Bill Shorten’s hate speech problem: Questioned by priest Ian Powell over gay marriage comments

Bill Shorten’s hate speech problem: Questioned by priest Ian Powell over gay marriage comments, by Joe Kelly.

Bill Shorten has been questioned by an Anglican priest about his attitude to proponents of traditional marriage as he was leaving a church service this morning in Canberra before the opening of the 45th parliament. …

Reverend Powell took issue with comments Mr Shorten had made during the election campaign in the third federal election debate, which was held online, in mid-June just weeks before the 2016 election date:

“And you described people who weren’t in favour of changing the definition of marriage as haters who come out from under rocks.”

“Can I ask you not speak, because I know lots of people like that … Please don’t speak like that about other Australians so we can have a civil and tolerant discussion rather than the hate speech coming from, at our perspective.”

Shorten used poli-speak to try and wiggle out of it:

Mr Shorten asked Mr Powell to quote him properly. “If you’re going to quote me, quote me accurately,” he said.

Mr Shorten is widely reported as indeed having said it, so this implication that Powell is misquoting him so the offense is Powell’s is just typical postmodern politics, twisting and disrespecting the truth.

(Here is David Crowe, reporting in the Australian on  (“Federal election 2016: plebiscite branded a ‘homophobia platform’“, 20 Jun 2016):

Asked yesterday how Labor would vote on a plebiscite bill, Labor Senate leader Penny Wong only argued the plebiscite would be a platform for homophobia.

Mr Turnbull has rejected those arguments in recent days and rebuked Mr Shorten in Friday’s leaders’ debate for claiming the “haters” would “come out from under a rock” in a plebiscite.

It was certainly noticed by the  Christian community (“Why we need a plebiscite“, 21 Jun 2016):

This follows Mr Shorten’s claim in the leaders’ debate on Friday that a plebiscite would encourage the “haters” to “come out from under a rock”.

Here is video of Mr Shorten in that debate (see from 54 seconds in the video on this SMH site), where he says:

…hate and extremism does [sic] exist in modern societies. And I don’t want to give the haters a chance to come out from underneath the rock and make life harder for LGBTI people.

So Reverend Powell was correct, while Mr Shorten was misdirecting and dishonest in that postmodern way, in effect denying his previous hate speech. The offence and shame is entirely Mr Shorten’s.)

More on Reverend Powell’s rebuke of Mr Shorten:

Mr Shorten said that people of faith could be “opposed to marriage equality” but asked Reverend Powell to recognise that “some people who objective to marriage equality do have homophobic attitudes.”

The Reverend agreed with this proposition but later told reporters that if there was to be a sensible, intelligent and tolerant discussion on same sex marriage, Australian politicians needed to “model that rather than taking cheap, nasty, untruthful shots at people.”

Another instance of Mr Shorten indulging in hate speech jumps to mind, perhaps because it was aimed at a group of which I am a member. Talking about climate change in 2015 Mr Shorten said:

And no area of scientific inquiry in the past 30 years has been more rigorously tested, scrutinised and peer-reviewed. So let’s not pretend we have an obligation to give equal weight, coverage and credence to the babble of denialist militia.

Untrue, and you’ve got it wrong Mr Shorten. You should have done some homework, such as establishing a red team or Royal Commission to investigate the truth, before jumping on board this ideologically-charged scientific untruth and spending many billions of taxpayer dollars. By the way, it is all due to a simple modelling error that dates back to 1896. I reckon I could explain it to you in about twenty minutes if you were prepared to listen.