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Day to Day Politics: ‘Laughably incompetent’

I don’t know how many pieces I have written on the subject of ‘marriage equality’ but on Tuesday 23 august 2016 I wrote the following:

Over the weekend the subject of ‘marriage equality’ once again reared its head. Surely enough is enough. If ever a government was laughably incompetent on legislating the will of the people, it has to be Turnbull’s. Reports on the weekend suggested that a plebiscite would be held in February. This was later denied.

An “unnecessary” plebiscite was promised by the Prime Minister this year. If it can’t, for whatever reason, then Turnbull should come out and say so. Surely a government two months into its term can make a simple decision about an election promise, come up with the question, and name a date. If the AEC cannot cope, then just say so.

Their incompetence is breathtaking. The most educated government in our history can’t come up with simple legislation that would make the marriage act representative of equality.

The longer it is delayed the more Australians will prick their ears to the “sounds sus” position. Their current position unequivocally suggests that the conservative right of the party are well and truly in charge of the decision-making process.

As a leader who has just won an election, claiming a mandate, with a promise of marriage equality, he could have named the date immediately.

Their incompetence is demonstrated by the fact that Australians have for many years supported gay marriage. It could, if the Prime Minister had the guts, be over in the first week of the Parliament sitting. There are 150 members of both houses. All they have to do is take a vote. But intestinal fortitude is not one of Turnbull’s strengths. And bear in mind that he is against the plebiscite.

Bill Shorten’s response to the ‘non-announcement’ was that:

“Mr Turnbull is willing to waste taxpayers’ money and provide a platform for hate campaigns, all because he doesn’t have the guts to put a vote to Parliament.”

He is correct. Just imagine, giving the Australian Christian Lobby many millions of dollars to spend on a negative campaign. So because of the Government’s ineptness the debate will continue to fester with increasingly inflamed rhetoric for the remainder of the year. And into the next.

I also have doubts that the rumoured question, “Do you approve of a law to permit people of the same-sex to marry’’ will be ambiguous enough for the extreme right of the party.

The vote on recognition of our indigenous folk in the constitution is due in May. Where does the plebiscite fit in? They are so incompetent you wouldn’t trust them to put together a football season’s fixture.

Greens leader Richard Di Natale said he was unsurprised by the “delay tactic”, calling the plebiscite a “pointless” sham that would be costly, divisive and ignored by some Coalition MPs anyway:

“Delays are the entire point of the Liberals plebiscite ploy. They don’t want to end discrimination in the law, they want to push it off to the never-never.”

Former respected International jurist Justice Kirby made the point that Australia’s record on passing referenda was not good and a plebiscite might turn out the same.

Justice Kirby, who served on the High Court from 1996 until 2009, said plebiscite votes were “alien” to Australia’s system of representative democracy and the campaign would drive hatred and abuse towards gay and lesbian Australians.

“It’s time Parliament did address itself to the issue of marriage equality and giving it out to a plebiscite is simply an endeavour to delay or defeat the measure.

“Our Parliament, our parliamentary institutions in Australia and elsewhere are really not working all that well at the moment and what we should be doing is strengthening parliament and ensuring it gets on with the job” Justice Kirby told ABC radio.

25 August 2017. And the rest is history. What a mess they have made of it. Vote ‘YES’.

My thought for the day

“When we go out of our way to help someone less fortunate we cannot avoid helping ourselves.”

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  1. Margot

    The voluntary, non binding survey on SSM is a farce. If you are overseas you can even get some ‘trusted’ person to vote for you!!

    Overseas Australians can get a ‘trusted person’ to vote for them on same-sex marriage: ABS
    Australians living or travelling overseas have been encouraged to ask a ‘trusted person’ back home to open their same-sex marriage ballot letter from the ABS and mail a response on their behalf.
    By James Elton-Pym
    The ABS originally promised to mail ballot papers to registered voters overseas, but its website now suggests people should communicate their opinion to a reliable confidant in Australia.
    “Eligible Australians that are overseas for this entire period could ask a trusted person to receive their form on their behalf, open it, complete it based on their instruction and return it to the ABS,” the statistics bureau has written on its website.

  2. Peter F

    Clearly, the adults are handling this as well as anything they have touched so far.

  3. Terry2

    The government of the Australian Capital Territory has offered to resettle refugees from Australia’s offshore detention centres on Manus Island and Nauru.

    A motion passed the ACT legislative assembly, without division, declaring “that the ACT government is willing and ready to settle refugees and asylum seekers from Manus Island and Nauru in Canberra as part of a national program of resettlement”.

    Between the ACT and the standing offer from New Zealand we could have these people resettled before the end of the year.

    Memo to Peter Dutton : Do Your Job and get this done !

  4. wam

    it is a no brainer that there is a majority of terrified homophobes in some closed communities who want their opinions aired.. The parliament is hardly open.
    Was the bullock/pratt switch labor’s example of the current turmoil in the libs? Bullock’s resignation suggests so to the cynic??
    As for the plebiscite the boys, on my facebook, don’t care about cost or non-binding result, Just as they have no interest in the argument that little johnnie used his majority to change the law in 2004, they just want their say and, by their attitude, they are the no voters the rabbott hopes will return their votes in larger numbers than the yes. There may be a slim chance because they out number the yes by nearly 3 to 1

  5. helvityni

    Finally GOOD news, Terry2; hopefully Mal and Dutton will allow this to happen….?

  6. Harquebus

    The defining issue of our times?
    I’m going to vote no for no other reason than to stick it to the yes camp for wasting our time with this unimportant and irrelevant to most non issue.

  7. Roswell

    Harquebus, the ‘yes camp’ haven’t wasted our time. The government has.

    But you’re voting. So obviously it isn’t a waste of time for you.

  8. Harquebus

    Also, I always put Labor last on my ballot. Really. Jus’ to stick it to ’em for being completely useless.

  9. Frank Smith

    Great logic there harbuequs!

  10. Adrianne Haddow

    Harquebus, alternatively you could vote yes and stick it to the ACL and all the other occasional Christians in the coalition who have wasted our time and money in pursuing their personal opinions on how other people should lead their lives.

    Its a no brainer that marriage equality is about who you can call your next of kin, and legal rights before the law in matters of guardianship, inheritance and the rights of children in such relationships.

    I find it unconscionable that every joe and jenny will have a say on whether marriage equality is palatable to them, no matter how dysfunctional their own marriages are, when their marriage situation is ‘legal’ under the definition decided on by that upstanding manipulator Howard and his cronies, without the need for a plebiscite or the latest attempt at division, the ABS opinion poll.

  11. helvityni

    Well said, Adrianne Haddow!

  12. guest

    Harquebus, if you succeed in “sticking it” to the yes crowd, you will have to put up with this “unimportant and irrelevant to most non-issue”, as you call it, for a little bit longer – because it will not go away just because you do not care.

    I am very disappointed with your attitude – and I know you do not care what I think. For a while there in past times I thought you had some good points to make about big issues, even if your comments came at inappropriate times. But now i see it is all about you – and other people can just fade off into irrelevance as far as you are concerned.

    For goodness sake, get some empathy and stop being a rusty old blunderbuss!

  13. Harquebus

    This is a political page. Since when does logic apply?

    We get what I expect from the ACL. From the Labor Party I do not. They have abandoned the working classes and have instead, embraced the free market. Bill and Co. are just another pile of shit as far as I am concerned.

    My empathy is limited. What little I have is directed toward serious issues like, ensuring the viability of future generations. Gay and non gay alike.

  14. John Lord

    Harquebus. Sooner or later one of us will have to leave.

  15. Terry2


    The commendable move by the ACT on refugees now needs other states to follow so that we can get this shameful episode behind us.

    Constitutionally the states and territories cannot override the Commonwealth – see euthenasia – but if there is sufficient pressure we can get them to change their policy, now all the more important as Manus is being dismantled and the refugees are being abandoned to their fate.

  16. Harquebus

    John Lord
    I would prefer that you just remove or even edit those comments of mine that you do not like.
    Roswell is here. He will gladly do it for you.

  17. Kyran

    “Laughably Incompetent” only serves as a reminder that no one has occasion to laugh these days.
    Grossly incompetent. Criminally incompetent. There are many descriptors that would be more appropriate.
    It is hard to know where they developed the model for screwing up. Was it the NBN? Was it the reworking of the CES? Was it the rampant privatisation of government monopolies (designed to protect ‘essential services’)? Was it the rise of ‘ministerial discretion’ over ‘parliamentary process’?
    It is hard to know. There are so many examples. It is, however, undeniable they have perfected screwing up.
    In the interests of ‘equality’, it is only fair to note that there is now an opportunity to reply in kind to the unwanted solicitations of the ACL. That we currently have church groups wanting to impose their narrow minded views, with the full support of ‘our government’, in the hope of breathing life (or relevance) into their decrepit beliefs is nothing more than the most recent screw up.

    It would appear the ACL have a reply paid service. That means you can return their unsolicited mail at their expense. It seems only fair.

    ‘Australian Christian Lobby, Reply Paid 83063, Deakin ACT 2600.’

    If You Mail The Australian Christian Lobby An Envelope Full Of Glitter, They’ll Pay For the Stamp!

    Apparently, some people have been sending envelopes of glitter, ACL literature, even bibles, to the ACL. It appears the ACL demand the right to send out whatever they like, but get a tad annoyed when people send stuff to them. Who woulda thunk?

    Terry2 and helvityni, what was interesting in that ACT vote was that the Liberals didn’t vote in support of the motion, as that would have contravened their party’s stated position. They did, however, abstain from voting, as that was more reflective of their constituent’s position.

    There are many councils in Victoria that have already voted on similar lines. Just as they have on marriage equality and, more recently, on Australia Day ceremonies.
    Thank you Mr Lord and commenters. Their incompetence has brought me no mirth. The little envelope I sent to Mr Shelton did bring me some cheer. Even a wry smile. Take care

  18. Roswell

    John, that’d be an interesting poll:

    Q. Who would you prefer left this site? John Lord or Harquebus?

    My prediction … Harquebus. By a country mile. A score of 99% wouldn’t surprise me.

  19. John Lord

    I dare you.

  20. Harquebus

    Only the name will disappear and my unpopularity is not something that concerns me. I’m used to it.

    “But over the past 25 years of globalized neoliberalism, social democratic movements have abandoned labor to embrace the self-serving wealth and power offered by capital.”
    “The Left is not just in disarray–it is in complete collapse because the working class has awakened to the Left’s betrayal and abandonment of the working class in favor of building personal wealth and power. Anyone who denies this is still in the fatal grip of the Left’s Great Con.”

    As I have said before; don’t like then, just press delete.

    Add the question to your polls if you like. I wouldn’t be surprised at the outcome either.

  21. Yusuf Feidel

    John Lord gives good stories to good views and does so teach and cause thought about many issues and I find him to say many educating things. I would miss John Lord too much. He helps people learning politics to better know views and it is not nice to be insulting a caring man

  22. Johno

    Yusuf, this is just a bit of argy bargy, no big deal. Harquebus must be very thick skinned, he does get a bashing now and then.

  23. guest

    Harquebus, the thread here today is about the present Government being “Laughably Incompetent”. So you attack Labor (“Shorten and Co are just another pile of shit as far as I am concerned.”) And you blame Labor as having betrayed the workers “in favour of personal wealth and power” – quoting Charles Hugh Smith.

    And of course the present Government is about “personal wealth and power”, too. So you do not approve of Labor or the Coalition. Whom do you support?

    I found it difficult to see what Charles Hugh Smith has to say about it all. He does not approve of USA leadership at all either. What does he approve of? He writes about Darwinian survival of the fittest – which does not include the political class because they are all kind of brain dead, just as you suggest.

    But the superior Darwinian survivors are above the political class, apparently. I am just not sure where they come from. But you, Harquebus, seem to present yourself and Charles Hugh Smith as candidates. It explains your disapproval of less deserving causes such as LGBTI people and your concern about the bigger issues confronting the world.

    Charles Hugh Smith also writes of Darwinian superior survivors as having “daring” and “risk-taking” ability. So where will they come from? How successful has Charles Hugh Smith been in his crusade to change the world?

    But I remind you, Harquebus, that in the last election the Coalition lost 15 seats and has just one precarious seat advantage as it clings on to power. And Labor (that “pile of shit” – your words) leads in Newspoll 54-46. The workers do not seem to be abandoning Labor at all. In fact they seem to be looking to Labor to rid us of this Government which has lost some 18 consecutive Newspolls.

    Furthermore, I am hearing people everywhere lamenting all kinds of issues you would agree with: housing, wages stagnation, climate change and renewable energy, the environment, inequality etc – all the kinds of things Labor talks about.

    No one here is going to vote for Charles Hugh Smith. We have to work with what we have. Read John Lord, Kaye Lee and others writing things you will not read in the MSM. Contribute positively. Please, no superior Darwinian bucketing from etherial heights. Be happy.

  24. Harquebus

    “How successful has Charles Hugh Smith been in his crusade to change the world?”
    About as successful as I have been. Not at all.

    That “that pile of shit” is leading in the polls says much about the gullibility of the voting public. The same gullible voting public that elected the Coalition.
    I do not agree with “new housing” and I do not support “renewable energy”.

    If I and others like me had been paid attention to, we would not be where we are now. We would not have had the GFC, economic inequality would not be rampant, pollution would have been reduced, the environment protected, fisheries and forests preserved and we would not now be approaching the ecological collapse and the consequent human cull that we are.

    But, of course, there are other “less deserving causes” that must take precedence. After all, time is short.

    Thank you for your criticism.

  25. Roswell

    Harquebus said:

    As I have said before; don’t like then, just press delete.

    And then when I or one of the authors or other admins do, the site is flooded with comments from you screaming about censorship and how you’ve been denied your right to free speech. (I should know – I’ve seen them in our spam folder).

    But seeing that you insist, don’t be surprised if one or two certain authors – or me – oblige by pressing “delete”.

    (The irony is that it takes less than a second to delete a comment that can take ten minutes to write).

  26. Harquebus

    That has been the case in the past but, Michael Taylor and I agreed to it quite some time ago. It was a compromise from both of us. I return and say what I like, you delete what you don’t I wouldn’t complain.

    In those previous cases, my comments were being deleted because of disagreement and nothing to do with abuse. That really riled me.
    Not that I haven’t abused anyone here in the past. I now try to be more subtle although, not always successfully.

  27. Roswell

    Harquebus, I prefer to leave it up to the authors.

  28. stephengb2014

    Harquebus Just what is it you stand for – because I am at a total loss to work out what sort of government you think will meet your undecipherable requirements?

    Would you care to give me a clue ?

    S G B

  29. guest

    Harquebus, it is no doubt rather worrying for you that you (and some others?) have all the answers but no one is listening. The world is full of would-be saviors crying in their beds.

  30. Harquebus

    Population reduction, environmental restoration, economic contraction and the powering down of industry. Doesn’t usually go down real well.
    I would love to go on about these things but, tolerance on that here is limited. Another day on another page perhaps.

    A lot of scientists in that group.

  31. paul walter

    A lot of it boils down to the drunkard Turnbull.

    But even if abbott had been dealt with there would still be the problem of Turnbulls neoliberalism, as demonstrated via the various centrelink terrorisms.

  32. paul walter

    Turnbull? Shows up as dumb, meant Abbott. Turnbull is as bad, promised a change and nothing happened.

  33. paul walter

    Back to the question. Yes, but no genuinely independent leader will be allowed within cooee of the levers.

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