Being left in Queensland

3 April 2012

Written by: Olivia Wicik

Let me start with an admission.

My name is Kiara and I am a commie, red-under-the-bed, socialist, pro-choice, pro-animal rights, republican, Marxist, feminist, secularist, humanist, arts supporting, minority loving woman.

I can hear you imposing some sort of prejudice upon me now. I am use to it. I live in a town that has been likened to the Bible belt of the deep south in America. My beliefs have been relegated into the realms of, ‘Labor voter,’ ‘Juliar lover’, and in a more generation Y context, ‘a hipster’. Reality is, I do not staunchly support Labor nor have I sat around in coffee shops all day to discuss Proust.

Reality is that, because I am open about my political ideologies. I have been called a ‘slut,’ ‘an ugly bitch,’ ‘treasonous’ (or ‘un-Australian’ if you will) and that I should ‘stop breathing’.

Some of my other left leaning friends have been chastised about their sexuality, their physical appearance and (gasp) de-friended on Facebook.

Not even in Pauline Hanson’s day were those associated with a political ideology ridiculed in such a hateful way. I would be lying if I said it does not affect me deeply. Politics is now running in the same vein as the personal here in Queensland.

It is not my place to tell you how to vote or what to believe. Indeed, if there is anything I believe in more than republicanism, humanism, secularism and all such other things, it is simply this: democracy. I feel the far right has blown this in the water with their US style ‘direct appeal’ marketing waved under the banner of ‘free speech’.

I argue vehemently that some marketing for the Queensland State Election was not free speech but rather distasteful flak.

I am talking about Bob Katter’s homophobic advertisement played against Campbell Newman, Bob Brown and same sex couples who desire to be married during the election. The advertisement can be viewed here. I firmly believe that ad hominem attacks like this have no place in politics. We do not accept it in the workplace or in our homes so why should we accept it from people who want to run Queensland?

Not quite in the stratosphere of political marketing, but close, is mining magnate Clive Palmer’s accusation against the Greens. The press conference can be viewed here on YouTube. To sum it up in my own words, it was certainly a conspiracy theory to rival the best of them. He suggested a CIA backed Greens party is trying to cease coal mining in Australia. Though the latter may be true to an extent, the accusation that the CIA has a hand in Australian politics, is utterly fanciful.

More than 70 seats have been won by the LNP in Queensland, as opposed to eight seats by Labor. There is no effective opposition in the state. I am alarmed that very few of those in my network of contacts are concerned by this. Though I am one of the opinion that ‘all pollies are corrupt’, I find Mr Newman’s appointment of public servants who are sympathetic to the LNP questionable. Michael McKenna from The Australian details this further in his article here.

However, the most alarming thing for me is that I am genuinely frightened to say what I believe in now. We hear in the US how gay young men who live in conservative towns are hunted down and bashed (sometimes killed) by certain right wing groups. I feel we are not far off this in the state of Queensland; the hunted being those associated with the left.

I point you towards a picture currently being circulated around Facebook of an invitation to a neighbourhood party to celebrate ‘the tyranny of gay marriage’ being relinquished under the premiership of Campbell Newman.

It has been three years since I had a holiday. I think I ought to take one now. A long, long holiday away from the sunny paradise of Queensland.

Kiara O’Gorman is a freelance writer who lives in Toowoomba, Queensland. She is a recent triple major graduate and holds a Diploma of Arts in Journalism. You can read more of her work on her website www.TheSchriftsteller.com. Those opinions expressed in this article are entirely her own and are not associated with this publication.