Shorten surfs the Orlando wave

23 June 2016

7:20 AM

23 June 2016

7:20 AM

Surf’s up and Bill Shorten is taking off on a pink set he hopes will carry Labor back into government on July 2. Call it the ‘Orlando Wave’.

After the Pulse nightclub terrorist atrocity, many — including Barack Obama — claimed Omar Mateen committed an “act of hate” spurred by homophobia.

Shorten has seen his chance to catch the wave, and is using Orlando to renew his opposition to the same-sex marriage plebiscite promised by Malcolm Turnbull.

For one thing, says Shorten, a plebiscite will be a huge waste of money. For another, it will be a tax-payer funded platform for homophobia.

Shorten is obsessed with hate and falls back on it as the only possible reason for why people might disagree with his progressive agenda.

“We will gift every Australian an equal right in respect of love,” he said at the ALP campaign launch. Disagree with that, and you must be a hater.

But hate doesn’t clarify what’s at stake — it only obscures it. Hate has its roots in strong emotions and abnormal mental states. Terrorism has its roots in politics.

Shorten and the progressive left view the issue of same-sex marriage through the emotional lens of hatred because they can’t imagine any rational objection to it.

Self-satisfied with their own tolerance of others, they are unable to understand why others — such as conservative Muslims — shouldn’t tolerate them.

Viewed like that, Orlando can only be explained not as a political act, but by a mental disorder; in this case, homophobia. Mental illness trumps politics.

By persisting with the falsehood that a plebiscite will be a tax-payer funded exercise in hatred, Shorten shows himself to be out of touch.

Beyond the inner circle of the bien pensants, many Australians are perfectly accepting of homosexuality but want to retain the traditional meaning of marriage.

They resent their opposition to gay marriage — whether for political, social or religious reasons — being dismissed as a mental illness.

This attack on the good nature of Australians might backfire on Shorten when voters go the polls.

Far from dismissing his opponents as mentally ill, Shorten needs to trust Australians to act responsibly when it comes to redefining marriage.

By threatening to remove the decision from the people, Shorten shows how little respect he has for the voters whose support he now desperately needs.

The Orlando Wave may yet turn out to be a reef break.

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