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May 19, 2022
‘Complete Waste of Money’: Senator Calls to Defund Australian LGBTQIA+ Group
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‘Complete Waste of Money’: Senator Calls to Defund Australian LGBTQIA+ Group

One Nation leader Mark Latham has called for the defunding of the LGBTQIA+  performance and research enterprise the Department of Homo Affairs (DOHA), which has been operating from the Sydney Powerhouse museum free of charge.

Latham on Thursday said that while there are lots of pressing needs around the state, starting with flood relief, the government has “wasted money” on funding with taxpayer resources outfits that are “completely political, and unnecessary.”

It comes as the budget estimates on Wednesday revealed the Power Museum at Ultimo handed over floor space and free use of facilities and staff support under the creative industries residency program to DOHA, which defines itself as a “collective of radical queer activists and artists.”

According to the Powerhouse’s website, the group generates “critical queer commentary and artefacts relating to Australia’s border politics and cultures of white supremacy and xenophobia.”

Latham said if the group wants to campaign in election time and raise their own money it is “well and good,” but it is a “complete waste of money” because it is tax-payer funded.

“This is a political outfit masquerading as an arts body, and there’s no way in the world they should receive tens of thousands of dollars of public support for their political activism,” Latham told 2GB radio. “This is a slur on the Department of Home Affairs as … they did a great job in stopping the bias and keeping our borders intact,” he said.

“They’re campaigning for open borders, so helping the people smugglers and reviving those dreadful boats where so many of the asylum seekers drowned … They’re attacking Australia with lies.”

He told 2GB, “If you and I use that word homo, we’d be in deep strife.”

Latham also noted that some members of the LGBTQIA+ community may also be upset by the collective’s confronting name.

“ Some people in the gay community might take as a slur to label them the Department of Homo Affairs,” he said.

He added that the collective has been using its Twitter account to campaign against Israel on behalf of the Palestinian movement “to the point of anti-semitism.”

“If you handed over free taxpayer-funded space in the middle of Sydney to the Greens party, this is the equivalent of it,” he said.

The Epoch Times reached out to the collective but did not receive a response to a request for comment at the time of publication.

The performance has made a name for itself with its attention-seeking protests.

On March 1, 2020, it protested against the presence of the Liberal Party float and Captain Cook’s landing at Botany Bay at Sydney’s Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. At least three protesters were removed by police from the parade.

In 2021 New South Wales police arrested four members of the collective for a protest that targeted NSW police at the Mardi Gras in Sydney.

In a fundraising page to support the arrested members of the group, DOHA said that they had performed their protest in solidarity with First Nation communities.

“The Department of Homo Affairs (DOHA) intercepted the NSW and Federal Police floats. Dressed as cricket umpires we jumped onto the SCG field and called the cops OUT! Our action was in solidarity with over-policed communities, in particular, First Nations communities,” DOHA said.

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Nina Nguyen is a reporter based in Sydney. She covers Australian news with a focus on social, cultural, and identity issues. She is fluent in Vietnamese. Contact her at nina.nguyen@epochtimes.com.au.

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