As of this morning, Michael McCormack is our new Deputy Prime Minister after the Nationals appointed him leader and Barnaby Joyce stood down.
Joyce brought with him his own indiscretions. He and a former staffer are expecting a child together, the result of an affair hidden from both his party and his wife of 24 years.
But McCormack is under fire for comments that are more than poor taste – they are downright offensive.
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McCormack, 53, is a former journalist and – in 1991, at age 27 – became the youngest ever editor at Wagga Wagga newspaper The Daily Advertiser, the ABC reports.
Two years later, in May 1993 when he was 28, McCormack wrote an editor’s letter for the paper, in which he called homosexuals “sordid” and “unnatural”. He also blamed the gay community for AIDS.
His words, in part, are here, courtesy of The Daily Advertiser:
A week never goes by anymore that homosexuals and their sordid behaviour don’t become further entrenched in society.
Unfortunately gays are here and, if the disease their unnatural acts helped spread doesn’t wipe out humanity, they’re here to stay.
On Monday hundreds of thousands of homosexuals marched through Washington in a demonstration intended to show their demands for equal rights and an end to discrimination should no longer be ignored or denied.
How can these people call for rights when they’re responsible for the greatest medical dilemma known to man – Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome?
His article goes onto applaud the work of newspaper editors who had been criticised for “gay bashing”, saying they had shown “moral backbone” in “condemning homosexuality”.
McCormack, who grew up on family farms in rural New South Wales, has since apologised for these comments. He also says his views on homosexuality have evolved over time.
“I have grown and learnt not only to tolerate but to accept all people, regardless of their sexual orientation, or any other trait or feature which makes each of us different and unique,” he said in a statement last year, Junkee reports.
But his homophobic past is under intense public scrutiny as the 53-year-old steps into the role of the second most powerful person in Australian government.
— Kiera (@KieraGorden) February 21, 2018