An emotional Hamish Macdonald has appealed directly to Scott Morrison on The Project, demanding the PM “stop the gaslighting”.
An emotional Hamish Macdonald slammed Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Friday’s episode of The Project, accusing the PM of “gaslighting” the public over the controversial Religious Discrimination Bill.
The government this week shelved the bill – which would overhaul religious freedom laws – amid concerns over an amendment that would give religious schools permission to expel trans and gender-diverse students, based on their gender identity.
“I’ve got to say, if you are gay or trans or any of the other letters of the (LGBTQ) alphabet, you’re pretty sick of getting gaslit by this Prime Minister,” said Macdonald, who came out publicly in 2019.
“He said this week that he honestly thought this bill would unite people and unite the parliament – give me a break. We remember how Scott Morrison voted on same-sex marriage. We remember your position on it. We remember that this bill came about as a response to equal marriage rights in Australia – that’s the origins of this,” Macdonald continued.
Morrison has in the past voted consistently against same-sex marriage. The religious discrimination bill had been a key election promise which now looks unlikely to be fulfilled before Australia next heads to the polls.
“Standing in Parliamant and saying you think this is going to unite people? You weren’t listening. Trans people, the gay community were telling everyone that would listen that this was harmful, that this would add to the difficulties faced by young trans people, who have some of the worst suicide rates in our community. It’s unthinkable that we would do this to young people,” said Macdonald.
A 2017 survey found young transgender Australians are “at very high risk for poor mental health, self-harming and suicide attempts,” with almost one in two trans young people having attempted suicide.
“And the Prime Minister stands up in parliament and says ‘I honestly thought this would unite people?’ Give me a break. Stop the gaslighting. Be honest about what you’re doing,” A clearly emotional Macdonald continued.
He praised the five Liberal MPs who had “stood up for fairness” by crossing the floor to vote against the bill.
Among them was NSW Liberal MP Dr Fiona Martin, a trained psychologist who has treated trans kids, and who told colleagues that she had to be able to “sleep at night”.
Another Liberal MP who crossed the floor, Dave Sharma, told news.com.au that “his conscience was clear.”
“Whatever difficulty they face in the party room or from their colleagues calling them liars on national radio this morning, all of those politicians will go to bed tonight knowing that they’ve made life at school a bit easier for trans kids,” said Macdonald.
Macdonald’s Project co-host Lisa Wilkinson agreed with his sentiments, saying: “Hopefully those kids have realised that they are being heard, and how they live their lives is their business – and politicians don’t have any right to have a say in it, at all.”.
Video of the segment spread quickly on Twitter, with Macdonald earning praise for his passionate delivery.
“Beautifully said Hamish. Spoken with conviction and deep care for people you know, have met and the broader community,” wrote one viewer.
“Great words Hamish & obviously from the heart & also how the majority of Aussies feel,” said another.
“Hamish Macdonald smashing it with honesty and fury. This is how every journalist should have reported the religious discrimination bill,” wrote another.