While the eastern side of the country was burning like never before, some of the old boys’ club were sitting in the backroom of parliament house inhaling some refined pure white Christian prejudice in legislative form. It was the best gear they’d had in ages.
One of his faceless cronies, slapped the guy in charge on the shoulder and said, “Mate, how’s about we make it so doctors and medicos – and all that – can treat queers and, you know, those types of women differently. So, GPs that think like us, don’t have to provide those unchristian treatments?”
Another looked across the conference table and returned, “Mate, where have you been? On the sauce again, or something? We already did that last time. This time we’re going to add legalising that whole Folau thing, so he’d never have been reprimanded in the first place, let alone fired.”
And subsequently, last Tuesday, prime minister Scott Morrison and attorney general Christian Porter appeared before a somewhat baffled and outraged nation, with the second exposure draft of the Religious Discrimination Bill 2019, along with its accompanying other pieces of legislation.
It’s just not a fair go
Over the last week or so, people in Sydney have been posting photos of the skyline, as it’s been looking like those in major cities of the Global South that are already paying a heavy polluting price for the globalised industrial system that no one can aspire to or even achieve anymore.
Sydney city folk were literally freaking out about the conditions, while people in regional NSW remarked, “Oh, they’ve finally realised.” The earlier lack of acknowledgement about the crisis was convenient for fossil fuel companies. Although, not really for their workers, with automation coming.
Meanwhile, down in Canberra, MPs are having their own crisis, as people aren’t listening to white Christian men in the same way they used to. It’s like they’ve had to give up a seat at the table or something. And as the PM has pointed out, sometimes he thinks others are mocking his religion.
And this is after years and years, of not only no one being able to say anything “funny” like that about it, but back then, the types behind the Religious Discrimination Bill were the only ones given any voice. They could tell it like it is and vilify and discriminate against other types as they pleased.
The damnation of us all
So, the religious prejudice bill proposal is far from being about protecting Christians’ belief in a god. It’s about reinforcing the power of the political elite – and those that look and act like them – to dominate others in harmful ways.
That’s unless those god-fearing politicos have a direct line to the man upstairs, who’s been saying, “Look don’t worry about all those fires, or those vicious cyclones and droughts of people of colour. That’s all a test of faith. Just make sure you get things back to the way they were, in my honour.”
It’s true though. How did it get to the point where society is diversifying in positive ways, and differing voices are rising? Indeed, some in the party room are more gobsmacked about marriage equality laws, than they are about the increasingly violent climate conditions in this country.
So, perhaps Folau was right when he asserted the unprecedented destruction of these fires are the outcome of marriage equality becoming law. And maybe it’s got nothing to do with the entire planet dying before our eyes, because some old white men in suits have some very vicious connections.
Paul Gregoire is a Sydney-based journalist and writer. He has a focus on human rights issues, encroachments on civil liberties, drug law reform, gender diversity and First Nations rights. Prior to Sydney Criminal Lawyers®, he wrote for VICE and was the news editor at Sydney’s City Hub.