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Day to Day Politics: Careful, Malcolm, it might blow up in your face.

Friday 4 August 2017

“It was as clear as mud and it covered the ground and the confusion made me brain go round” (Old English Madrigal).

This government is led by a Prime Minister who is in favor of marriage equality and could have a parliamentary vote next Monday if he had the balls.

He is against the proposed original plebiscite because his party – or those with extreme views within it – are telling him what to do otherwise they will toss him out. So he has to go along with what they say.

Now, because normal plebiscites wont please 5 or 6 back benchers that say they will cross the floor they are pre proposing a postal plebiscite.

You will recall that a bill to enable a plebiscite failed to pass parliament last year. Some Liberals want the bill re-committed to parliament, while others say a voluntary postal ballot could achieve the same aim without the need for legislation.

The four Liberals in question are Warren Entsch, Trevor Evans, Tim Wilson and Trent Zimmerman.

All have indicated that they might cross the floor on the issue and as a consequence war has broken out within Liberal ranks. Pre-selection has come into play and Tony Abbott has just stopped short of head butting someone.

Warren Entsch, who has a gay son and is a long time supporter of marriage equality said

“And if they had the balls like we had, to stand up and state our position and be accountable of it – then it goes to the level of individual that they are.”

The Prime Minister is open to the proposal even though he vehemently opposed one when he was Chairman of the Australian Republican Movement (ARM).

“Flies in the face of Australian democratic values” he said.

He argued that postal voting would unfairly disenfranchise millions of Australian voters.

Malcolm Turnbull In 1997, as leader of the ARM wrote an article arguing against a postal vote on the republic, saying it would contravene basic democratic values.

He was and still is correct but might soon have to explain yet again why he is supporting something he doesn’t believe in.

“It is likely to ensure that not only will a minority of Australians vote, but also that large sections of the community will be disfranchised.”

But of course the lawyers have suggested that a postal vote at first blush might seem to be politically attractive, it does hold some legal pitfalls.

Constitutional expert George Williams said a vote of this kind would ordinarily be supported by legislation, “otherwise it could be subject to a constitutional challenge in the High Court.”

He also added that the government might be able to fund the vote using the Commonwealth Electoral Act, but this was a fraught course of action because that mechanism is not built for a plebiscite of this kind” if it were to go to the High Court.

“It’s something that really could explode in the government’s face,” said Mr Williams.

What’s it all about? Well it’s to find out something we already know. It’s no mystery, people. The majority of Australians are in favor of marriage equality.

The conservatives want the people to endorse what they have already told it, even if it could cost $200 million.

Labor want to do what the people have previously given parliament permission to do. Which is of course to do what they normally do when legislation comes before them. Vote on it.

At this stage we should remind ourselves just what it’s really all about:

“It’s about whether the majority of us think that a minority group are equal to us.”

All this talk about a postal vote might just be the worst thing Malcolm could do. It will prolong the issue into next year and if it goes to the High Court, even longer. Imagine the arguments when the form arrives. What will the 18 year olds tell their folks? Or maybe family pressure will come to bare.

Not to mention the stress LBGT people will find themselves under. But who gives a stuff about them.

Maybe it’s all a ploy. If it’s not compulsory will a minority of apathetic Australians fail to vote and would that put the question in doubt.

Could the whole thing end up in a rainbow of ambiguity with either side unable to claim a clear majority? (Remember Brexit). Then we could start all over again.

Who get all the money to state the opposite cases?

I think given the complete balls up the Prime Minister and his government have made of the issue, and many others, that it might just turn into an enormous protest vote against the government.

Now what was the question?

My thought for the day

“Sometimes love cannot be spoken but shown.”

PS: The latest is that the Nats will meet Friday and the Libs on Monday to see if they can reach an agreement. There is really only one decision. That is to back down as they did with Gonski and as they will have to do with Finkel.

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  1. Kaye Lee

    It is worth having a read of what Turnbull said about gay marriage before Barnaby got him in a squirrel grip.

    The idea that the majority should vote on whether a minority has equal rights is a total abrogation of the responsibility of the government to ensure just that. I am sick and tired of religious people dictating the laws of this secular country and imposing their prejudices on us all. How would they like it if we had a nation wide vote on whether churches’ profitable businesses should be tax exempt. Now THERE’S a plebiscite that would quickly pay for itself.

  2. Michael Taylor

    Yes, Kaye, he was all for it until the day he became prime minister.

    But …

    He was quick to tell us that the Malcolm Turnbull we now see is the real Malcolm Turnbull. Perhaps he could have phrased it as; “The old Malcolm Turnbull was a facade. It was a fake. Whatever I said was said to win friends and influence people. I was never going to usurp Tony Abbott by head-nodding to everything he said or did. I lied my way to the top.”

  3. helvityni

    I’m almost feeling sorry for our PM, it’s not very nice of Trump to tell Turnbull: ‘You are worse than I am.’

    Then again, it’s kind of honourable of Donald to admit that he is bad. Now I’m getting a bit confused about who is the ‘worsest’….

  4. babyjewels10

    Ah, what must it be like, to be the cardboard cut-out man?

  5. Michael Taylor

    New Matilda published the transcript of the Trump/Turnbull conversation on 3/2/2017. Now all of a sudden it’s a Washington Post exclusive and the Australian media is all over it.

  6. Kaye Lee

    Michael, 2012 was a big year for Malcolm on the speaking circuit. He also gave the George Winterton lecture in which he said:

    “In case you think my call for a change of attitude and practice to truth in politics is just idealism – let me make a practical political point. It seems to me that we don’t simply have a financial deficit, we have a deficit of trust. We can argue for hours which side and which politicians,which journalists indeed, have contributed most to it. But it affects all of us and all of our institutions.The politicians and parties that can demonstrate they can be trusted, that they will not insult the people with weasel words and spin, that they will not promise more than they can deliver, that they will not dishonestly misrepresent either their own or their opponents‟ policies – those politicians and parties will, I submit to you, deserve and receive electoral success.”

  7. wam

    Time is on the ‘no’ side. In 2009 Australia was gripped by carbon and global warming and rudd was moving with only the loonies in opposition, Then the rabbott whacked trumball, joined the greens, rudd chickened out on a DD and despite, according to the CSIRO 87%believing humans have some responsibility and 64% of lnp voters believing there are jobs in renewables this slack gov can get away with doing SFA..
    Have not taken a pole of my facebook but from comments my guess is a marginal win for ‘no’ and, depending on how vicious(christians see sex in ‘gay’ not love and that will allow their nastiness) the churches get in advertising, could be a 60-40?
    at least a postal vote only wastes $25m.

  8. helvityni

    The beautiful words have sadly not resulted into good policies… Mal, could you not have initiated, demanded changes into how our very profitable nursing homes treat their ‘clients’, who pay plenty to be abused by the staff,yet they are fully credited…I could not sleep after having seen the 7.30 last night…This issue screams for ATTENTION…

  9. Möbius Ecko

    helvityni, that remark from Trump was actually a compliment. Sad isn’t it?

    Both men in that leaked transcript were only worried about themselves and how it would reflect badly on them without an iota of concern for the human lives they were throwing onto the rubbish.

  10. Kaye Lee

    The very worst part of that transcript was the following….

    Mr Turnbull repeatedly stressed that Mr Trump did not have to actually accept any of the individuals on Nauru or Manus Island to honour the deal, saying he only had to vet them for resettlement.

    “Suppose I vet them closely and I do not take any?” Mr Trump asked later in the call.

    “That is the point I have been trying to make.” Mr Turnbull replied.

    “How does that help you?” Mr Trump asked.

    It gave the dead-eye dick tater an announcable, that’s how. Dutton and Turnbull couldn’t care less about the people on Manus and Nauru.

  11. Matters Not

    Direct democracy in the form of plebiscites should be commended. But because a plebiscite is a very expensive way to excuse politicians from their day job, we should take the opportunity to make it an omnibus ballot that considers further questions such as:

    . Should Australia cancel the order for 12 submarines costing unknown billions?

    . Should Australia cancel the order for 63 Fighter planes costing a unknown billions?

    . Should Australian Defence Forces be withdrawn from the Middle East?

    .Should the Defence Budget be reduced by an immediate 25%

    . Should Australia become a Republic?

    . Should …

    Answer either Yes or No!

    We should not let this chance for democratic participation go by. By making it an omnibus referendum we can reduce the unit cost.

  12. Matters Not

    The abuse of the elderly in Nursing Homes is being investigated by Kate Carnell who is an expert when it comes to many types of abuse. She is personally very well qualified.

    Here’s a few historical examples

    The rare highs and many lows of Kate Carnell


    no one is talking about a referendum. have u been paying attention.

  14. pierre wilkinson

    The most confusing aspect of all this plebiscite nonsense is that the LIBNATS have already stipulated that it is in no way binding and that they would still vote against it in parliament – so where is the value in a $200million opinion poll?
    Little “lying rodent” Johnny changed the wording quite arbitrarily in 2004. What is to stop the government from doing the same?
    And spare me the sanctimonious exhortations of honouring election promises: it has not stopped them in all other matters.

  15. Kaye Lee

    the Marriage Act as originally enacted in 1961 did not contain a definition of marriage. Delivering the second reading speech, Attorney General Barwick said:

    … it will be observed that there is no attempt to define marriage in this bill. None of the marriage laws to which I have referred contains any such definition. But insistence on monogamous quality is indicated by, on the one hand, the provisions of the Matrimonial Causes Act, which render a marriage void where one of the parties is already married, and by a provision in this bill making bigamy an offence.

    On its passage through Parliament, Senator Gorton, who was responsible for the carriage of the Bill through the Senate, remarked:

    […] in our view it is best to leave to the common law the definition or the evolution of the meaning of ‘marriage’ as it relates to marriages in foreign countries and to use this bill to stipulate the conditions with which marriage in Australia has to comply if it is to be a valid marriage.

    The laws about marriage have been changed many times. A few examples…..

    June 1, 1918

    The Aboriginals Ordinance 1918 restricts marriage between Indigenous women and non-Indigenous men in the Northern Territory. There were also state laws in place to control marriage for Indigenous Australians.

    November 16, 1942

    Tasmania passes a law to raise the minimum age of marriage from 12 for women and 14 for men to 16 and 18 respectively. Other states follow

    November 18, 1966

    The bar on employment of married women in the Commonwealth Public Service is abolished. Introduced at the beginning of the 1900s, the “marriage bar” was intended to keep women from “stealing” men’s jobs and also to boost the birth rate. It meant many women kept their marriages a secret.

    June 12, 1975

    The Family Law Act 1975 establishes the principle of no-fault divorce, with 12 months separation being sufficient to prove breakdown of the marriage (prior to that, some form of wrongdoing by either party had to be proved). In the wake of the act, the divorce rate temporarily skyrockets.

  16. jim

    This is the worst LNP government we’ve had ever ! across the entire board we have the IPA infused LNP at the public’s broadcaster the ABC SBS NITV,

    btw. Shaun Macleff (mad as hell) stated that $30 million was paid to Murdoch’s news corp to promote sport and yet the LNP have cut funding to every NGO you can think of including Friends of the Blind, you LNP sickos .
    Even with education they said the LNP was giving $2 billion more funding but they didn’t say it was just $2 billion more than Mr abbott’s whooping education cuts.

    When you are consumed by superstitious beliefs, deny science and logic, how can one be a rational human being?……

  17. Kaye Lee

    Another thing I don’t understand is this….How can you push the line that Turnbull and Joyce are trying to spin that nobody except the media and a few gay politicians care about this at the same time as insisting that all Australians must have a vote on it? Why no plebiscite on euthanasia, something that affects us all?

  18. John Wilson

    Just remember a plebiscite is a claytons referendum, one where you have a referendum you don’t want and can ignore it if you don’t like the outcome. In this instance the plebiscite is for the politicians not for the people so it can ignore the politicians as well as the people if the outcome does not meet the agenda this is a very important issue and needs to be resolved by the people and not just a few, who also may have vested interests in the outcome. This is corporate law and not the law of the Commonwealth constitution 1900-1901 where anything that alters or changes our constitution (first ruled of law) needs to go to the people for approval. Is the government afraid of the people?

  19. Terry2

    If there were to be a plebiscite – and I am utterly opposed to one – the question should be :

    Do you believe that all Australians should be equal before the Law ?

  20. helvityni

    Möbius Ecko, I feel nothing but contempt for those two leaders…

    MN, Yes to all your questions…I’d better not say anything about Kate Carnell, she not one my favourite people…

  21. stephengb2014

    I cannot express just how much turnbull disgusts me, he seems to have not one redeeming charecteristics, he lies, he obsfucates, he misinforms, he denies the obvious. How he can look his family in the eye, is beyond me.

    This latest revelation about his conversation with that other creature trump, is just the exact example of a lap dog!

    S G B

  22. Karen Smith

    This should have been dealt with swiftly a long time ago so that we could focus on the real issues, not on something that shouldn’t be argued about or voted on. It’s a basic human right to be able to choose whom you commit your life to.

    The LNP changed the definition without all this asking and fuss, so the ignoramuses can change it back the same way!

  23. silkworm

    Many LNP members know that if SSM is not law by the end of this year, they will lose their seats at the next election. It’s not that they really care enough about the issue to cross the floor, it’s just that they fear losing their seats. They know that SSM becoming law is inevitable. The problem is, too many others – conservatives – hate the idea of SSM so much that they don’t even care about their own seats, or even the viability of the LNP.

    If SSM does become law – and it will – the Nats could split from the Libs, conservatives could break away and form their own party, and the government could fall. The most likely scenario, however, is that Abbott or Dutton will overthrow Turnbull, but this would only be a stopgap measure. Even this drastic step will not be enough to stop SSM.

  24. Michael Taylor

    Good comment, silky. I think you’ve captured the essence of it in two short paragraphs.

  25. silkworm

    Thanks, Michael. I liked your comment too about how New Matilda was ripped off by the Washington Post. In fact I’ve stolen your comment and reposted it on my FB page.

  26. John Lord


  27. Florence nee Fedup

    I believe a great number of people are not interested personally in SSM is true. Most want it put to bed, because it is as they say not that important.

    It is important to a minority of people who deserve to have it put to a vote. Is a civil matter, not church

    Changes little in today’s society as many SS couples and families exist.

    All that is being asked is that ss relationships be formalised.

  28. Kyran

    It’s odd, isn’t it? Talcum got shafted by the rodent over the ‘republic’ thing, when the rodent insisted the question should not be whether Australians want a republic, but they should propose an exact model of what it should be.
    Well, talcum is a quick learner. Whether it be marriage equality or recognition of our First People, he will kick that can so far down the road, the basic concept will be lost. Meaningless, mindless distraction.
    Ah well, it is his brilliant career after all.
    By the bye, Mr Taylor, the NM article may have been a parody. This is the only one I could find.

    EXCLUSIVE: The Transcript Of Donald Trump and Malcolm Turnbull’s Phone Call

    Thank you Mr Lord and commenters. Take care

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