New Deputy PM wrote many homophobic articles
NEWLY emerged editorials penned by Michael McCormack when he was a newspaper editor show the now Deputy Prime Minister repeatedly vilified homosexuals in print, even going as far as to proudly describe himself as a homophobe.
But Mr McCormack has broken his silence on his divisive views, saying his opinions have changed over the past two decades as he grew older and started a family.
The Daily Telegraph has examined a year's worth of newspapers Mr McCormack edited at Wagga Wagga's The Daily Advertiser, which show that his now infamous column "Sordid homosexuality - it's becoming more entrenched" was far from a one-off.
It was one of many in which he rails against gay people "infiltrating" schools, businesses and the military.
The week after his first column, Mr McCormack wrote another editorial titled "I will not say sorry, why should I be" in which the new Nationals leader wrote "I have no pangs of guilt for telling the truth about what gays are doing to the world and the decent people living in it".
"I've been labelled homophobic ... well, if homophobic can be taken as an intense fear of homosexuals then that's fine, call me homophobic," he wrote.
But Mr McCormack yesterday told The Daily Telegraph he has had a major change of heart since those editorials, published in 1992 and 1993, as he grew older and started a family.
"Editorial views expressed more than 25 years ago in no way reflect how my views and community views have changed since publication," he said.
"Australia in the early-'90s was very different to what it is now.
"I say this not to excuse the culture which once existed but to put the quotes in context.
"As people get older and start families, and grow as members of their community it is completely reasonable their views change over time."
Mr McCormack even voted in favour of allowing same-sex marriage last year after 54.6 per cent of his Riverina electorate backed the move in the postal survey.
But as editor of the Advertiser, Mr McCormack put forth starkly different views, including claiming in November 1992 that allowing gay people to serve in the military would "pervert our armed services" and was "morally wrong and highly inappropriate".
And in another editorial published in the same month, entitled "Stop pandering to the gays" he argued the government should not recognise de facto gay relationships because that would be "pandering to the whims of the 'limp-wristed' minority".
Several months later, another editorial arguing against an anti-discrimination push, reads: "This public assertion of what most people still consider dangerous, unnatural and undesirable preferences that influence many business judgments in the employment of homosexuals."
Prominent gay rights campaigners have welcomed Mr McCormack's change of views, but remained concerned he would not "walk the talk".
Sydney City councillor Christine Forster said Mr McCormack's views had "evolved".
"Most Australians have family members, friends, colleagues or neighbours who are gay, and of course that interaction with other human beings can change people's views," she said.