Liberal Senator Cory Bernardi was in a huff this week (how very unlike him) over a report in The Daily Telegraph regarding a Sydney University lecture on the treatment of gay people by Nazi Germany in which the Tele alleged that students were told it was “something out of (Liberal senator Cory Bernardi’s) handbook”.

A tipster tells us the paper “totally misrepresented” the lecture. According to the tipster, the lecture was on the non-Jewish victims of the Nazi regime, including LGBTI people and the disabled, and students were shown paragraph 175 of the Wilhelmine Penal Code, which made homosexuality a crime from 1871 to 1994 in Germany. Some 140,000 men were convicted under the code. This section of the law bans homosexuality as well as bestiality. Bernardi has drawn comparisons with the push for same-sex marriage to bestiality in the past. The lecture was designed to demonstrate how some of the rhetoric used against LGBTI people remains the same, says our tipster:

“The students were reminded of the rhetoric used by current opponents to marriage equality (including Senator Bernardi) had contained similar comparisons. At no time was he compared to ‘a Nazi’.

“Later in the session, a statement was made to the effect that the significance of the Nazi period to current social policy debate, such as treatment of asylum seekers, is best understood in the subtle continuities (social, cultural and political) from that time. No comparison was made to concentration camps. It appears that a mischievous and disgruntled student sought to stir trouble with misrepresentations or just lies.”

Peter Fray

Get your first 12 weeks of Crikey for $12.

Without subscribers, Crikey can’t do what it does. Fortunately, our support base is growing.

Every day, Crikey aims to bring new and challenging insights into politics, business, national affairs, media and society. We lift up the rocks that other news media largely ignore. Without your support, more of those rocks – and the secrets beneath them — will remain lodged in the dirt.

Join today and get your first 12 weeks of Crikey for just $12.


Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey