GetUp calls for supporters to help win ‘parliament free of homophobes’

Former prime minister Tony Abbott
Photo: YouTube

Activist group GetUp has urged a group of volunteers to help them win “a parliament free of homophobes” in a new election message targeting Liberal MPs including Tony Abbott and Peter Dutton.

GetUp sent text messages on Wednesday night to volunteers who took part in the group’s campaign to call voters and advocate a “yes” vote in the 2017 marriage equality postal survey, the Guardian reported.

“You stepped up to call voters for marriage equality and we won,” the text message read.

“Now, we’re a month out from the election – our chance to win safe schools and a parliament free of homophobes.

“Can you re-enter the fray and join the fight to boot out Tony Abbott, Peter Dutton, and other hard right pollies?”

A spokesperson for the left-wing group said the campaign was “a peer to peer text, aiming to re-engage the people who made phone calls for marriage equality.”

“We want their help to rid parliament of hard-right wreckers who have out-of-date views on LGBTQ issues and actively campaigned against marriage equality,” the spokesperson said.

Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott was one of the highest-profile campaigners against same-sex marriage in the 2017 postal survey, saying the reform would “fundamentally change society” and after the “yes” result abstained from the final vote on the legislation in the parliament.

Abbott famously said in 2010 that homosexuals made him feel “threatened” but five years later said he believed that while it is “okay to be gay” he considered the “rights and dignity” of LGBTIQ people and the legalisation of same-sex marriage to be “two different issues.”

In February, Abbott was panned for attempting to take credit for the passage of marriage equality, despite campaigning against it for years.

Earlier this week GetUp withdrew and apologised for a campaign video showing a Tony Abbott lookalike dressed a lifesaver on a beach refusing to help a drowning swimmer, in a widely-criticised metaphor for Abbott’s past comments on climate change.

Last week it was reported that GetUp was coaching supporters in its “conversation guides” to tell voters that Liberal MP Kevin Andrews allegedly “advocated for discredited, damaging and cruel gay conversion therapy”.

Andrews told The Australian that GetUp’s statement was “defamatory”.

“I have never spoken or written about the subject [of gay conversion therapy],” Andrews said.

But GetUp said it would not amend its claims until Andrews publicly denounced the harmful practice, which research has found is a serious issue in some faith communities.

“If Kevin Andrews wishes to now correct the public record and offer his public opposition to the damaging practice of gay conversion therapy, we will happily amend our script to voters in his electorate,” a spokesperson said.

“We will instead reference his long history of outdated and damaging views on the LGBTQI community.”

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