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August 3, 2021

An open letter to Barnaby Joyce

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Barnaby Joyce. Photo Tree Faerie.
Barnaby Joyce. Photo Tree Faerie.

Dear Mr Joyce,

No scrub that ‘dear’ – there’s no love lost here. Maybe I should call you Barnaby. Or perhaps just Joyce would be more fitting.

I note with some consternation that you have called on the advocates for marriage equality to be a bit less vocal, a bit less ‘in your face’.

Let’s get this right, shall we? There are no less than three alternative bills prepared to remove the current bias of the Australian Marriage Act towards ‘people like you’. A definition, by the way, that is not ‘age old’ as its advocates insist, but was introduced by your side of government in 2004 (just 13 years ago) with the stated intention of dealing with ‘people like me’.

Well it didn’t. And after years of denial, prevarication and downright procrastination your government could not agree to actually pass any of the bills that would have afforded ‘people like me’ the same rights accorded every other Australian citizen.

What did ‘people like you’ do instead? You demanded a national vote, preceded by a national debate.

So the same government that doesn’t hesitate to declare war on other countries and send young men and women (including ‘people like me’) to their deaths at the stroke of a pen, runs to water when it involves actually taking a vote on giving us our rights as citizens of this country.

But of course you will have to vote, Joycie, when the time comes. Once the voluntary survey/ postal plebiscite is actually approved, which ‘people like me’ firmly believe it will be, you will still have to do what you are being paid for. Assuming, Joycie, that you are actually entitled to vote given your possible status as a citizen of another country. (Another inconvenient truth but we’ll leave that one to the court to work out.)

When you do vote, will you be a man of integrity and vote the way the country has asked you to, or will you revert to type to ensure that, regardless of the outcome of the plebiscite, ‘people like me’ continue to be denied the rights the rest of the country take for granted?

I’m sure that whichever way it goes you will command plenty of media time to express your opinion – or justify your position.

Just as you commanded plenty of media time the other day imploring us to stop advocating our position ‘in your face’. Why? Because ‘people like you’ are tired of trying to find reasoned responses to our rational arguments perhaps?

So when you complain that the love that dare not speak its name has become the love that just won’t shut up, remember whose idea this perverse and painful plebiscite was.

And, Joycie, if you’re feeling over the whole campaign that ‘people like you’ breathed life into, remember: ‘people like’ me have had to put up with it and argue it day in and day out, taking every damned insult and slight on the chin while speaking positively about the results.

Remember too, it is ‘people like me’ who will be affected by those results: whichever way the vote goes, it will affect nobody else’s lives but ours.

Chris Dobney

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  1. Spot on, Chris! ‘The love that dare not speak its name’ has been forced
    into defending its very being – an insult that’s beyond description let
    alone the ‘pretence’ of what passes as humankind. People ‘like me’
    stand with you.

  2. I dont blame Barnaby one bit. Having placards and posters pushed in your face by screaming homosexuals is more than any man should be asked to bear, politicians or not.

  3. Far right wingers like Barnaby all seem to sing from the same hymn book.
    They are climate change deniers, coal industry supporters, homophobic and racist.
    Time to boot people of his ilk out of Parliament.
    We desperately need an election.
    How about November?

  4. I am not homophobic or racist and have many gay friends who I love and admire but when it comes being legally joined I am dead against them using the title of “marriage” which is fully the domain of the joining of man and woman.
    I am all for gay couples being legally joined and recognized but not under the same heading as man and woman.
    Perhaps a title such as “united” might be appropriate.
    I know it is a bit late for this idea to be put forward but,hey, better late than never. Actually, I have been hoping that one of the major parties may have put this consept into the mix.


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