Wednesday 20 September
1 This week’s Guardian Essential Poll tightened up a little with Labor leading the Coalition 52/48. However, if that was consistent across the country then it would still be a big win for Labor.
Public support for marriage equality has dropped 4% in a fortnight and opposition is up 3%, according to Essential.
The months leading up to Christmas are shaping up like the calm before the storm. Turnbull has to contend with the Marriage Equality survey, eligibility of some MPs to sit, and no Energy policy.
Seasoned veteran journalist Paul Bongiorno said yesterday that some senior members of the parliamentary press gallery predicted that Malcolm Turnbull would win the next election.
Yes, this is in spite of the fact that the government has not won a Newspoll since the last election. The average of all the polls is close to an 8 per cent lead to Labor. “How is it possible?” I hear you say. Well, it’s based on the premise that Turnbull will still be leader at the election and that it will be held two years from now.
Three comments. One, I don’t see a reason to replace him. Anyone else would be more unpopular. Two, I don’t see another two years in them. After considering all the complications of state and federal elections it is my fervent belief that the next election will be held around this time next year. Thirdly, the die is cast, the people have judged and their minds are set in concrete.
If the ‘Yes’vote wins – although yesterday’s Essential survey shows a tightening in the votes – Turnbull will claim a victory over the conservatives and Abbott. If it’s a clear win, some will interpret it a victory over absurdity and others like me will see it a protest against mediocrity of governance.
Already the forces of the far right are muddying the waters with half-truths, omissions and deliberately trying to make other issues the order or the day.
If the ‘No’ vote wins, it will be a stunning repudiation of Turnbull and the senior members of his government who are campaigning hard for marriage equality.
2 A sleeper for the Government to have some concerns about is the appointment of Nigel Hadgkiss as Commissioner of the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) last year when it knew he had been accused of breaching workplace laws during his earlier tenure as head of the Fair Work Commission’s building and construction office.
Fancy a LNP Government appointing people accused of committing crimes.
3 Here is something from the front page of the Newcastle Herald under the headline
‘It’s NOT OK’. Please don’t think that because I’m posting the words of others that I’m neglecting my own. It’s just that now and then I come across words worth passing on.
“The LNP will never be able to reinvent themselves because they are capital “C” Conservatives. This means that they do not just have reservations about change in general, but that they are firm adherents to a particular ideological viewpoint. It is not fair to other people who belong to the first camp as it lumps them in with the ideologues who are incapable of change. They cannot change as they are in a state of denial about any need to change. I think it would be fair to say that they are the worst, most dangerous and damaging government ever to be inflicted on the Australian people. Having a group of such rusted on ideologues in charge is akin to having a religious state. Facts and science are routinely attacked if they conflict with dogma. For a truly secular state we should be outlawing such governments.”
“To read every article the Australian has published on Safe Schools is to induce nausea. This isn’t even a comment on the content, just the sheer volume … And yet, across this entire period, the Australian – self-appointed guardian of the safety of children – spoke to not a single school-aged LGBTIQ youth. Not even one. Later, queer teenagers who followed the Safe Schools saga told me the dynamic felt familiar. AT SCHOOL, ITS KNOWN AS BULLYING. IN JOURNALISM, ITS CALLED A BEAT-UP.” (Benjamin Law, Moral Panic 101).
4 On Facebook a friend (Hayden Timothy) posted the following:
“Stephen and I are a completely normal couple. We do normal couple things. We go grocery shopping together. We bicker about stupid things. We watch the news together. We even do that weird meowing thing that a lot of couples do apparently.
But because we’re both men, that means we’re ‘different’. Even though we pay the same taxes everyone else does. We catch the same public transport. We work the same jobs (sort of). It’s weird – we’re more heteronormative than most straight couples we know. I honestly don’t even think of ourselves as a ‘gay’ couple. Sure, we’re two guys, but whose business is that?!
But because we are both male, we’re not offered equal rights by law. No matter how ‘normally’ we live. Isn’t Australia meant to be an egalitarian society? Doesn’t that by definition mean we all deserve equal rights?
I cannot believe it has actually come to a postal survey. The very thing we’ve been fighting against for years now and has never on any level been a viable idea. But this stupid thing arrived in our mailbox today and suddenly Stephen and I found ourselves having to fill in a box about whether, in our humble opinion, we should be allowed to get married.
The second I saw this form I felt a rage I’ve never felt before. A public opinion poll on a decision that is completely private, and completely nobody else’s business but ours. I felt angry that every person in Australia is being asked whether Stephen and I should be able to marry. I felt angry that LGBTQI kids now have to deal with hate from our own government, on top of everything else. I felt angry that they decided to spend 122 MILLION DOLLARS on a little piece of paper that doesn’t even actually guarantee any change to our laws.
Posting my answer to this questionnaire was one of the most humiliating things I’ve ever had to do in my life. I’ve been so fortunate to grow up with a significant amount of privilege. But for anyone – SO many – people in the greater queer community who are more vulnerable and have no support network, this fiasco could be completely devastating. I am so ashamed of our country and our government for putting you through all of this. To anyone who feels like an ‘other’, please know that you are not alone. There is so much love and support out there, despite this government’s best efforts.
This is NOT a vote on same-sex parenting. This is NOT a vote on safe schools. This is NOT a vote on bestiality. This is NOT a vote on religious freedoms. This is simply an opinion poll on whether Stephen and I, and so many others like us, are able to have the choice to get married if we’d like to. We might; we might not. But the choice should be ours, and not anybody else’s. Not the catholic church’s. And certainly not Tony Abbott’s.
If you disagree and are voting no, I encourage you to come and find me and tell me IN PERSON that you do not think I deserve the same rights as you. This is personal, so tell me to my face.
Think of this vote as an early RSVP. Those who vote ‘no’ will not be welcome – to our wedding, or in our lives.”
5 Now, just a few words to finish this section. My 13-year-old grandson visits us on his way home from school. I generally pick him up if it’s raining. The conversation usually starts with something about school:
Me: “What happened today?”
Him: “Not much” The usual answer. Oh wait. “We had a free period so we had a discussion about Marriage Equality”
Me: “Really, how did that happen?”
Him: One of the girls started talking about it.”
Me: “Do you find the girls more mature.”
My wife: “They usually are.”
Me: “So what did they have to say about it.”
Him: “Most of us agreed that they should be allowed to marry. It was only a few boys who I think didn’t understood what marriage equality was about who voted against it. I should get you to talk to them poppa, he laughed.”
“Love is when there is an irresistible urge for the need of the affection of another and the irresistibility is of its nature mutual. It has no gender.”
6 Changing subjects … I have a great appreciation for the writing of Alan Kohler. Here are some words from last week:
“Actually climate change denial is demolishing Australian politics, and has been for 10 years.
The refusal of about half the nation’s politicians, and much of the media, to believe what scientists and business leaders say on this subject — while believing them on other subjects — has brought the normal functioning of politics and sensible policy grinding to a halt.
It’s going to be a long and difficult rebuild, but with the electrification of transport now happening, time is running out.”
“As Turnbull theatrically struts around throwing out childish taunts like ‘Blackout Bill’ and ‘No Coal Joel’, it should be remembered that … our energy crisis can be laid squarely at the feet of a divided Coalition whose own power struggles over the last decade have made it impossible for them to come up with any sort of enduring policy.”
7 On this day a year ago I wrote:
Peter Dutton was interviewed on Insiders on Sunday and gave his answers to questions on a “need to know” basis. Again he blamed Labor for everything to do with refugees, and avoids the point of the questions.
He was again asked about the future of innocent people who the Government has condemned to a life of incarceration without having committed a crime.
All he would say was “we are in discussions with other countries”. Which of course is the same answer he has been giving ever since he became Immigration Minister.
My thought for the day
“Wisdom is but a reflection on growing older.”