Hastie calls for more robust protections after being labelled a ‘homophobe’

The President of Rainbow Labor WA has been criticised for calling Liberal MP Andrew Hastie a “homophobe”.

The conservative MP has criticised the comments that were made at a marriage equality event, and said they are example of why greater protections will be needed for freedom of speech if the ‘Yes’ campaign are successful in the marriage postal survey.

Mandurah Mail have reported that Andrew Skinner, a member of Senator Louise Pratt’s staff, was speaking in support of a ‘Yes’ outcome in the postal survey on marriage, when he spoke out against the federal member for Canning.

Skinner is the Western Australian President of Rainbow Labor, a branch of the Labor party that represents LGBTI interests and members.

“I just want to point out that your local member, the member for Canning Andrew Hastie, he voted for this, he voted for the postal survey [because] he is a homophobe, he doesn’t respect your love.” Skinner told supporters attending the event.

“This survey has been extremely hurtful, I am disappointed that people like Andrew Hastie get a platform to tell us our children aren’t loved in the same way that children from nuclear families are loved.”

Skinner opened his speech at the Sunbreakers Restaurant on Saturday evening by clarifying he was not speaking on behalf of the Labor Party, and gave thanks for Senator Pratt and the state member for Mandurah, David Templeman, for their support for LGBTI rights.

“I don’t technically speak on behalf of the Labor Party, but I am a member and I work for our wonderful Labor Senator Louise Pratt, whose been fighting for marriage equality for about 20 years,” Skinner began.

“This debate hasn’t just been running for the past few weeks, this debate has been running for decades. All we are asking for is the right to marry the person we love, and nothing can stand in the way of that.”

Skinner went on to encourage those in the audience to Google ‘QLife’ – an LGBTI mental health support platform, sharing that he had even recommended the service to straight people, who were experiencing the effects of homophobia for the first time.

The Rainbow Labor President also shared a personal story of his ex-partner, who he says had their life saved by the Freedom Centre – a youth support service which the event was raising funds for.

Speaking to Mandurah Mail, Andrew Hastie said he did not care what “Rainbow Labor thinks or says about [him].”

“I do care about the thousands of respectful ‘No’ voters – are they homophobes too?”

“This sort of intolerance highlights the need for robust protections for freedom of conscience, speech, religion and parental rights if the ‘yes’ campaign is successful.”

Hastie was also critical of David Templeman, the Labor State Member for Mandurah who had sponsored the event.

“Does he support this intolerance too? He should make his position clear.” Hastie said.

David Templeman also spoke to Mandurah Mail, explaining that he was not interested in commenting on “one person’s opinion of another.”

“My view has always been that this issue should have been resolved in the Federal Parliament rather than through an expensive $120 million postal survey.”

Skinner’s boss, Senator Louise Pratt told the Mandurah Mail that Skinner was not speaking on her behalf or in his role as President of Rainbow Labor.

Senator Pratt said Hastie was “out of touch” on the issue of same sex marriage and “throwing all his political energy behind his own radical right wing ideological agenda”.

Hastie has been a vocal opponent of marriage equality in Australia, but has previously stated he would vote in favour of same-sex marriage should his electorate be in favour of a ‘Yes’ outcome.

The Western Australian MP is currently working with other conservative parliamentarians, including Senator Eric Abetz, to lobby for between 60 to 100 amendments to the bill that has currently been put forward by Liberal Senator Dean Smith.

In recent weeks the MP has launched a campaign to stop the Australian Defence Force from providing gender reassignment surgery to personnel experiencing gender dysphoria.

The former SAS officer has also called on the army, navy and air force to tighten up their recruitment processes to avoid people who experience gender dysphoria from getting into the armed forces.

OIP Staff

Andrew Skinner was contacted for comment.

Do you need some support?

If you are struggling with anxiety or depression, support and counselling are available from:

Lifeline: 13 11 14

Beyondblue: and www.beyondblue.org.au

QLife: and www.qlife.org.au
QLife are a counselling and referral service for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) people.

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