On the other hand everyone’s lining up to clobber the unions.

Hello, people, reality check time.

It was the unions that put an end to excessive working hours and thus allowed people to have leisure and family time.

It was the unions that made sure that if you had to work more than the basic number of hours in a day, at least you got paid for it.

It was the unions that made it possible for people – except those working in radio and television of course :-) - could go on holiday with some money in their pockets and the guarantee of a job to come back to.

It was the unions that made sure that people couldn’t be dismissed without proper thought or consideration for their futures and their families.

It was the unions that made sure people weren’t thrown on the scrapheap at 50 and left to starve.

The list goes on……..

Listen up people – there is a direct connection between the horrible working conditions you now have to endure to be allowed to earn a crust, and the weakened state of trade unions.

Individuals have no chance against the economic and social power of employers: unions supplied the essential balance that made sure people weren’t just ground up to suit the convenience of business.

Your life is out of balance because the employer-employee relationship is out of balance. And the only way to redress that balance is for employees to be organized in some way, otherwise we just get picked off one by one.

The biggest single domestic social challenge is indeed to reform the unions, not so that they have less power, but so that they can once again become an effective counterbalance – and so we can all get our lives back.