LGBTIQ advocates this week urged the rescinding of the Order of Australia award bestowed on Bettina Arndt in January. Advocates from across the nation wrote to Government House to protest the honour. Each of the signatories previously themselves received an Order of Australia.
The advocates cite commentary by Arndt they describe as based on biased research. They claim Arndt’s commentary harms LGBTIQ people and their families.
Arndt received the honour in recognition of her ‘significant service to the community as a social commentator’. However, controversy dogged the award from the moment of the announcement.
The Council of the Order of Australia awards the honours and can recommend the Governor-General rescind them. It now appears the Council will review Arndt’s award because of her recent comments about domestic violence.
Senate motion condemning Bettina Arndt
On Tuesday, the Australian Senate also added to the widespread condemnation of Arndt’s remarks. Only One Nation’s Pauline Hanson and Malcolm Roberts opposed a motion describing the remarks as ‘reckless’ and ‘abhorrent’. The motion also condemned the “values that underpin Ms Arndt’s views on this horrific family violence.”
Former senator and LGBTIQ rights veteran, Brian Greig OAM, said the letter focusses on Ms Arndt’s negative commentary on same-sex parenting.
Brian Greig said the award astonished many LGBTIQ people because of Arndt’s disparaging and untruthful commentary.
“None of this has been helped by Ms Arndt disingenuously alluding to herself as qualified in the area of clinical psychology or sociology – which she is not.”
Mr Greig said Ms Arndt’s anti-LGBTIQ bias was on display in December 2011, when she published an article in The Australian Newspaper expressing concern about children raised by same-sex parents.
“To back her claims about the children of LGBTIQ parents, Ms Arndt dismissed the genuine academic research into same-sex parenting as ‘biased’.
Brian Greig said Arndt then spruiked the work of ‘researchers’ with strong links to the American religious right.
“We believe that any social commentator worthy of appointment to the Order of Australia should respect genuine academic research and be able to distinguish such research from sham, politically motivated studies.
“Ms Arndt failed that test. As a result, LGBTIQ people and their families endured the harm that inevitably comes from being portrayed unfairly and negatively.”
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