|Social Media:||Facebook — Instagram|
|Slogans:||Put Victorians Family First This Election|
|Themes:||Religion good. LGBTQIA+ bad.|
|Electorates:||Upper House: Eastern Victorian, North Eastern Metropolitan, Northern Metropolitan, Northern Victorian, South Eastern Metropolitan, Southern Metropolitan, Western Metropolitan, Western Victorian
Lower House: Albert Park, Ashwood, Bayswater, Bass, Bellarine, Benambra, Bendigo East, Bendigo West, Bentleigh, Berwick, Box Hill, Brighton, Broadmeadows, Brunswick, Bundoora, Carrum, Caulfield, Clarinda, Cranbourne, Croydon, Dandenong, Eildon, Eltham, Essendon, Eureka, Evelyn, Footscray, Frankston, Geelong, Gippsland East, Gippsland South, Glen Waverley, Greenvale, Hastings, Hawthorn, Ivanhoe, Kalkallo, Kew, Kororoit, Lara, Laverton, Lowan, Macedon, Malvern, Melbourne, Melton, Mildura, Monbulk, Mornington, Morwell, Mulgrave, Murray Plains, Narracan, Narre Warren North, Narre Warren South, Nepean, Niddrie, Northcote, Oakleigh, Ovens Valley, Pakenham, Pascoe Vale, Preston, Point Cook, Polwarth, Prahran, Richmond, Ringwood, Ripon, Rowville, Sandringham, Shepparton, South Barwon, South-West Coast, St Albans, Sunbury, Sydenham, Tarneit, Thomastown, Warrandyte, Wendouree, Werribee, Williamstown, Yan Yean
|Preferences:||FF are in lockstep across all Upper House seats. Preferences flow to the Freedom Party, Labour DLP, One Nation, and UAP in that order. No prizes for guessing why.|
|Previous Reviews:||2014 VIC — 2013 — 2010|
Policies & Commentary
Warning: the following article contains examples of hateful content pertaining to LGBTQIA+ people and issues.
Family First (hereafter referred to as FF) want it to be known that they’re not “phobic”. There’s nothing ”homophobic or transphobic” to see here. (Their scare quotes). They’re upset at having that “slur” levelled at them, how very dare you, Greens Leader Samantha Ratnam (among others). They’ve challenged anyone to find a single instance in their campaign where they behave like this.
Let’s be clear here. FF is trying to hide behind the tired old tactic of ignoring the dictionary and insisting that being phobic is all about fear, and they’re not afraid of LGBTQIA+ folk, thank you very much. I have no intention of accepting this self-serving redefinition. No Get Out of Jail Free card for you, FF.
So … rolls up sleeves … here we go. (Full disclosure: I am a queer trans person with LGBTQIA+ kids.)
Before we get to the policies, let’s take a quick look at a couple of the articles FF wrote and released this year, now available on their website. I won’t link them directly; you won’t have any trouble finding them if you feel you need to read them, but I won’t contribute to their website clicks.
First up, we have their lead candidate Lee Jones lamenting that radical woke political correctness could see Victorians “forced” to pay for gender-affirming surgery. (Exaggeration). Then an article declaring FF’s support for (thankfully now-banned in Victoria) “conversion therapy,” along with a few hysterical comments about children being harmed by chemicals and irreversible surgery forced upon them. (Lies.) Finally, Jones goes on a tirade about how evil government (read: Labor) and doctors apparently have an agenda to force all our kids to be trans, instead of compassionately protecting children like other countries do. (Lies, lies, and more lies.)
And this is only within the last 17 days.
But let’s get to the policies. No less than EIGHT are explicitly transphobic. Three are explicitly homophobic. And of the rest, five are implicitly both.
FF want to ban access to any form of gender-affirming care for people under 18 years of age. No exceptions. While they’re at it, they’ll make sure these young people can’t access any information relating to gender dysphoria or gender-affirming care – except that which they deem appropriate. Just in case you were confused as to what that might be, FF’s stated intention to repeal the Conversion and Suppression Act (which outlaws the horrifically harmful “conversion therapy”) should be a clue. FF is apparently just fine with subjecting gender-questioning young people to abusive practices that have proven long-term, harmful effects. So what if it makes people subjected to it eight times more likely to commit suicide? At least they’re not trans, because that would be so much worse, am I right? It’s sad, but can’t make an omelette, etc.
(Why yes, I am trying to use flippancy to tamp down some of the rage I’m feeling.)
While they’re on this “let’s just try to pretend we can make it go away” kick, FF want to: De-fund the legal service at the Victorian Pride Centre and restrict its activities to fighting genuine discrimination, as opposed to activism against religious communities who have a different world view.
Even leaving aside the blatant attempt to prevent LGBTQIA+ folk from having access to informed and experienced legal help, this is chilling. The implication here is that people can engage in hate speech, discriminatory behaviour and outright abuse as long as a religious label can be attached to it. This goes hand in hand with FF’s policy to gut Victoria’s anti-discrimination and anti-vilification laws. As things stand now, there are still insufficient protections and support for LGBTQIA+ people, but if FF gets their way, there will be none.
FF think it’s a great idea to abolish diversity training. None of that radical woke etc in the workplace, thank you very much. Why, if we encourage people to understand each other, who knows what could happen? They might actually – gasp – care whether what they say or do could hurt others. To be on the safe side, FF think that this kind of education should be banned from schools, too. It seems that Our Precious And Innocent Children should not be allowed to learn that LGBTQIA+ people even exist, lest they think they might be one.
(Oh, and FF dip a toe into the reeking swamp of racism by also wanting to ban critical race theory from schools, because heaven forbid kids should learn about just how endemic racism is in Australian culture.)
While we’re on the subject of FF’s policies dealing with children, let’s look at the outright lies. FF claims that the Victorian Education Department requires teachers to hide a child’s gender transition from his or her parents. It takes all of two seconds to prove this is utter bull. Here are the real guidelines. It’s frankly unbelievable that FF doesn’t know this, so their policy looks like a deliberate attempt to mislead voters.
Rounding out the explicitly anti-LGBTQIA+ policies is a declaration that FF will protect girls’ and women’s sport from the intrusion of biological males. (My bold.)
Where the hell do I start with this? The language alone is offensive beyond belief. FF would have you believe that there are hordes of predatory men out there so eager to prey upon women (cis women, of course) that they will willingly sacrifice their “real” gender just so they can dress up in a netball uniform and have access to the “safe space” of the locker room. That Kev will “pretend” to be Kathy just so he can get his grubby little hands on little Katie.
I mean. REALLY.
It’s absurd. There is no evidence – NONE – that trans women do this. Coming out as trans, and undergoing gender-affirming care, has nothing to do with predatory inclinations or behaviour. It’s about the desire to live as the person you know yourself to be.
Some might say that maybe FF’s talking about “men” taking away the “rightful” prizes of women. I’m not even going to dignify this by calling it a myth – it’s complete crap that has been thoroughly debunked. A scant handful of trans women have risen to the top of their sport, and they did it the same way any cis women does – through dedication and grinding, hard work.
So much for the explicit policies. I’ve already touched on the implicit ones – repealing existing laws and enshrining the right to be hateful, discriminatory, and abusive in education, the workplace, and society as whole, as long as it’s in the name of religion – but there’s another one which is very sneaky:
Lobby National Cabinet for uniform age-verification laws to protect children from harmful content online.
On the face of it, this seems pretty reasonable. None of us want our kids getting exposed to some of the truly horrific content that is out there.
The age at which one is no longer a child is not specified – so I think it’s reasonable to assume, on the basis of other FF policies dealing with children in school, that this means anyone under 18 years of age. There’s a world of difference between a 10 year old and a 16 year old in terms of emotional maturity and experience, but apparently not in FF thinking. More disturbingly, harmful content is not defined, but I think we can make a few inferences here. We already know that FF wants to ban any form of positive LGBTQIA+ information from schools, on the grounds that it’s dangerous to children; it’s not a stretch to think they’d want to ban young people from finding such information elsewhere.
Because, apparently, it’s a terrible thing if a kid learns there’s nothing wrong with them for feeling same-sex attraction or that their gender identity doesn’t fit an artificially imposed binary – but sure, let’s give them unfettered access to lies that tell them they are aberrant and confused and “going through a phase”, and should be subjected to abusive practices until they “get over it”.
Look, I won’t pretend that FF doesn’t have other policies. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention they want to stop women from participating in the production of pornography, or to destroy sex work through implementing the barely-existent and thoroughly discredited “Nordic model” aimed at prosecution of clients and brothel owners. There’s also an energy policy which boils down to “gas and coal good, keep it going until some undefined time in the future when we might possibly maybe get some alternative, who knows when”. They’d like to do a nightly round-up of homeless people and push them into shelters. And I mustn’t forget their anti-abortion policy, laden with tear-jerking language and misrepresentation of facts. (To be fair, I do agree with their policy to increase practical support for people who choose to carry a pregnancy to term, but that’s the only one).
What it comes down to, though, is that there is a disproportionate focus on discriminating against and outright persecution of LGBTQIA+ people. So I’m confident in saying:
Family First are homophobic and transphobic. Virulently, hatefully, violently, disgustingly so. Condemned by their own policies. They try to disguise it with pious little utterances about “protection” and “compassion”, and drape it in the flag of “religious freedom”, but, as the saying goes, you can’t put lipstick on a pig. In their ideal world, there would be no LGBTQIA+ people, and anyone who even suggested they might not fit into an enforced gender binary and mandatory heterosexuality would be at best dismissed, and at worst horribly abused in the name of “correction”.
I can’t get past that. And I would hope that you can’t, either. The viciousness of FF’s policies might not affect you personally, but what about your family? Your friends? The people you work with every day and go for drinks with after work on Friday? Your kids’ friends? Would you be happy to back a party whose policies would make their lives a living hell?
They will be dead last on my ticket – yes, even lower than the “Dan Andrews is a meanie poopoohead” crowd and the anti-vaxers with their hysterical lies. And honestly? Dead last is too high a place for them.
If this article has caused distress to any LGBTQIA+ readers or their allies, I offer a heartfelt apology. Engaging with this content on any level is horrible. Please don’t forget that you are brilliant and courageous and worthy to be celebrated – and please, if you feel you need support, reach out. I’ve listed some organisations below: