The Real Obstacle To Equality

JAM Project: Scott Morrison “Not Welcome” Pollie Cracker exhibition by Jenna Bloom at Blasklisted Gallery @ Black Penny bar, Surry Hills

This is  a tale of two Morrisons, and how Malcolm Turnbull is being held hostage on M.E. by the Religious Right

Like many I applauded the then Army Chief David Morrison for his stand sexual harassment and gender equality in 2013. This is In no small part because I served in the army back in the 1980’s and have direct experience of the underlying culture that has been so cruel to women and gay serving members.

2016 Australian of the Year Morrison is also known for his acceptance and support of Trans ADF members, and famously said on a video message to army personnel

“If you become aware of any individual degrading another, then show moral courage and take a stand against it,” adding, “The standard you walk past is the standard you accept.”

Unfortunately another Morrison does not display the same level of morality or personal integrity. He is none other than Australia’s current Treasurer and the hard-right poster boy Scott John Morrison. To quote one of his biographers back in December 2012,

“He seems to me to be a combative, greedy and uncaring person who has brutally clawed his way up through the hierarchies of each of his employers, leaving many behind who would rue having met him. He seems to be applying the same skill-set to his political life and it would be well for Tony Abbott to watch his back.”

Yes, it does seem prophetic in hindsight. This is the same man who attests that his faith has given him “the values of loving kindness, justice and righteousness”, listing anti-slavery campaigner William Wilberforce among his heroes.

Morrison used to be an active member of the Uniting Church in Bondi Junction, where his father and former policeman says he became “a dedicated Christian”. Morrison has also been described as a “muscular Christian in his father’s mould” who, interestingly, has family links to the Protestant Orangemen of Belfast.

Now, Morrison, a self described ‘Pentecostal Evangelical’, is a member of Shirelive, an evangelical mega church where the gospel of prosperity is preached in an auditorium seating over 1000 evangelicals. He hails the founder of Hillsong, Brian Houston as a mentor: the same Brian Houston who failed to ethically address his father Frank’s delight in sex with young boys.

What I find interesting is this statement from the 2010 President of the Uniting Church (and Morrison’s former place of worship), The Reverend Alistair MaCrae, who said:

“Mr Abbott and Mr Morrison who both proudly proclaim their Christian faith, ‘love thy neighbour and ‘do unto others as you would have them do unto you,’ have failed to demonstrate any commitment to one of the Judeo-Christian tradition’s most enduring directives ‘welcome the stranger.’”

Also, Peter Hartcher, February 19, 2011 in the Sydney Morning Herald, called Morrison

“The greatest grub in Federal Parliament. A cheap populist with form! For him it’s just about clever lines…. Consequences for himself and his party are all that matters.”

But what really matters here is what Morrison says in his own words regarding Marriage Equality which can be seen here.

“The fundamental reason for my position was well summarised by our former Prime Minister, Hon John Howard AC, who stated when legislating the current definition ‘marriage, as we understand it in our society, is about children, raising them, providing for the survival of the species, and I think if the same status is given in our society to gay unions as are given to traditional marriage we will weaken that bedrock institution.’”

Do you see any similarity in his arguments to those of the ACL and the Anti-Marriage Equality groups?

The simple reality is that when Malcolm Turnbull toppled Tony Abbott he needed Scott Morrison to get the numbers. Morrison appeals to those sections of the Liberal party who are embarrassed by the likes of Cory Bernardi, but still hold conservative social views. The MPs who don’t wish to alienate the Christian voters in their electorates, especially in the many seats with a margin of less that 3%. As long as Turnbull needs Morrison to survive, Marriage Equality will keep being “kicked into the long grass” and the plebiscite will be a low priority.

So, as Morrison makes his appearance at the upcoming A.C.L. conference, recognise him for what he is. The man with the numbers, who is going to use that leverage to frustrate the LGBTI community on the issue of marriage equality any way he can. Morrison, the greatest grub in Federal Parliament, Evangelical Christian with mentors who hide child abuse. A person who political insiders use the “C” bomb to describe: the real obstacle to Marriage Equality.

About the author

Known for his advocacy on LGBTI issues, such as Safe Schools and Marriage Equality, & raising awareness of issues around special religious education in public schools, Stephen is a gay parent of two currently living in Brisbane Australia who has worked in a variety of roles from manufacturing, sales, consulting, and residential youth work.