Australia Sen. Penny Wong’s Absolutely Inexcusable Defense Of Lobbying Against Same-Sex Marriage

“By virtue of who I am, prejudice and discrimination and things I have first-hand knowledge of,” says Penny Wong, Australia’s lesbian climate change minister and Labor Party member, who’s come out against same-sex marriage rights. Oh great, because this woman is doubely a minority, it’s time to excuse her endorsement of discrimination?

Rattling off a list of past accomplishments, including veterans affairs and health care, on Q&A, ABC Australia’s political chat show, Wong is building a case to defend her party line position on marriage equality. “I accept that you and some other people in the community would like us [the Labor Party] to have a different position in terms of marriage. That isn’t the position of the party. What I would say to you is, Do take a moment to consider what we have tried to do, what we’ve advocated for, and what we’ve delivered for gay and lesbian Australians.”

Adds the blatant quisling: “I have a view that you join a team, you’re part of the team. That’s the way we operate, and people sometimes like that and sometimes they don’t.”

Fires back Christine Miles, of a Green party, “This is a real lack of leadership and another example of the prime minister [Julia Guillard’s] lack of leadership.”

It’s likely true: Wong’s membership in the Labor Party has, perhaps, brought many pro-LGBT measures to the forefront. But it’s inexcusable to say “that’s good enough” and to fall back into line with your party’s leadership on an issue that’s so clearly one of equal rights. Penny Wong may have done great things for the gay community, but to say that belonging to an exclusive club means you must sacrifice morality and ethics is a sham argument, and she should be ashamed.

Wong can still belong to Labor while refusing to go along with the charade. She can say she disagrees with PM Guillard’s position, and she’s working to change minds. We’re not so ignorant to disregard that Wong belonging to Guillard’s cabinet means she must stay on message, but no party position that advocates discrimination is one worth standing your ground over.

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    Sorry Wong you are very Wrong………

  • Martin Murray

    Wow – she’s sickening.
    Since when has loyalty to a club or cabinet meant sacrificing all morality and independent thought.

  • horus

    freakin air head.
    BTW-lets not have trash australia day again, this stupid misguided twang does not represent the country or it’s people.

  • Bill

    It’s not really her fault.

    Heterosexuals have, quite apparently, been successful in programming Wong to believe that she is not worthy of equality.

    If you think about it, it’s rather sad.

  • James

    You STILL don’t get how Australian politics works at all, do you Queerty?

    She cannot take a stand against her party on this issue three weeks before a federal election and keep her job. It’s that simple. It’s not a “Stay on message” thing, it’s a “You can be fired for this” thing. Wong’s cabinet position depends on factional support, not public support. Without it, she is another ineffectual backbench senator who can’t get anything done.

    By continuing to persue this, you are making martyrdom to our cause a requirement of being out. Martyrdom is always a choice, not an expectation. And not making this choice is the right decision in order to lose a battle so you can win the war.

    I’ll repeat this as many times as it needs to be said before you get it, Queerty:

    1. We do not have the same electoral system as America. American expectations do not apply here.
    2. It’s not about “Staying on message”. Your analogies in your articles on this subject are seriously flawed.
    3. The Labor Party has a binding caucus which will cost her her career if she breaks it. She cannot stand against her party on this issue three weeks before a federal election and keep her job.
    4. You do not have the right to expect martyrdom of her.

    Let it go. We should be protecting her right to prioritise her career over your wishes about how she should treat her sexuality. There is more to Wong than being a lesbian, and she doesn’t campaign on being a lesbian. She’s a senator, first and foremost. And she’s a f*cking good one.

    To say that being a member of an exclusive club means you have to sacrifice your morals and ethics is wrong. So is saying that being a member of an exclusive club, in this case the gay community, means you have to sacrifice your career and livelihood for the sake of everyone else.

    Hell. By merely existing as the first openly gay cabinet member she has done more for gay rights in Australia than the majority of people who are trashing her. Let alone all the stuff she has done actively.

    Do half of what she has done for me as a queer Australian, and be willing to sacrifice what you are demanding of her, then I will accept your criticism as valid. Otherwise all you are doing is being an ingrate, and in doing so, you’re bringing down Australia’s most high profile pioneer of gay rights, because she isn’t able to give you 100% of what you want, in the three weeks before polling.

  • Rick Brannon

    7 mintutes is WAY to long for a video that does not involve a hot man being fucked.

  • alex

    @James: THANK YOU! I was getting pretty frustrated because I see her point and I see where she’s coming from but she’s constantly being made to look like a traitor.

    Queerty writers tend to be very idealistic. While it’s refreshing to some degree, it’s frustrating when the idealism creates such an inaccurate perception of someone on our side. The reality is that this is a war, and like James said, in a war you can’t go out guns blazing. Losing a battle means nothing if you win the war, and to do that, you have to be smart about what moves you make and when. Right now, in her situation, it wouldn’t be the smart move to have the boisterous american bravado everybody expects this Aussie to have.

  • John

    Her position is despicable.

    It would be a tragedy if her government were to lose – all this tortured rhetoric would be for not. What then?

  • James

    @alex: Idealism is good, most of the time. They’re partially right. We’ve waited long enough for equality. We’ve waited long enough to not be the social pariahs. The last minority it’s still acceptable to discriminate against in law.

    In a perfect world, this would be a horrible betrayal.

    This is far from a perfect world.

    Queerty, Wong is doing the best she can in these difficult political circumstances to achieve our goals. She’s also a much better politician than you. She knows what she’s doing, and she has stated her goals of working within the party to change its position, rather than standing against it on numerous occasions.

    I don’t merely think she’s the lesser of two evils. I genuinely think she is a good senator, a good cabinet minister, a savvy politician, and a template for queers about how to achieve your goals rather than just not going gentle into that good night.

  • Fitz

    I understand and respect that Australia has a different electoral system, and a different culture. Clearly Wong has bought into the idea of being the 3rd cousin at the table, rather than not being invited to table at all.

    Clearly the blame is on the Labor Party more than on Wong. Perhaps GLBT people should consider NOT voting Labor. I would (and plan to) vote for an honest enemy rather than a fake friend.

  • sebastian

    Penny Wong seems to be the type of woman who might have functioned well as a Nazi. You know, like all those gay elites who worked for Hitler and helped to round up all those gays into the camps at Auschwitz.

    As for Penny being a pioneer, cough cough.

  • Alan

    Wait a second: Wong’s comments are hardly a ringing endorsement of her party’s policies. Her comments are always along the line that the party has decided upon a definition of marriage – to which she can understand many people object. In Australia, where party discipline is such that you can not only lose your cabinet position, but also preselection for your parliamentary position if you express public disagreement with your party’s policies, that’s about as disagreeable as you can get without effectively getting fired from parliament.

    I have no doubt that Wong is fighting for marriage equality behind closed doors in the Labor caucus, where she has the real possibility of changing minds and policies. But it’s simply not realistic or helpful to expect that she’ll publicly ruminate about her disagreements with her parliamentary colleagues (especially in the run up to a federal election!). If she were to do so, we’d merely end up with one less friendly voice in Cabinet. And the chances of marriage equality in Australia would be lessened considerably.

    So go ahead and complain about the Australian Labor Party’s policies. There is, after all, much to complain about. But don’t go after one of the people who are working hard in the party to get things changed.

  • Kyle

    An LGBT who stands toe to toe with someone who denies the rest of us our rights just so they can get a paycheck is dead in my eyes. You’re worse than a sell out, Wong, you’re a sell out that gets paid for it.

    Her PR crew is working overtime on here trying to defend this no good bigot!

  • Suzygoo

    Party discipline!!! You gotta love it. We love it when it suits our needs and hate it when it does not. Much like your spouse eh! In Australia, like Canada, like Britain, Party members have to toe the line with the party position. When Canada had the debate over same-sex marriage, GLBT activists were furious over the possibility of same sex marriage going to a free vote (vote according to your conscious, not the party line). They said NO to a free vote because too many liberals will vote against it and it will fail. If Ms. Wong goes against the party, she will be kicked out of the cabinet, kicked out of the Labour party, may not have her nomination papers signed by the leader and have to run as an independent thus ensuring her failure to get reelected. If she does what you want her to do, then she will be a footnote in a history book and the party line will be the same. Party Unity depends on Party Discipline! Now that is too much serious business-take me back to morning goods because in the Australian vernacular, I am a bit “Randy!”

  • Kate


    Erm, by definition any sell-out “gets paid for it”. Hence the word “sell”. Otherwise the phrase would be a “giving-it-away-for-free-out”.

  • Allie

    Wong could very well be leader of her party and/or Prime Minister one day if she plays her cards right. Unfortunately, this does mean toeing the party line when it comes to policy.

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