Rachel Bunting

family first (or, the entry in which Rachel overuses the bullet-point function)

Australia isn’t known as a queer-progressive nation. Although the country has its fair share of the GLBT community, and although they’re no Iran in terms of recognizing the community, they’re certainly not pushing any boundaries in giving the gay community rights and recognition. They do, however, have a fairly recently-founded and vocal conservative party, the Family First Party.

As would be expected, the Family First Party takes a pretty standard conservative line on hot-button issues:

  • Abortion? No.
  • Drugs? No.
  • Euthanasia? No.
  • Sexuality? Good idea to be straight, as they don’t recognize rights for LGBT people or same-sex couples
  • Pornography? No.

Oh, that’s really oversimplifying. But you can read all about their policies and core values at their website. And though the party claims no official religious affiliation, it defines itself as a “socially conservative” party with “family values based on Christian ethics” at its core. Consider this, it’s not surprising, then, that a number of the party’s members have conservative Christian backgrounds or are actively involved with churches, like the Assemblies of God denomination.

So it’s sort of ironic when the rising star of the party, Andrew Quah, finds himself embroiled in a scandal that defiles some of the core values of his party. 365Gay (along with loads of other gay media outlets, I’m sure) is reporting that compromising photos of Quah have surfaced online on gay websites. In at least one of the photos, Quah’s genitalia is visible.

Some quotes from Quah, regarding the scandal:

  • I might have been drunk off my face or my political enemies might have drugged me.
  • I can tell you, it’s not me. I know these things. But really, I can’t remember…
  • Over two years ago I drunkenly shared, in confidence, photos of myself in what appears to be an inappropriate position.

I’m not sure what’s most enlightening here: the fact that these photos surfaced in on gay websites, thereby aligning Quah with the gay community? His remarkably relaxed attitude about his state of intoxication? His half-hearted attempt to create a conspiracy theory (which he later deflates with the admission that he just can’t remember)? Considering that Quah is a member of a socially conservative party, one might think he’d pay a little more attention to the amount of alcohol he imbibes (note that in the linked document, social drinking is considered “fine” – but I don’t know anyone who takes – and then shares – naked photos while drinking socially), the sort of pictures he’s allowing to be taken, and perhaps even who he’s sharing them with.

His candor in answering questions about the photographs is refreshing, though. When was the last time you heard a political candidate say, “I might have been drunk off my face…I really don’t remember”?

Just a reminder, folks: if you’re seeking political office, it’s a good idea to avoid things that may create a scandal. Such things include, but are not limited to:

  • binge drinking
  • patronizing hookers
  • drug use (recreational or addictive)
  • naked pics
  • sex tapes
  • potty mouth (in case a mic is on nearby)
  • physical or verbal abuse (animals, women, children)

And if you’ve got any of those skeletons in your closet, well, maybe you want to think about another career.

Like writing.

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