Thursday, May 05, 2005

drawing a long rainbow

I asked the NSW leader of the Nationals, Andrew Stoner, what his big problem was with the books “The Rainbow Cubby House” and “Koalas on Parade”. See, my local paper ran a little piece entitled “Same-Sex Marriage Being Encouraged in Schools” the other day, in which Stoner railed against these books. This is an excerpt from one of the books that really outraged him:

There’s the doorbell! It must be Jed and his dads. I can hear their dog, Scout, barking. Our dog Jack is barking too. Jed is carrying tinsel and lights and his dad has a ladder.

I can’t pick it either. I thought for sure there’d be something like, “And then the Koalas put on their dresses, snorted some coke and set out for Mardi Gras”. But no. Stoner is quoted as saying,
"The books are clearly inappropriate for young children and are an outrageous attempt to brainwash our kids."

Me, I’m of the view that the earlier kids are encouraged to learn to tolerate difference, the easier it’ll be later on. You might as well make it part of their moral development, right? Anyway, I asked Stoner if he really thought these books would "encouarge" children to somehow choose homosexuality and he dismissed me with,
“The objection is not to the books themselves, it was to the way the State is seeking to introduce sensitive/politically correct material into public schools...Saying that the books encourage same sex marriages is not a comment of mine and in my view is drawing a long bow”.

Really? What about that "brainwashing" comment? Well, if he was misrepresented, maybe he should approach the paper to clarify the story with its readers--unless of course he’s happy being portrayed as a paranoid redneck.
But it’s of no real consequence. The Nationals are probably getting more and more irrelevant in post-seachange Rural and Regional Australia anyway.