Bill Shorten Told To Cut The Crap And Boycott Anti-LGBT Conference
Shorten's time to stand up on LGBT issues.
Labor leader Bill Shorten refuses to back down from calls to boycott Australia's most influential anti-LGBT group next Friday night, promising he'll tell the room he supports marriage equality.
Mr Shorten has been openly criticised for accepting the invitation to open for the Australian Christian Lobby's national conference which will be held in Canberra next Friday night.
The ACL claims to be Australia's peak Christian lobby group which has gathered notoriety and media attention for pushing its anti-LGBT agenda. But Mr Shorten's office maintains he needs to reach out to the group's members.
"Of course, Mr Shorten does not always agree with all of the views of those organisations he speaks to. He is a supporter of marriage equality and he will be making his views clear," a spokesman told BuzzFeed.
One of Australia's most prominent marriage equality advocates, New South Wales politician Alex Greenwich says Mr Shorten's speech threatens to legitimise damaging views held by what is a group on the wane.
"I think there would be a lot of people within the Labor movement who would be against Bill Shorten's decision to speak at this anti-LGBT event. Bill Shorten risks giving the ACL some of the relevance the group has lost in recent years," said Mr Greenwich.
Former Prime Minister Julia Gillard boycotted the same event two years ago when the ACL's spokesman compared the gay lifestyle with the damaging effects of smoking.
Mr Greenwich said Mr Shorten should follow her lead: "(Ms) Gillard did the right thing by pulling out of the event... Mr Shorten should do the same."
BuzzFeed called the Australian Christian Lobby about Mr Shorten's opening address and a ACL spokesman claimed it had not briefed Mr Shorten so could not comment.
But when asked whether the group was bothered that Mr Shorten planned to tell the conference he supported gay marriage, the spokesman flatly replied, "no".
Fellow Labor MP Shayne Neumann and the Government's Assistant Migration Minister Michaelia Cash will also attend the group's conference which is planned as a "celebration" of its "great campaigning successes".
On its Facebook page the ACL names blocking marriage equality around Australia as one its big campaigning successes.
A Crosby-Textor poll released earlier this year shows 72-per-cent of Australians support marriage equality and 77-per-cent think the Prime Minister Tony Abbott should allow its MPs a conscience vote on the issue.