Late last year, not long before his party’s controversial same-sex marriage plebiscite was finally shelved, Liberal Senator Eric Abetz was at a book launch in Hobart lamenting the left-wing media for failing to celebrate people who “decide to go from homosexual to heterosexual lifestyles”.
Speaking with Sky News reporter Samantha Maiden today, he appeared to double down on the claim, expressing his bemusement that only half the story ever seems to warrant reportage.
“I think we all know people that have been in, if I can call it that, a straight relationship who have gone on to be in a gay relationship and people then doing the opposite,” he told Maiden.
“Why we can’t report on the two-way traffic is something that has bemused me somewhat and is indicative of a certain bias in the media that they only want one side of the equation spoken about.”
Earlier in the exchange, the journalist had asked the Tasmanian Senator if he personally believed gays and lesbians could become heterosexuals with “a bit of discipline”.
As it happens there is, in fact, some evidence of sexual fluidity, according to Abetz, which thankfully was tendered to at least one Senate Committee.
“Samantha, the reality is and evidence has been given to Senate Committees where people that have been in gay relationships have gone into heterosexual relationships and I believe that can happen courtesy of the evidence…”
Maiden interrupted the 59-year-old’s citation of “the actual evidence, the real evidence” bisexuality exists, to ask if he thought “gay people should try not to be gay”.
“It is up to the individual as to what they want to be and how they want to express themselves. That is up to them in a free society,” the politician who makes his iron-clad opposition to marriage equality no secret.
In a statement on his website, Abetz again clarified his comments and chided Maiden for taking a line of “extremist questioning”.
Listen: Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull discusses the fate of marriage equality with Mia Freedman. (Post continues after audio.)
“Just as people who were at one point straight can become homosexual, there are many instances of people who were homosexual who determine that they are no longer gay. Indeed, it is also universally accepted that a larger number of people ‘experiment’ with homosexuality than ultimately identify in that way,” he wrote.
“In this age of ‘celebrating diversity and acceptance’, I would hope that these unremarkable statements would be accepted in the same goodwill as most Australians accept that people are free to determine their own sexual identity.”
The interview followed the launch of a new campaign this morning by a collaboration of big businesses, calling on Australians to wear “acceptance rings” until same-sex unions are legalised.