Back in 2009, we learned that Labour frontbencher Trevor Mallard was a homophobe, when he repeatedly called Chris Finlayson "tinkerbell" across the House. Today, he continued this trend, coming up with a new witty name for John Key: the "Prime Mincer". And he wasn't alone - both Clare Curran and Kris Fa'afoi repeated it over Twitter.
All these MPs seem to think that someone's sexuality or imputed sexuality is a reason to abuse them. That people should be abused and mocked for engaging in behaviours they regard as stereotypically gay. That's not cool, and its not funny. Its simply bigotry.
(As for Key, he's in the same camp and pretty clearly has some rather bigoted views about male models. But that doesn't excuse Labour's abuse).
I expect better from my elected representatives. And I expect better from the Labour Party. Once upon a time, they did the decent thing and opposed this sort of shit. Now they don't. And against a backdrop of homophobic hate crimes, that's exceptionally disappointing.
We agree. And in fact we've blogged about Trevor Mallard's homophobia ourselves, with reference to an interjection he made against Christopher Finlayson in October 2009. But we are suprised that some of his younger and more enlightened colleagues have joined him on this journey.
The Labour caucus is a broad church, and includes a number of openly gay or lesbian MP's. We don't have a problem with that at all. As we have blogged before, we have a close family member who happens to be gay, and of whom we are enormously proud. Their sexuality is not an issue for us. But we are surprised that no-one from within the Labour caucus has condemned Trevor Mallard's utterances, and that other MP's have openly encouraged him.
And as if a calculated insult in Parliament yesterday (at about 5:20) for which he was chastised by the Speaker wasn't bad enough, Mallard has put up a dog-whistle post at Red Alert; a caption contest with a picture of a mincer, and no explanatory text. About 15 comments in, and after being challenged by a couple of commenters, Mallard posts this:
Trevor Mallard says:
Some of you right wingers need to lighten up.
We say this to Trevor Mallard. It is HE who needs to lighten up, or at the very least decide whether his calling in life is to be an MP whose salary and expenses are paid by you and by us, or whether he is going to be a political and satirical blogger. If he is going to continue to use Labour's official blog to push this kind of line, we would hope that his leader might take him aside and tell him to pull his head in. At least Idiot/Savant has the integrity to call him out on the kind of behaviour that an MP should be above.