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A fine Labor Senator. I jest not…

Jacinta Collins

Inspiring article on Labor Senator Jacinta Collins, and the adoption that was not an abortion. When the Labor dross is hosed away at this election, there will be a few solid characters like her remaining in Her Majesty’s loyal opposition, and that is a very good thing.

Excerpts (read the whole excellent piece by Chip le Grand HERE)

IT is easy to take aim at Jacinta Collins if you’ve never met her. Anti-abortion. Anti-euthanasia. Anti-gay marriage. A cardboard cut-out Catholic dramatically elevated into Labor’s leadership team after the second coming of Kevin Rudd.

Over the best part of 20 years, whenever the federal parliament has turned to matters of conscience, Senator Collins has stood as a prominent, sensibly dressed impediment to reform. In 2000, she threatened to support moves that would prevent lesbians and single women from having access to IVF. Two years later she expressed “strong moral exception” to the use of human embryos in medical research. Her support for “biological parenting as a social norm” in the heat of last year’s same-sex marriage debate gave birth to a thousand angry retweets. Yet throughout her time in politics, Collins is most remarkable for what she has never spoken about.

… For a national, public figure preparing to contest her fourth federal election, Collins is intensely private. Where many parliamentarians draw personal experiences into public debate – particularly on ethical questions decided by conscience votes – Collins has resisted the temptation, even in instances where her work has taken her achingly close to home. In 2010, as parliamentary secretary for school education, Collins launched a national network for young parents and pregnant women. “[They] have the toughest job of all, raising children, but it is even harder for them because society punishes them, whether it be through scornful looks, abusive remarks or simply shutting them off,” she told high school students at the launch. She didn’t tell them that she had felt those looks herself.

…Penny Wong, an openly gay senator, says the public caricature of Collins sits at odds with the woman she knows. “At a personal level I have always found her to be someone who takes people as they are and treats people well,” Wong says. “She is a no-nonsense, get-down-to-work, focused-on-getting-the-outcome kind of person to work with. It is very easy for politicians to be stereotyped and sometimes caricatured. My experience of Jacinta is she has a much broader, human approach to dealing with people than those stereotypes.”

(MEMO to Sen Wong: try believing a few other people are broader than your passive-aggressive reactions on SBS would suggest, when they oppose homosexual marriage on the grounds of the child’s right to both a mother and father – DvG)

…Nevertheless, Collins has never worried much about being the odd one out, whether as a pregnant teen or the senator progressives love to hate. “I have not been particularly concerned about social stigma,” she says. “That personal sense of self-esteem or worth of life, it has probably formed the base of why ultimately I did social work, why I played the role I did in the union movement, and why I am now in politics.” It is her greatest gift, she says. Perhaps bar one.

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