The transformation of Parliament House
Heterosexuals not welcome!
The government, under the guiding hand of Malcolm Turnbull, has realised that Parliament House in Canberra, a very expensive asset of the people, has become redundant as a workable seat of power. The SSM issue has proven to be far more popular than prudent legislation and wise governance otherwise beneficial to the citizens of Australia. Therefore, Parliament House will forthwith become Australia’s Gretna Green, a ‘love and equality’ pilgrimage for all poofters, queers and deviants near and far.
Morning Mail’s Social and Fashion Editor, Butch Bumolé, files this story from the new Gretna Green sanctuary on parliament hill.
While the Canberra Transvestite Social Club was busy coating the new zillion-dollar security fence with iridescent rainbow paint, inside the old lower house the visitors’ gallery was packed and the fashion was decidedly rainbow, with lisping fashionistas decked in glittering, pigeon-feather boas.
The plush green leather seats of former members are now dazzling pink cubicles with white damask privacy curtains where courting couples engage with wedding consultants. On the floor that once served as the lower house chamber the despatch boxes and all accompanying furniture has been sold off to finance the Parliamentary Poofter Divorce Fund, except the speaker’s chair which has been further elevated and accented with gold filigree—a regal touch to suit queens.
The speaker, upstaging his predecessor, the flamboyant Poofy Peter Slipper, wore a yellow lycra jumpsuit cutting a masculine figure of a rural firefighter’s outfit with the new trapdoor panel in the seat. The speaker stood before his throne, the traditional signal for silence and the chamber hushed. “The ayes have it” he announced and emotional hysteria consumed all as that very moment SSM was on the verge of becoming law.
From a hallway nearby came a loud howl from a pining, mincing poodle obnoxiously called Christopher. The lights began flickering as a seismic tremor shook the building but few noticed or cared. An MP with a gaudy rainbow tie draped over his slovenly gut and tucked inside his fly quipped that it was only the forefathers of confederation spinning in their graves, a frequent occurrence of late in this country.
Quivering with tender emotion an MP rose from his seat, pointed to the gallery aloft, and focussing on his fiancé he made political history in the new Gretna Green in Australia with, “will you marry me?” The crowd erupted with hysteria. The chief waffler hiding behind the speaker’s throne yanked the speaker him from it, donned his leather jacket and sat on high to preside over a marriage ceremony, the first in Gretna Green history.
Amid hugs and tears of joy throughout, the archdeacon of waffle pronounced them ‘man and man’. Dispensing with the traditional, “you may Now kiss the bride” the waffler, his hand in the air like Moses descending the mount said, “you may now consummate this marriage in the presence of this august body.” The bride bowed graciously toward the throne and the groom obeyed, thus ending the “split ring” affliction launched by Alan Joyce, courtesy of Qantas—their rings were now hole. There were no lemon merengue pies at the reception.
Same-sex marriage: the day Tim Wilson got the answer to the question he can now ask
As Tim Wilson made his first speech in Parliament on the final day of winter last year, he looked up toward the public gallery where his fiance, Ryan Bolger, watched on with pride.
He spoke of the sacrifices they had made for his career, and of the rings attached to their left hands. “They are the answer to a question we still cannot ask,” he told the chamber.
During the same-sex marriage debate, Liberal MP Tim Wilson proposes to his long term partner Ryan Bolger.
Fifteen months later, standing in the very same spot in the House of Representatives on Monday, he asked the question. “Ryan Patrick Bolger, will you marry me?”
The answer came back fast and loud: “Yes.”
Cheers and applause abounded. It was, as parliamentary officials later confirmed, the first known engagement on the floor of the lower house – and came as MPs began the long, final stretch of debate over same-sex marriage legislation.
Wilson and Bolger’s union epitomises the type of stable, long-term relationship of which conservative advocates of marriage equality regularly speak.
They met at a Liberal Party state council meeting at Melbourne’s Sofitel hotel in 2004 – Wilson at the start of his career, Bolger a budding school teacher. Six years later they exchanged rings, and for seven long years they have been waiting for permission to legally marry.
“We’re on the precipice of being able to,” Wilson told Fairfax Media on Monday. “Welcome to the new reality.”
The pair’s bond has only strengthened through years of distance (while Wilson worked in Sydney at the Human Rights Commission) and the daily difficulties of politics.
“I’m a tough person to be with. I’ve sacrificed a lot on behalf of both of us to do what I do – he’s been prepared to be supportive in that,” said Wilson, 37. “There’s no one who can bring me back to earth as quickly as Ryan can, which is a special talent.”
Bolger, 34, has been thrust into the spotlight not only by Wilson’s role as the member for Goldstein in Melbourne’s inner south, but by his prominent advocacy for marriage equality, which has necessarily drawn on their own relationship.
At times, that advocacy directly challenged the prevailing wisdom within the party, and Wilson did not hold back in a fiery speech on Monday as debate over same-sex marriage began.
He castigated fellow Liberals over their tortured path towards enabling marriage equality – particularly those MPs who insisted on putting same-sex marriage to a popular vote and, ultimately, to a voluntary survey.
“They have been prepared to discard numerous principles – parliamentary supremacy, representative democracy, our party’s tradition of a free vote, fiscal prudence and free speech,” he said. “I take great pride in being able to say at every single occasion I stood up and defended our institutions, traditions and freedoms ahead of the politics of the day.”
The Liberal Party should “reflect on this debate and learn from it”, Wilson said. “Some took a stop-change-at-all-costs approach, and the full costs now come with it. That was their choice – not those seeking change, and not mine. My conscience is clear.”