For one of the most visible men in Australian politics right now, Campbell Newman is nowhere to be seen. At least not in Queensland parliament.
Journalists might sit in the state parliament’s press gallery just to get a glimpse of the man, but it’s a redundant exercise. Newman is not allowed downstairs, but he’s there in spirit — appropriate enough given that here in Queensland, things have been taking on a Biblical dimension lately. We started the year with floods and high winds (we’re just waiting for the locusts and to be rained down with blood now), and lo and behold: booming Old Testament vernacular has started to seep into state parliament too.
It started two weeks ago when Jeff Seeney — the Liberal-National Party’s folksy, re-elected pit-bull of an Opposition Leader — starting bellowing across the chamber in evangelical tones about the impending arrival of a mythic figure. “Campbell is coming!” he told Labor triumphantly. “Campbell is coming, and it frightens the life out of them!” Premier Anna Bligh dismissed that assessment, dryly describing Seeney as simply “the vessel through which the will of Campbell Newman will pass”.
Like I said: very biblical.
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This essay was originally written as part of Crikey’s Big Ideas series. You can read the other essays—by writers including Kate Holden, Sophie Cunningham, Mel Campbell, Marcus Westbury and Eva Cox—here.
Like typical guys, my boyfriend and I put off living together for as long as humanly possible. We both valued our private space, liked our time apart and enjoyed our respective sharehouses. But after experiencing some low points in sharehouse living — think fleas in the carpet and mushrooms growing out of the shower (my place); Canadian flatmates who didn’t use toilet paper (his place) — we decided to make a joint emergency exit. In the end, moving in together was as much about survival as anything else.
We ended up scoring an affordable, old apartment in Brisbane’s most gay-friendly suburb. It overlooked the river, and nearby, there was a floating walkway made up of a series of connecting pontoons. After dinner, we’d go for walks, recapping the day, talking inane sh-t, doing horrible impersonations of people we knew and cracking hideous jokes. The walks were intimate, but hand-holding was a rarity. My boyfriend always maintained he wasn’t the hand-holding type, and I maintained I didn’t really care. But looking back, our concerns probably lay elsewhere — like, say, trying to avoid getting the living shit bashed out of us.
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This was originally delivered as a speech. I was asked to address the national conference for Family Relationships Services Australia (FRSA) at the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) on Wednesday 3 November. You can read about the fallout from this speech here. This speech was subsequently published on Crikey.
Good evening. I’d like to begin the evening by respecfully acknowledging the traditional owners of this land on which we’re gather, both past and present, as it’s a great pleasure and honour to be speaking to you all here tonight. As you’re aware by now, the theme of this year’s FRSA conference is “Diversity: Everyone Benefits.” Bonnie Montgomery, the Communications Officer of FRSA, told me they were looking for someone to talk about—and represent—diversity. And so, they immediately reached for the nearest young Asian homosexual. Several minority groups, and only one stone.
Bonnie, well done. I hope I represent good value.
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Something strange happened to me the other evening. I’m still not exactly sure why or how it happened—I’m still trying to unravel it all in my brain—but what I can confirm is Shadow Minister for Family Services Kevin Andrews doesn’t like me, and that his wife Margaret Andrews—a traditional marriage and pro-life advocate—likes me even less. To be precise, she thinks I’m “disgusting”. She told me this to my face, along with many other things, which I’ve recorded in loving detail below. Margaret, I’m not sure where we went wrong. For the record, I wish we could have been friends.
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