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Day to Day Politics: The Abbott Solution with Turnbull’s support.

Wednesday 9 August 2017

So the best-assembled brains-trust ever in the history of Australian politics has decided to let the issue of Marriage Equality go yet again down the path of a plebiscite.

So desperate they are to have the public confirm what is already known that they are prepared to spend up to $170 million of taxpayer’s money to prove it so.

They have decided to take Tony Abbott’s delaying route that will see the (non-binding) plebiscite reintroduced in the Senate where they know it will be defeated. And they knew this before the meeting on Monday.

Knowing that, they then said they would go to a postal vote that they also knew would probably not withstand what would be a rather venomous challenge in the High Court. Or it may turn out that parliamentary approval is needed for a postal plebiscite, and that certainly wouldn’t be forthcoming.

They now plan to have the postal vote in November but scant information is available and at the press conference midday yesterday, which the Prime Minister treated like a sideshow, not one journalist thought to ask the question: “what will the question be?”

In fact, I found his attitude condescending and unworthy of an Australian Prime Minister. He was giving the impression of a man who found the whole thing beneath him. And we mustn’t forget the damage this open debate will cause. There will be accusation upon accusation. Tony Abbott will lead the Christian nutters brigade and a lot of people will get hurt and as the PM said at the pressor, he won’t have much time for it. What a pathetic bunch of people they are. “I have many other calls on my time … national security, energy, the economy,” he said.

In addition, they also knew that they could have a conscience vote in the parliament this week, cop a bit of flack for caving in, then the matter would be done and dusted and everyone could move on. All with a minimum of fuss, easily and cheaply at that, doing what they were elected to do.

They could even applaud themselves for legislating gay marriage.

It makes one wonder why we elect MPs if they are too gutless to make decisions that reflect our beliefs.

But no, these people with degrees from Oxford and many of the worlds finest learning institutions preferred to keep the matter bubbling along, further infuriating a populace that is sick and tired of their procrastination.

And all this on the principle that they had made a promise at the last election that they couldn’t break. This proposition is difficult to accept when they have in the past broken promises with gay abandon (pardon the pun). And a postal vote is not what they took to the last election.

God only knows how men and women of such esteemed learning could get themselves into such a quagmire of ineptitude.

Now we know that the conservative ilk toward change is to resist it with all the ideology one’s party can gather but this is rather like an invitation to the electorate to kick you out of office sooner rather than later.

It is indeed strange that a party that presumes the rights and freedoms of the individual as sacrosanct would be withholding equal rights and freedoms from a large portion of the population.

One has to – given the trustworthiness of this government – suspect that there is more to this non-binding, non-compulsory postal plebiscite. My feeling is that it will be largely doctored to suite the ‘no’ vote. The government won’t disclose its structure even though they say it might be initiated by as early as next week. Is there something fishy here?

There are a few conclusions we can reach here. Firstly, Marriage Equality will come about despite the conservative’s prevarication and needless fear mongering. All their homophobic slurs will be written into our country’s history and the shame of their action will be recorded for future generations to witness. Even if the ‘no’ vote were to get up because of a protest of silence then the matter will remain unresolved. And if the ‘yes’ vote wins MPs will not be bound to respect the will of the people. Now thats democracy for you.

Secondly, it beggars belief that this postal vote of dubious legal standing – this ludicrous option is the best that these people with degrees printed on the finest parchment could come up with.

Thirdly, it once again reveals just who holds the reins of power in the Liberal Party. However Turnbull chooses to parrot his support for a plebiscite, the public will be judging his weakness of leadership and the hypocrisy that floats along with it.

Fourthly, are we observing the death throes of a once proud Liberal Party with a legendary broad church of views? Maybe it’s a little early for that but it’s hard to imagine that both the hard right and the small ‘L’ remnants will be able to coexist for much longer. About all they can agree on at present is the time and date.

Fifthly, we may be witnessing the end of a political career of a man who showed so much potential as a leader but had neither the intestinal fortitude nor the courage to take on his opponents.

He has had ample opportunity to show his leadership qualities but he seems to be restricted by the contents of a certain agreement with the National Party.

He is only – hypothetically – another poll closer to losing his job.

An observation

“There are males in my life whom I can say I really love because their goodness transcends self, and manifests itself in empathy towards others. To love someone of the same-sex is as normal as loving someone of the opposite sex because love has no gender. Indeed love is when there is an irresistible urge for the need of the affection of another and the irresistibility is of its nature mutual’ Gender has nothing to do with it.”

My thought for the day.

“In the recipe of what makes a good leader there are many ingredients. Self-awareness is one. The innate ability to know whom you are and what your capabilities and limitations are. The need to have the aptitude to motivate people with your vision. Often the art of leadership is the ability to bring those otherwise opposed to your view, to accept it. It is also about delegation, empathy and understanding. It can also require from time to time the making of unpopular decisions. Decisions like going to war. However when they consistently imply the leaders own morality and spiritual beliefs they are more akin to autocracy.”

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  1. Jaquix

    Barrie Cassidy said last night that you could hold a good opinion poll for $2 million, which would be more accurate. Really, Turnbull is unbelievable. I’m a strong leader ha ha. Even Mark Kenny pointed out that if you have to say that, it’s probably not true. If they think this ridiculous use is going to work for them, they’re deluded. Senate looks like it hasn’t changed its mind. The postal vote is the supreme stupidity. Completely unreliable. Lots won’t bother to vote, some will “boycott” and religious bodies and Lyle Shelton of ACL will mobilize their flocks (dare I say, of sheep). The final result will be suspect. And Malcolm (rocking on feet) announces he will “facilitate” a vote in parliament after that. Really?

  2. Terry2

    Malcolm, if you insist on a your plebiscite, surely the question has to be :

    Do you agree that all Australians should be treated equally under Australian laws.

    That’s it !

  3. Jennifer Gregory

    ““I have many other calls on my time … national security, energy, the economy,” he said.”” And failing at almost everything.

    And his arrogance hiding his shame, perhaps?

  4. Harquebus

    Once you’ve been handed a good distraction, you might as well make the most of it.
    I just want this matter settled and I don’t care how and I don’t care either way about the result. If a plebiscite does it then, bring it on.

  5. Dave

    Shame, I have too “many calls on my time” to read this article John Lord……It’s ok though, I know what Australia is in desperate need of, and it’s not me!………….That Couldn’t Happen In Australia,..Could It?

  6. helvityni

    Harquebus, don’t you think that all that money (and time) spent on unnecessary plebiscites could be spent more wisely, say on cheap housing for homeless, now sleeping in tents….

    On the Drum last night some bloke was boasting ‘we are one of richest countries in the world’, and I shouted back:’ you might be, but what about those jobless and homeless…’ ( that woke up the Jack Russell, sorry Jack)

  7. wam

    Conservatives see not love but sex, not the joy of sharing love but ‘pillow biting’.

    They believe gays cannot control their sexuality(wow the church shows abuse of boys and girls, ted haggard etc) and are the cause of moral decay.

    Remember the church backing little johnnies anti-gay law of 2004? Imagine their ads?

    The nation will find it very hard to look up to the leaders who are keeping their ears to the ground. —Sir Winston Churchill
    Helvityni the septic post ‘our vets are homeless but we give billion to overseas countries is shared??

  8. Jack Straw

    Wam : Conservatives see not love but sex, not the joy of sharing love but ‘pillow biting’.

    Many conservatives are just scared they may be tempted. Cori Bernardi for one.He’s very anal about his fears.

  9. helvityni

    wam, vote in better governments and we can do it all, help the needy here and overseas…

    In religious Ireland they accept the SSM, here we put endless silly obstacles to prevent it from happening, we can hardly talk about being innovative and agile…oops, we ARE very innovative when it comes to preventing GOOD things from happening…

    I’d love to have ONE good, brave, strong, compassionate leader…having TWO (at the same time) is not on….time to move on , not to stand still or slide backwards…

  10. havanaliedown

    I’m happy for gays to get married – some of my clients are couples of very long standing (and I must mention they are great people) regardless of a marriage certificate, and live great lives. Once “Marriage Equality” is in place, there will be a strident call for Musims to have their “marriage equality” too – to marry multiple women, and how dare we discriminate against them?

  11. Frank Smith

    Turnbull’s weak leadership is demonstrated almost daily – one wonders how he can sleep at night with all the bad vibes that generates – he must at least have very conflicted dreams.

    The MSM gurus appear to be claiming that this second attempt at passing a plebicite bill through the Senate this week is doomed to failure. I am a little confused by that and in need of enlightenment by someone better versed in Senate procedures. My confusion arises because two of the Senators who voted against the measure last time, Ludlum and Waters are no longer sitting in the Senate and their absence would appear to me to make the outcome a little more difficult to predict at this stage. Who can clear this up?

    Harquebus, why do you want to send $122 million of us taxpayers money down the drain?

  12. Terry2

    Here’s a compromise : have a plebiscite and have the Liberal party pay for it.

    There you go !

  13. Regional Elder

    Malcolm Turnbull has but one goal, to retain the Prime Ministership longer than Tony Abbott did.
    He will achieve that but at enormous cost to this nation.

    Given the Coalition’s current one seat majority in the Reps, and the fact that Turnbull threw $1.75 million of his own money into Liberal coffers to achieve that outcome, the current Prime Minister looks pathetically venal in pursuit of his goal.

    Ironically, for him, the longer he remains in his position, the more effectively he is narrowing the gap between himself and Abbott for the title of ‘ Australia’s Worst Prime Minister ‘ .

  14. Terry2


    You are right. The previous Senate vote was lost 33 – 29 but with two less voting against a plebiscite (Waters and Ludlum) it tends to sway it in the government’s favour. But, if pairs are granted – meaning as I understand that two coalition members would not vote – we will be back to square one. The granting of pairs is, however at the discretion of the government.

    We shall see.

  15. Möbius Ecko

    By the way if it goes to a postal poll, and that’s what it is, then it’s not a plebiscite as they can only be run through the AEC. So the L-NP have broken their supposed unequivocal (as Cormann put it) promise to the Australian people on having a plebiscite.

    The L-NP can keep calling it a Postal Plebiscite as much as they want, it still doesn’t make it one, unless they do it through the AEC and not the ABS. I’ve only seen one reporter (from the ABC) pick up on this.

  16. Frank Smith

    Thanks, Terry2. Canavan should be one of those “pairs”, but the slippery Libs have him remaining in his Senate spot and not doing the honorable thing like Ludlum and Waters. So, we will wait and see if they are prepared to grant pairs in this circumstance or have Bookends find some obscure excuse embedded deep inside that mammoth law library of his. I also picked up somewhere that Hinch may be wavering.

  17. Wun Farlung

    A non-binding plebiscite, a non-binding postal plebiscite
    The Mal-contents have managed to hold this pig long enough to get the lipstick on… twice
    Good work from the do nothing Government

  18. helvityni

    Möbius Ecko
    August 9, 2017 at 10:17 am

    I think it was on the Drum that someone explained that it is a POSTAL POLL, not a postal plebiscite…

    Calling it a postal plebiscite they are trying to convince us that they are keeping their election promises…

  19. Barry

    The plebiscite has been voted down by the Senate

  20. jimhaz


    “Commentators and armchair pundits who think a public vote on same-sex marriage will return a ‘yes’ vote should remember this. The ‘no’ forces are already broadening out their campaign to include political correctness and religious freedom. That might have nothing to do with the actual question people will be asked to consider but it doesn’t mean people won’t listen to the messages.

    If recent history has shown us anything it’s that predicting the outcome of any election – particularly one that might be voluntary as a postal ballot would be – is a fool’s game”

    Things are going to get nasty. A No vote with postal as the medium would not surprise me.

  21. jimhaz

    [Marriage is supposed to be about love, not hate]

    Conservatives see not love but sex, not the joy of sharing love but ‘pillow biting’.

    I agree, but this shows just how muddled their (non-)thinking is. The idea of marriage is to force a higher level of relationship effort, problem solving and discipline than would otherwise exist. This extra stability surely could only help kids. More kids will be harmed by the hatred that develops between incompatible parents who do not divorce due to religion, than married gay parents.

    Conservatives act as if they have a chance of rolling back some of the de-facto family related rights that have been extended to gay folk (such as adoption or having kids themselves).

    I’m fairly certain my teachers aide niece would like to get married – she and her policewoman girlfriend have a 1 year old via in vitro. Responsible people doing responsible and community based jobs being treated like ebola carriers.

  22. Zathras

    There was a time when Australian servicemen working in post WW2 Japan were not allowed to marry Japanese women and State laws that either forbade (QLD) or insisted on (WA) intermarriage with Aborigines.

    It wasn’t until 1967 that the USA finally allowed mixed marriages.

    Some of us remember the social upheaval and family problems caused by the intermarriage of Catholics and Protestants back in the 1950’s.

    So much for the “true definition” of marriage and living in an open, tolerant society.

    This is nothing but an attempt by a gutless PM to avoid the inevitable while protecting his own position from the zealots behind him.
    It’s always been about him.

    I can see why they were trying to repeal 18C – to permit the ugliness that is yet to come to spew forth.

  23. Mark Needham

    OH, and lets not have the Australian people vote.
    Bastard Democracy, Hey!
    Mark Needham.
    PS. The bloody cost, Millions,is absolute bullshit, and that is another festering pimple on the arse of Democracy/

  24. Harquebus

    “Harquebus, why do you want to send $122 million of us taxpayers money down the drain?”
    Compared to the time and resources wasted on this issue, it is cheap. I just want it over.

  25. Mark Needham

    Harquebus. There is no HURRY. Wait till the next federal election, on the house of reps paper, just have a yes or no.
    Mate, that is money spent wisely.
    Not pissed up against the wall. The money that is wasted in this country is, dare I say it, Appalling.
    Appalled and bloody angry, about the time that is being spent, on gay bloody marriage, for christs sake. An absolute waste of brain energy, feather fluffing and a mans time.
    To me this gay stuff is womens business, and as usual with womens business, it is about nothing.
    Getting on,
    Mark Needham.

  26. Möbius Ecko

    On a technicality Barry, which was the government’s aim. From what I understood they didn’t resubmit the original legislation but a note (not the proper term) knowing that would fail. Having it fail on a technicality is a simpler less painful route for the government.

  27. paul walter

    So sneaky and crawly.

  28. Wayne Turner

    Turnbull is a GUTLESS waste of space. The sooner,this whole COALition goes,the better…


    Parliament should decide. This is a wasteful dumb policy from the NOalition.

    I sadly predict the NO vote will get up because of the lack of people voting,and the number of gullible idiots that will fall for the BS LIES..


  29. helvityni

    Whatever it is THEY say or DO, I don’t like it.

    If Mal is happy to follow Tony’s policy book on everything,then why did he want to be our PM… We wanted a change, not more of the same…

  30. John Lord

    Thanks for all your comments. No doubt this topic will occupy our thoughts over the next few months.

  31. John L

    Oh FFS, just pass it and get on with life, all you anal retentive, fearful conservatives. The world won’t end, in fact, you won’t even notice.
    My younger son is gay and got married to his long time partner last year. (NZ). The world didn’t end, they are both happy, working, paying off their house, etc,etc. Just like “normal” people.
    Reactionary conservatives, you are pathetic!

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