Mark Parton: By George, that’s just not on!

“I’ve got a bit of time for George. He could do with a sense of humour, but I admire the way that he’s getting in and getting things done,” says MARK PARTON

GO to a backyard barbecue in this town and start talking politics at your own risk.

Mark Parton

Mark Parton

Wherever you go in the suburbs, people have very, very strong views and they’re not afraid to express them.

I was at such a gathering in Calwell earlier in the year and I made the mistake of bringing up Federal politics. I’m of the belief that Tony Abbott and his crew are not doing such a bad job at running the country.

Malcolm and Giorgio disagreed… vehemently.

Over Coopers Ale and Tasty Cheese Doritos we launched into an intriguing battle of opinions.

We started on asylum seeker policy and ended up discussing the performance of the Attorney-General, Senator George Brandis.

I’ve got a bit of time for George. He could do with a sense of humour, but I admire the way that he’s getting in and getting things done. That’s what he was elected to do. This is what I told Mal and Giorgio. They questioned my mental capacity.

I defended my position and eventually Harro joined us and we were able to move to the safer ground of whether the Raiders would make the finals.

Some weeks after our get together, Brandis made his “bigot remarks” in the Senate.

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing: “People do have the right to be bigots, you know”.

No sooner had the AG finished his tirade than my phone started ringing. It was Malcolm.

“How’s your poster boy Brandis going now?” he asked.

I can’t support the Attorney-General’s comments and I’m appalled that the chief lawmaker of the country thinks it’s appropriate to tell the nation that bigotry is okay in his book.

A bigot is defined as a person who strongly and unfairly dislikes other people, ideas, etcetera… a person who hates or refuses to accept the members of a particular group (such as a racial or religious group).

And that’s okay by Senator Brandis?

I’m not absolutely opposed to the changes in law, but this is not the way to sell them to the nation. You can’t outlaw bigotry any more than you can outlaw stupidity, but it certainly shouldn’t be accepted as normal behaviour.

There’s not many things that I support Greens MLA Shane Rattenbury on, but I’m glad that he’s having a go at changing the law in the ACT so that the Brandis amendments don’t apply to us.

Australians need to know that our government doesn’t accept racial intolerance. That’s what Malcolm and I think, anyway. What are your thoughts?


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