Scott Morrison
Australia's Immigration Minister Scott Morrison speaks during an interview with Reuters in Phnom Penh September 26, 2014. Reuters/Samrang Pring

Scott Morrison has claimed he has also been exposed to “hatred and bigotry” because of his conservative views. The Treasurer was branded clueless and out of reach on social media after he responded to Labor Party’s Penny Wong’s fears of homophobia if Australia will have a same-sex marriage plebiscite.

In the Lionel Murphy Memorial lecture at the Australian National University on Tuesday, Wong, who is openly gay, said that a planned plebiscite for same-sex marriage would open the LGBTI community to hatred and homophobia. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull promised to hold the plebiscite if the Coalition is re-elected.

“Mr Turnbull and many commentators on this subject don’t understand that for gay and lesbian Australians, hate speech is not abstract. It’s real. It’s part of our everyday life,” she said.

Although she believed that there are good Australian people, she knew from personal experience that those against gay marriage would insult and vilify same-sex relationships.

“I oppose a plebiscite because I do not want my relationship, my family, to be the subject of inquiry, of censure, of condemnation by others. And I don’t want other relationships, other families to be targeted either.”

Wong has two children with partner Sophie Allouache.

Speaking on ABC Radio on Wednesday, Morrison said he understood Wong’s fears but, like the senator, people who don’t want to legalise same-sex marriage in Australia are also subject to denigration.

“I respect Penny’s fears that she has raised. Equally, there are many who have a different view to Penny and to others over what should happen to same sex marriage. I have a different view to that and people have strong religious views, they have also been subject to quite strong hate speech as well. It is not confined to one side of the debate,” he said.

The conservative MP also claimed he has been a victim of hate speech and bigotry for expressing his beliefs that homosexuals should not get married.

“I know it from personal experience, having been exposed to that sort of hatred and bigotry for the views I have taken from others who have a different view to me but I think the best way is for all of us to have a say on this, deal with it and move on.”

The social media weren’t convinced of Morrison’s assertion that he, as a straight white Christian man, also experiences discrimination for his views. Some Twitter users have called him out on it, saying he has falsely presented himself as a victim when he is the instigator.