Academic suggests LGBTIQA+ people should be cautious if visiting Italy

Academic Ben Wellings says LGBTIQA+ people and members of other visible minority groups should carefully consider any travel to Italy following the Brothers of Italy party winning the country’s election over the weekend.

The party is led by Giorgia Meloni, who is set to become Italy’s first female Prime Minister. The party has historical links to fascism and in her youth Meloni spoke about her admiration of former dictator Benito Mussolini. The leader has subsequently distanced herself from her previous comments.

Wellings, a senior lecturer in politics and international relations at Monash University told The West Australian that the party had an anti-LGBTIQA+ stance, as well as being opposed to abortion, and against the European Union.

“If you’re in one of those groups, you might want to think carefully about whether to go,” Wellings told Ben O’Shea the host of The West Live podcast.

“If you’re part of a visible minority you might want to think about that too.”

The academic said he did not envisage Italy returning to the political landscape that existed in the inter-war period, but said it was another European government that was rejecting plurality.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, who maintain the Australian government’s Smart Traveller website do not currently have any official warnings relating to LGBT people visiting Italy. The information was last updated in June.

Political discussion over just how right-wing the incoming government will become has been a point of political conjecture.

Speaking on Sky News on Monday night 6PR Executive Producer and social commentator Karalee Katsambanis said it was disappointing that Meloni’s history-making achievement of becoming Italy’s first female Prime Minister was not being celebrated more.

“She’s a conservative, she’s not far-right, she’s actually described in Italy as centre-right.” Katsambanis said, rejecting suggestions that Italians had elected a fascist government.

“She has said she will govern for all Italians, and none of us are there in Italy at the moment, so we need to give her a fair chance. She’s got a good sense of humour, she’s conservative, she’s for family values and protecting the borders, and creating opportunities for Italy.” Katsambanis said.

Greg Sheridan, Foreign Editor at The Australian praised Meloni on The Bolt Report, telling host Andrew Bolt that it was wrong to describe Italy’s new Prime Minister as a fascist.

“She is no fascist…she is no fascist at all. She once belonged to a moment that had been founded by people who had been fascists in World War II, and she joined them when she was fifteen, but even then, they had been obeying the rules, and living and playing according to democratic rules for decades.

“Since then, the party that she is involved with is the result of about twelve evolutions after that. It is an absolutely good centre-right party.” Sheridan said.

The political commentator said he found Meloni’s stance against “identity politics” to be “splendid”.

“I think this is a bracing, splendid election result, and she’s defied the zeitgeist.” Sheridan said. “She is certainly no fascist.”

OIP Staff

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