Search #QandA on Twitter and the first thing you see is this:
“Nothing but respect for MY president,” alongside a beaming picture of Australian comedian and actress Magda Szubanski.
And, on last night’s Q&A, Szubanski was just that. A leader for, not just the LGBTIQ community, but Australia as a whole. She gave the simplest, most accessible explanation of why marriage inequality in Australia makes no sense.
She also shut down any attempts at fear-mongering from conservatives: No, gay and lesbian people aren’t looking to take over the country.
— Sally Rugg ????️???? (@sallyrugg) October 23, 2017
The perfect anecdote came when ‘No’ campaign spokesman Karina Okotel suggested same-sex couples should be allowed to have civil unions, but that marriage should be kept between a man and a woman.
“You can’t change an institution that has always existed without there being consequences,” Okotel told the panel.
We’d like to remind Ms Okotel that witch burning was also once an institution. And that women weren’t allowed to vote in a practice that had, once too, “always existed”.
But we didn’t need to remind her. Szubanski was there.
“You’re sending a very clear message of ‘equal but different’,” Szubanksi said.
“It’s like the Brownlow medal. Someone wins the Brownlow medal, they win the Brownlow medal. But then you say to a gay player – assuming there is a gay AFL player that: you win the Brownlow medal but we’re going to call it the ‘civil acknowledgment of your very excellent effort’.”
The crowd erupted in applause. But she wasn’t done.
“Believe me, this is coming on the tail-end of the oppressions we’ve been through and, I don’t want to come across as a whinger but we have to acknowledge the history of this,” Szubanski continued.
“What it would mean to us to be fully acknowledged… I don’t know if you can really understand after the bashings, the discriminations, the discrimination in employment, the murders. This isn’t just out of the blue. It comes within an historical context.”