I’ve always looked at people like Mia Freedman and been intrigued by the level of self-importance it must take to lecture everyone about tolerance from a self-appointed position on the moral high ground. Recent events have highlighted that the way people such as Freedman maintain this high ground is by failing to practice what they preach and embarking on campaigns of hypocrisy.
While I expected a level of backlash over my appearance on Four Corners where I again spoke openly about my sexuality and view that marriage should not be redefined. And, as is the course, I expected some of that feedback to be less than respectful, to put it gently. But what I didn’t expect was the great moraliser, Mia Freedman to send a broadside. I found it to be a particular surprise given her previous statements such as:
Here’s what I hate about the idea of a plebiscite on same-sex marriage… The thought that LGBTI Australians will have to endure a government funded campaign by homophobes masquerading as ‘traditionalists’ who will use words like “unnatural” and “won’t someone think of the children” to stoke fear and hatred in our community.
Despite her previously enunciated fear of “hatred” towards gay people, Freedman posted on Twitter to her followers:
It was so bizarre to see a gay staffer in @SenatorAbetz’s office interviewed on the ABC. Internalised homophobia? Baffling.
A simple Google search reveals that internalised homophobia is a condition where someone suffers self-loathing or self-hatred on the basis of their sexuality. Take the tip, someone suffering from this condition probably wouldn’t be talking about their sexuality on national television or writing about it online.
As soon as I became aware of the Tweet, I issued a statement highlighting the ugliness of this suggestion. Instead of apologising or even removing the Tweet, Freedman – in a pretty weak attempt at rewriting history – issued a fresh Tweet accusing Senator Abetz of homophobia with another indirect mention of me.
Freedman’s statements give an insight into the mind of one of the leaders of the lefty lynch mob. Firstly, the fact that the only way she could rationalise someone bit agreeing with her and saying that they’re gay and don’t support same-sex marriage was to immediately smear them by alleging they are suffering from self-hatred. Her view that support for traditional marriage as of necessity must somehow mean homophobia is part of the approach of the left in seeking to shout down opponents.
As much as Freedman might dislike it, gay people come from all walks of life – including conservatives and political staffers. To suggest that my sexuality should dictate where I work or the public policy positions I should hold are completely inconsistent with her constant hectoring of others about “tolerance”.
Furthermore, as I’ve previously written, there are many valid reasons to oppose a change to the definition of marriage and a number of gay people, like me, happen to agree with those reasons.
Sadly, Freedman isn’t alone in her hypocrisy – albeit there are varying degrees. Journalists like Mark Di Stefano from Buzz Feed and Josh Taylor from Crikey on Twitter can never bring themselves to use my name and instead have referred to me on Twitter as “Abetz’s gay staffer”.
The difference between me and this collection of lefties is that I actually believe in free speech whereas they believe that the government should be able to shut people down for saying things that don’t conform to their narrow worldview like, for instance, with section 18C.
As much as I might dislike what Freedman or others have said about me, I respect their right to say whatever they like and in doing so recognise that I similarly have the freedom of speech to call them out as engaging in idiotic rank hypocrisy. But the trade-off of having such a freedom is to use it responsibly. That means if you say something outrageous that, on reflection, you might not have intended then you apologise.
It’s disappointing that Freedman, now five days on, continues to stand by her ignorant musings on social media.
But even more disappointing is the mainstream media’s reluctance to pursue Freedman’s comments against me. I simply ask, just imagine if it was a conservative accusing Freedman of a similar condition or if I or someone like Abetz started referring to people as “Fairfax gay journalist” – there would be mass outrage from the lefty lynch mob and widespread media coverage.
While it’s always going to be a tall order seeking to have conservatives treated equally to lefties – it’s time that conservatives do a better job in calling out these inconsistencies and demand action. I for one won’t be holding back and I hope others start highlighting this too.
Josh Manuatu is the Development Director of the Federal Young Liberals and is a staffer to Eric Abetz. He is on Twitter at @JoshManuatu