A 13-year-old boy who travelled to Canberra with his two mums has pleaded with the Prime Minister to “do his job.”
Eddie Blewett, 13, from the NSW town of Tathra has recently had to change schools after the teasing and bullying over his same-sex parents became too much for the young teen to bear.
His mothers, Claire Blewett and Neroli Dickson have sat with Eddie through question time as Deputy Labor leader Tanya Plibersek asked the Prime Minister why a 13-year-old boy should “have to put up with a $7.5 million campaign by people who have never met him, telling him that there is something wrong with his family”?
Eddie’s mothers have told of how during his primary school years his family was a non-event in their town, but when he started high school this year things changed.
“People were saying stuff about my family – that it’s not normal, it’s not right,” Eddie told Fairfax Media.
He worries that if the same-sex marriage plebiscite is to go ahead his life will become unbearable.
His mum, Neroli told Fairfax Media that the spotlight on the plebiscite played a part in his torment.
“It has given people permission to say things in the playground – to pass on what they’ve heard at the dinner table,” she said.
Eddie and his family were a part of a large group of 21 parents and 27 children who traveled to Canberra to meet with politicians as a part of the support group Rainbow Families.
During question time Tanya Plibersek posed this question: “This morning I met 13-year old Eddie who is visiting Canberra today with his two mums, asking parliament to block a plebiscite,” Plibersek said. “Eddie said to me, and I quote: ‘Why should people who barely know us make an assumption on our families and vote on how we can live?’
“Can the Prime Minister explain why Eddie should have to put up with a $7.5 million campaign by people who’ve never met him, telling him that there’s something wrong with his family?” she asked.
Mr Turnbull, whilst being heckled by the opposition answered: “We all welcome Eddie and his parents to the House today. We’re pleased that he’s here,” he said.
“I’m very disappointed that the deputy leader of the Opposition would use Eddie, take advantage of Eddie,”
“What she has said is that people who do not know Eddie are not entitled to express a view on the Marriage Act — that’s what she’s saying.”
Australia has nothing to fear from the plebiscite, he said, because the debate will be “respectful” and “civil”.
But for the 13-year-old boy sitting in the gallery his answer didn’t gel.
A 13-year-old boy who had to change schools who has to face day to day questions and teasing about his mother’s love for each other.
A 13-year-old boy who just wants his parents to be afforded the same rights as any other kids.
Eddie’s, mum, Neroli Dickson said the Prime Minister was out of touch,
“He has no idea how uncivil a playground can be” she said.
“I’m not sure if he has a short memory or he went to an exceptional school but children aren’t civil.”
Rainbow Families’ children talk about why they oppose the plebiscite.
She told The Australian that the people who hurt Eddie have “permission” from the government to do it.
“The majority of Australians are very civil about this issue, are very respectful, and they just want the parliament to get on with it. But there is a very small group who have hateful and hurtful things to say and they now have permission from the government to say them loud and clear,” she says.
Ms Dickson says the Prime Minister turned a question into political theatre.
“I was horrified and incredibly disappointed that he turned a really genuine question from a child into a political piece of theatre,” she says.
For Eddie there was deep dismay and disappointment at what he said was a non-answer from the Prime Minister.
Eddie said he was so bereft at Mr Turnbull’s answer he wrote the Prime Minister a letter reports Fairfax Media.
“Dear Prime Minister
That really upset me.
Please do your job.
We want same-sex marriage without hearing in the playground that I am not normal.
P.S Thank god for Tanya Plibersek”
*Feature image via Facebook and Twitter.