back to top

Australia's New Deputy Prime Minister Once Said "Sordid Homosexuality" Threatened To "Wipe Out Humanity"

"Unfortunately gays are here and, if the disease their unnatural acts helped spread doesn't wipe out humanity, they're here to stay."

Posted on

Federal member for Riverina Michael McCormack was declared the new Nationals leader on Monday and will be Australia's new deputy prime minister as a result. The decision has quickly prompted outrage due to views he expressed more than 20 years ago when acting as editor for a local paper.

Mick Tsikas / AAPIMAGE

McCormack, who was veteran affairs minister before becoming deputy PM, was 30 years old when he wrote an editorial for Wagga Wagga's Daily Advertiser in 1993 calling homosexuality "sordid" and ultimately blaming the gay community for AIDS.

"How can these people call for rights when they're responsible for the greatest medical dilemma known to man – Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome," he wrote.

"A week never goes by anymore that homosexuals and their sordid behavior don't become further entrenched in society. Unfortunately gays are here and, if the disease their unnatural acts helped spread doesn't wipe out humanity, they're here to stay."

McCormack has apologised for his comments multiple times – most recently in August 2017 – and also voted for marriage equality in the parliament following Australia's same-sex marriage postal survey, but people are still angered by his appointment to the second highest role in Australia's democratic system.

McCormack wrote article in which he demonised gay people for "sordid behaviour". Argued they’re responsible for spr… https://t.co/QIIeSuGuZ3

McCormack personally voted "no" in 2017's same-sex marriage but honoured his electorate's majority vote when it came to parliament.

Hi straight people saying "but that was years ago!" and "he apologised!" 1. People don't unlearn vitriolic hatred l… https://t.co/4oQN8yDGg5

The same people that hauled Julia Gillard in front of a royal commission for renos in the 1990s will spend the next… https://t.co/iYGoDCpUIX

"Unfortunately gays are here and, if the disease their unnatural acts helped spread doesn't wipe out humanity, they… https://t.co/aAdVsmfaGl

In case yo don’t know, Michael McCormack, one of the potential leaders of the Nats, once said in a newspaper articl… https://t.co/oDF9u6ITmQ

McCormack was 3 years older than I am now when he made those comments, and the editor of a newspaper. They contribu… https://t.co/wJyBBGiz4B

Yes views can change and he has apologised, but 1993 was not that long ago & i reserve the right to remain revolted and wary forever. Thanks

While others are saying that his multiple apologies are enough and that the deputy prime minister should now be judged on his actions going forward.

@PeterWMurphy1 @The_Nationals As a gay atheist, I'm happy to accept McCormack's repeated apologies/assurances that… https://t.co/srDPa2Lv4v

On Monday, equality advocates called on McCormack to "heal wounds caused by gay hate".

"Many LGBTI Australians will be justifiably concerned about Michael McCormack being our deputy prime minister given his hateful comments against us in the past," said Just.equal's Rodney Croome in a statement.

"Many National Party voters will share our concern given the strong Yes vote in many parts of rural and regional Australia.”

"The apologies Mr McCormack made in the past are welcome but given the hatefulness of what he said, and the high office he has stepped in to, he needs to walk the talk.”

“He needs to get behind initiatives that will reduce the unacceptably high levels of LGBTI isolation, prejudice, and suicide that still exist in some parts of rural Australia.”

Whatever your thoughts on the matter, Michael McCormack is Australia's new deputy prime minister and the PM is set for yet another reshuffle just two months after the last one

Brad Esposito is a news reporter for BuzzFeed and is based in Sydney, Australia.

Contact Brad Esposito at bradley.esposito@buzzfeed.com.

Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.