All posts for the day August 17th, 2009

My gay remarks misquoted – Heffernan

Published August 17, 2009 by Michael C Leeson

My gay remarks misquoted – Heffernan | The Courier-Mail

Oh Bill Bill Bill, what more can be said of Senator Bill Heffernan (NSW Liberal), other than his reputation for being a first class drongo precedes him. The Honourable Senator seemingly engaged his mouth without putting his brain into gear once again. In several recorded cases Heffernan has sought to act in an inappropriate way and been subsequently called to apologise for making outrageous, inappropriate, inaccurate or simply rude statements. It may be by coincidence or that Heffernan is simply a diehard misogynistic homophobic xenophobic conservative dinosaur, which is up to you to decide.


Heffernan under parliamentary privilege accused a presiding judge of making private use of Commonwealth cars. It was found to be Justice Michael Kirby of the High Court of Australia, the accusation was found to be in breach of parliamentary standing orders. Justice Kirby our first gay high court judge came out in 1999


Heffernan was forced to make an apology to Julia Gillard Deputy Prime Minister of Australia. in May 2007 after questioning whether she could fully understand her electorate because she was a childless woman.  Ms Gillard is the first woman – and the first foreign-born person – to hold the position of Deputy Prime Minister. She is also unmarried


The above article reports on one such occasion involving Heffernan supposedly comparing gay men to paedophiles during the National Marriage Day Breakfast held in Canberra on 13 August. Gay rights group Equal Love accused Heffernan of making the following statement

“I don’t mind gay people. I just want you to stop f**king the kids.”

The article goes on to report Heffernan denial

If he did not make said statement, why did he need to apologise? Oh, he was misquoted it was somebody else that got it wrong. The Honourable Senator also supposedly contacted reporters to seek a retraction and clarification. This convoluted little faux pas gets even weirder, Heffernan as reported said

“I wish to clarify the alleged media comments in respect to gay people being paedophiles. This is incorrect,” he said.

Therefore, Bill clarifies the mistake made by the media, but not by him, going on to say

“I actually said `everyone knows that I conduct a continuous war on people who use kids as sex objects and I don’t intend to change now’.

The question here being how does his unrepentant campaign against child abuse relate to marriage, he goes on to say

“I did not refer at any point to gay people only.”

The reason for this apology and retraction for not saying what he didn’t say, be explained by comments from prominent Sydney gay activist Gary Burns said

“It is these kinds of ignorant comments that keep alive the myth homosexual men are perverted, sick and dirty child molesters,”.

Burns also admonished Heffernan by saying

“People in the powerful position should be aware they have responsibilities as well known public figures, because it is their comments that lead to gay men becoming a statistic of a gay hate crime.

There are hints of covert political pressure here and possible threat of legal action however, this is but an observation.

Then last week Heffernan was at it again when he flicked the bird at Senator Penny Wong current and first Australian Minister for Climate Change and Water. Ms Wong is also the first openly gay member of the Australian Commonwealth cabinet, and the country’s first Asian-born federal minister. The Minister was born in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia to a Malaysian Chinese Hakka father and an Australian mother.

It seems Heffernan serves some purpose for the Coalition otherwise he would have been got rid of by now. While it seems that Heffernan may represent either a dated 1950’s Australian worldview, he has stood and been successfully re-elected on several occasions. The scary question here being is he really a social dinosaur?