Politics

This Senator Is Worried That Kids Might Learn That Gay Dads Exist

Set the "Days Since The Government Said Something Homophobic" counter back to zero.

Liberal Senator Ian Macdonald

Government Senator Ian Macdonald has a long, rich history of saying and doing stupid shit — like wearing a giant pro-Adani earring, or telling a Scottish-born colleague to “speak English”. Sadly, Macdonald’s long career in the Senate is about to come to an end after his own party decided it had had enough of him.

But it’s always best to go out in style, which is why the “father of the Senate” managed to drop some casually homophobic remarks during a Senate committee hearing in Sydney this morning.

Macdonald is the chair of a Senate committee looking into a bill that would protect LGBTIQ+ students and teachers from discrimination in schools. Both the government and Labor agree that LGBTIQ+ people should be protected, but they don’t agree on the best way to do it, which is why there are a bunch of amendments to the bill floating around at the moment.

In Sydney this morning, the committee was hearing from several groups, including the Australian Christian Lobby and the Australian Human Rights Commission. Human Rights Commissioner Edward Santow was speaking in favour of the amendments, saying they would give certainty and support to rainbow families, including families with two dads.

That’s when Macdonald chimed in: “The example given was someone having two dads and the rainbow family children, and other children might not have felt comfortable about that,” he said. “The alternative also applies for the majority of families who might not want their children to think about children with two dads. Whether that’s right or wrong is irrelevant from my point of view, but it does show that other people have rights too.”

Imagine the horror! Those poor kids learning that their school friend actually has two dads, or maybe even two mums, or — gasp — a single parent! It’s almost too much to think about.

Greens LGBTIQ+ spokesperson Janet Rice, whose partner is a trans woman and who is also on the committee, told Junkee that Macdonald’s comments illustrate why the new laws are so important.

“According to Ian McDonald’s flawless logic, his personal uneasiness about two men sharing a bed means that school students shouldn’t know if their friends have gay dads. Or something,” she said. “His comments demonstrate exactly why we need to remove discrimination against LGBTIQ+ people in schools. We LGBTIQ+ people exist, it’s time McDonald gets over it.”

The hearing continues in Sydney today and is likely to report back when Parliament resumes next week. What happens from there is anyone’s guess, because the government keeps fucking around with the bill.