Author Benjamin Law criticised over Twitter comments

On the day his quarterly essay is released, author Benjamin Law has been criticised over a tweet he made late last month.

Law, best known for his autobiographical book The Family Law, which inspired the popular SBS sitcom, is the author of the latest Quarterly Essay which focuses on the Safe Schools program.

Titled Moral Panic 101: Equality, Acceptance and the Safe Schools Scandal the essay provides and in-depth analysis of the controversial anti-bullying program and concerns raised about transgender youth. Extracts of the essay were published by Fairfax Media over the weekend and the full text will be available in bookstores today.

Today The Australian and other News Corp websites have highlighted a tweet Law sent on August 31, describing his comments as “vile”.

On August 31st, the author posted “Sometimes find myself wondering if I’d hate-f*** all the anti-gay MPs in parliament if it meant they got the homophobia out of their system.”

Law’s Twitter followers suggested some MPs he might like to begin with including outspoken Western Australian MP Andrew Hastie. Law responded to the suggestion tweeting back “[sighs heavily, unzips pants].”

Andrew Hastie has hit back at the suggesting noting his former career as a SAS officer. “Noting my skills acquired in my previous ­career, I’d like to see him try.” Hastie told The Australian. 

Hastie told The Australian that it was inappropriate for Law to make a joke about using sex as a weapon.

“If anyone on the No campaign jokingly suggested using sex as a weapon against Yes campaigners, there’d be immediate calls for their resignation and marginalisation. Instead this guy gets a 20,000-word platform from Quarterly Essay.”

Law however is not backing down telling The Australian that he’d be happy to discuss the issues of his essay with the Western Australian politician.

 “Sure, the member for Canning has decent cheekbones, but he’s a little too clean-cut for my tastes.” Law said.

“It’s cute Andrew Hastie would presume to think I’m talking about him. However, it’s also telling — and worrying — that the member for Canning sees the phrase ‘anti-gay MP’ and immediately ­assumes I’m referring to him. If Andrew Hastie has specific reservations about the contents of my Quarterly Essay on Safe Schools, I’d welcome his thoughts over email or beers.”

Queensland MP George Christensen is another MP that Law’s Twitter followers nominated as a politician as having a high level of homophobia.

Christensen told News Corp that he considered Law’s comments to be “vile”

“It’s ironic that most supporters of Safe Schools say they support it because it’s anti-bullying and yet they engage in some of the worst online bullying you’d ever ­encounter.” Christensen said.

The Coalition for Marriage, the umbrella organisation of the No Campaign for marriage equality has labeled the comments as disgusting, saying those who want marriage equality are trying to introduce radical sex and gender programs into schools.

“Vile and disgusting behaviour from same-sex marriage advocates as they call for compulsory radical LGBTIQ sex and gender programs in all schools.” the group posted to its Facebook account.

In his essay Law highlights the leading role The Australian newspaper has played in the debate over the anti-bullying program and highlights potential bias in their coverage.

Today Law was nominated for a Honour Award. The New South Wales based awards highlight outstanding achievements made by individuals, organisations and businesses connected with the local LGBTI community.

Law was nominated in the entertainment category for his acclaimed TV series, The Family Law, which the awards say brings to mainstream viewers a real portrait of modern Australia as it explores contemporary issues such as family, sexuality and multiculturalism.

OIP Staff

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