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.