Cory Bernardi’s homophobic slurs reflect someone quickly losing relevance

"Cory Bernardi is stoking rumours that Christopher Pyne is gay."

"Cory Bernardi is stoking rumours that Christopher Pyne is gay." Photo: AAP

As a nation, we this week cemented a new and exciting Australian value: progressiveness.

It’s a value many suspected has defined our nation for some time. But with the resounding majority Yes vote in every state and territory and in all but 13 of 150 electorates, we now know it. But not everyone’s happy about it.

Other Australian values – nebulous as they are – are being challenged by the one Australian politician who has the most to lose from this newest entrant: Cory Bernardi.

His behaviour since the Yes result has been woeful. It hasn’t been fair-dinkum, accepting defeat with the good grace of a democracy-lover. It makes a mockery of the fair-go.

In response to his former colleague Christopher Pyne’s Twitter being hacked to ‘like’ a gay porn video clip, Bernardi gave an immature press conference where he masqueraded concerns about ‘national security’ with insidiously homophobic dog-whistling: “We need to know how deep and far this penetration … has been.”

Greens Leader Richard Di Natale has today called him out with this tweet:

Cory Bernardi is a grub. It’s obvious to anyone watching his juvenile conduct over the past 24 hours that it’s not national security concerns driving him but homophobia.”

Bernardi is stoking rumours that Christopher Pyne is gay. Not only is Pyne’s sexual orientation none of Bernardi’s business, it’s also demeaning to use anyone’s sexuality as the punch-line for a joke. Especially after a campaign that battered and bruised the LGBTQI community.

If this was a homophobic bully spreading rumours around his school, he’d be chided. But this is one of our elected representatives. He should be setting an example, not denigrating the office he holds with innuendo and potentially damaging rumours. Pyne is married. How does Bernardi think his wife feels about these pathetic games?

Pyne has been a longstanding and enthusiastic supporter of the Yes campaign. Such rumour-stoking serves no other purpose than for Bernardi to cynically forward his own threatened agenda.

And make no mistake – he is threatened. Like a lone wolf crying, why should anyone now listen to him? The ‘silent majority’ fallacy has now truly been exposed. They had their say – they weren’t silent. And now we know they are a minority. That myth has been busted, and Bernardi is trying to distract your attention from it by saying ‘look over here instead!’

Let’s face it, Bernardi would be first in line to call out the alleged rumour-mongering swirling around Barnaby Joyce ahead of the New England by-election.

But hypocrisy is no stranger to Bernardi, whose house proudly displays a giant Dame Edna mural which he no doubt admires without a shred of irony, whilst purporting to be up in arms about the evil, evil gender bending at play at ‘Do it in a Dress’ day, which raises charity funds for girls’ education in Africa.

Bernardi’s woeful and, frankly, desperate behaviour reeks of someone who is quickly losing relevance and needs to claw back those headlines.

It comes during a week when Yes campaigners have reached out with good grace to No voters to encourage unity when they could’ve gloated, and encouraged more love when they could’ve stoked more division. As Magda Szubanski said in her victory speech: “I’d never not be funny for a No voter!”

Bernardi should leave the jokes to the likes of Szubanski. The only one sniggering at his own mean-spirited innuendo is him.

The real ‘national security’ issue here isn’t about Twitter hacking. It’s about unrepresentative, undemocratic and un-Australian conservative politicians serving the narrow agendas of their own privileged elite in a nation that we now know, beyond all doubt, is fair-dinkum progressive.

Twitter: @garynunn1

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