North Coast-based Liberal MLC Catherine Cusack has been targeted in an online attack against coalition supporters of last week’s Greens motion calling on the federal government to pass marriage equality legislation.
Ms Cusack described the attacks as ‘disgusting’, ‘horrifying’ and ‘homophobic’, and told media she believes at least some of her attackers are members of the Liberal Party.
She said that she received numerous comments on her Facebook page, many of which she said were ‘unrepeatable’ and reflected a homophobic element that she thought had disappeared from our commmunity.
Some of the insults levelled at her included comments such as, ‘Shame on you. You are a stupid fat cow,’ and ‘you are a sinner’ and a ‘disgrace to our nation’. One commenter also referred to a gay MP as a ‘poofter’.
Ms Cusack added that she now has grave concerns for the region’s gay youth, who had little support in confronting such levels of abuse.
‘Anyone experiencing what I went through, put onto a young person in the country, I would be very fearful for their health and wellbeing. We know suicide – and those sorts of outcomes – are the result. I think we need to deal with it. I think it’s something that needs to be put to bed once and for all.’
As a result Ms Cusack has called on federal opposition leader Tony Abbott to allow a conscience vote on the issue when it comes up for debate in federal parliament later this month.
‘The way that the Liberal Party deals with members who have views that are often quite contrary is that we allow a conscience vote,’ she told ABC radio this morning. ‘My call on Tony Abbott [is] to allow a conscience vote because that allows our party to deal respectfully with its own members and respectfully with the issues.
‘Imposing a party view on what is a moral issue is brewing what I can only describe as hatred – and it’s very concerning.’