A Quota for the Gay Voter? Hell to the No.

rainbow labor

Ryan Auberson-Walsh

Ryan Auberson-Walsh is a sassy Sydneysider who enjoys cocktails and writing from opinion. A student at the University of Technology, Sydney, he was the 2013 editor-in-chief of annual Querelle, and has previously interned at SameSame.com.au and Australian Traveller. His work has also been published in Cream and Vertigo.
@ryanaubiee on Twitter & Instagram.

Latest posts by Ryan Auberson-Walsh (see all)

The wonderfully embarrassing world of Australian politics has seen more prime ministers in the past few years than there are women in our current Cabinet. PM Tony Abbott isn’t the only person LGBTI citizens are truly unhappy with.

Now the losing party following the election, Australian Labor is in need of a new leader, and the squabbling has recently begun between heavyweight politicians Anthony Albanese and Bill Shorten.

Of course each candidate has a range of opportunities to express why they are most suitable to become the opposition leader, and each have stated many “excellent” cases worthy of the queer community’s attention, but Mr Shorten has recently found himself in a pickle over a plan to promote the needs of minority groups.

He has stated that he’s interested in introducing quotas for political candidates from various backgrounds, including the LGBTI community – anyone sense this is for a few cheap votes? Because I sure do.

Neil Fharaoh – does anyone else immediately think of the Sphinx? – is the national convener of Rainbow Labor, which represents the party’s LBGTI members. He has mentioned that these approaches are a step forward.

“The LGBTI community has been underrepresented, particularly in political seats, both at a state and federal level in Australia,” he said.

“There’s probably only 12 gay and lesbian identifying politicians across the country, and probably not too much more in history.”

“It’s definitely underrepresentative. So we’d welcome any moves to increase the representation in politics.”

As wonderful as this stance may be for any of our causes that need to pass through the hands of government, it would bring about a number of unnecessary damages.

Firstly, how is it even possible to determine how many politicians are representative of each background based on population?

Sure enough, people might mention their racial background, indigenous heritage, or the fact they’re an immigrant on a census document, but I doubt that government reports and/or any form of national survey will ever be able to define the exact number of LGBTI persons. Because I know that for as many proud, openly flamboyant homosexuals that we have gliding down Oxford St on Mardi Gras floats, there’ll always be an equivalent number of closet cases who were taught that being gay isn’t part of being a ‘real man’, and will no doubt end up with a wife, 2.0 kids and dream suburban house before hitting a mid-life crisis and ending up having an affair with some spunky, 20 year old twink (if you’re one of those mature gentlemen reading this, I’m single).

Secondly, and I’m sorry for those who think it might be a great initiative in Oz, but so long as there are people out there who flog their guts out to get into Parliament, they’ll always be just as deserving as anyone who may simply represent a minority group.

There are indeed a range of other methods to appeal to LGBTI voters – and I’m positive that the Governor General ditching Tony Abbott will be step number one – which won’t require such arbitrary measures as bringing in quotas. We already have some remarkable openly gay and lesbian members of parliament. The same goes for other minority groups too. The issue that he seems to be commenting on will ironically have the finger pointing back at him.

You’re one of the majority, Mr Shorten. Unless you actually have a vagina and define yourself a woman, your opinions are most likely bigoted, sexist and elitist. To which, the majority of the time they are… We haven’t forgotten you were one of those who originally stabbed former PM Rudd in the back.

So how then do you get more LGBTI people, more women etc. into parliament? It’s called encouragement, Mr Shorten, and until as many male politicians, whether part of Abbott’s group or not, come to terms with the notion that men don’t rule the world, I simply refuse to believe you wish to see justice for anyone that isn’t white, male and wealthy.

A quota for the gay voter just isn’t the way to winning our hearts – It’s through free WiFi, a lifetime gym membership and sugar-free rainbow cupcakes. Duh.