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Day to Day Politics: Marriage equality. Time to move on, or is it?

Saturday 9 December

1 The battle has been won … against the conservative mindset of a dislike of change that has been, for so many years, locked into the fear of difference and inequality. The voice of public opinion has spoken.

The scenes in the House of Representatives when the Marriage Equality Bill was finally passed will probably never be repeated. Such was the enormity of its influence on Australian society. It will change us all and over time we will come to realise how backward in our thinking we can be.

“We are, you are, we are Australians,” sang the married voices of victory.

Is it now time to move on? Maybe it is for some but not for me. For me it is a chance to sojourn, to meditate on the wider implications of what has happened. Sure, we will be a better society: one in which the word “equality” will take on more importance, with consequence, and the word “homosexual” will also take on more respect. One that equalises love and admits that it has no gender.

Politicians ignored their habitual need for conflict and joined hands for the common good and I wondered why they couldn’t practice bipartisanship more often.

But what political ramifications can we take from this event in our history? I don’t believe for one minute that the participation rate of 80% was entirely due to Marriage Equality.

I believe that many were protesting against the absence of any form of decent governance. The survey was the catalyst for people to register their disapproval of a political system that over the past few years has degenerated into a cesspool of gutter discussion. For many like me, it had a duplicate purpose.

A fair portion of that 80%, or a combination of, were telling the government that they were elected to govern and that’s what they should be doing. I don’t need to explain to the reader just what that means. You have experienced it.

The fact is that both parties are thinking and talking in the mindset of old politics and seem unable to think of better ways of doing things. They seem lost in a world that has passed us by.

But my theory can only be proven with the meandering of time so I will have to wait with patience to see if the Government has reflected in the same way as I have.

Nonetheless it was a victory. No, not for parties or Prime Ministers, as Turnbull would have you believe, but for all Australians who desire equality for those who haven’t experienced it. It should not end with peoples’ sexuality. Equality in all its forms should insinuate itself into every dimension of society.

2 I read with interest in yesterday’s Australian the following headline:

“Tradie cash rips Billions. ATO”

“The tax commissioner has issued a passionate call to arms to Australians to stop paying tradespeople in cash.”

The Australian has a paywall so I couldn’t access the full piece but that was enough to get the gist of the story. The day prior the MSM carried another story. This one spoke of another evasion. One where corporate Australia is still continuing to evade paying its share of tax. Indeed, in the current financial year over 700 companies paid no tax. Some of them turning over billions that attracted no tax.

It’s time to make a stand. Whilst this continues I will continue to pay any tradie in cash should he/she so desire.

3 Barnaby Joyce has finally admitted publicly that he has split from his wife of 24 years, after having an affair with a staffer. It is obviously none of my business but one has to wonder why the announcement was held over until after the New England by-election.

4 The debate on citizenship will now linger on into 2018. Labor will now face two by-elections and the Coalition have three MPs who should be referred to the High Court but Turnbull is refusing to do so. This mess is not of the Parliament’s making but each side instead of trying to sort it out have tried to make as much political mileage as possible. Yet another example of being stuck in a political world long past. We should be demanding better.

Because Bill Shorten didn’t allow any wriggle room in saying that Labor’s checking was without fault it will be he that is in the hot seat in the new year and the months that follow.

5 The MYEFO Report is expected to be handed down on 18 December. It will show, we are told, that there will be an improvement in the deficit of $3 billion but the sticking points are wages growth and consumer spending. It had better be a big Christmas or there will be trouble.

My thought for the day

“When talking about the cost of living I think people get confused. There is a big difference between the cost of living and cost of lifestyle. A recent survey found that 56% of those complaining about the cost of living had taken an overseas trip in the same year. And a further 52% had reduced dining out from three to two times a week.”

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  1. Peter F

    Hold it for a moment, John, before you move on. Did you hear that the PM voted for FOUR proposed amendments to the Act, and abstained on two others? Remember that his lapdog has been set the task of reviewing the legislation’s affect on ‘freedoms’. The next act in the farce has yet to be presented to the audience. The PM has already indicated by his actions that there is a window of opportunity

  2. wam

    Good morning, Lord.
    Tis a lovely start to the weekend with the right to marriage lighting up the rainbow. Any other fights for xstian rights has the chance to backfire.(like jerusalem???)

    Words have meaning and context. Tax evasion can get you 10 years hard labour but tax avoidance is laudable.

    The power of deductions is the key for the rich. Who, in addition to libby two, can use off shore schemes or fly his son to a high cost private school in a private jet from his golf course, all tax deductible?

    3 With the little woman’s consent?

    NATSEM research fellow Ben Phillips, one of the authors of the study, says Australians have been experiencing “phenomenally good” economic times.

    “We’ve found that incomes have risen very strongly, with the average household being about $224 a week better off just over the past six years,” he told ABC Radio National Breakfast but this was 2012 When was yours???

  3. Terry2

    tony Abbott had always said that the marriage equality debate would not go before the parliament without a national plebiscite. Turnbull fully supported that position and as we know it finally went to the people as a postal ballot.

    When it came to a parliamentary vote Abbott was absent from the parliament, he chose not to vote. Normally an abstention may be used to indicate the voting individual’s ambivalence about the measure, or mild disapproval that does not rise to the level of active opposition. Abstention can also be used when someone has a certain position about an issue, but since the popular sentiment supports the opposite, it might not be politically expedient to vote according to his or her conscience.

    We just don’t know what Abbotts’ reason for abstaining was because he won’t say but the latter is probably close to the truth: it seems that it is a classic case of dummy spitting.

    I cannot imagine Abbott submitting himself for pre-selection again in Warringah and I cannot see the Liberal Party risking losing that seat by selecting him again.

  4. Terry2

    As regards “Tradie cash rips Billions. ATO” the GST system of payments and rebates was meant to end the cash economy and Howard made a lot of this at the time. Obviously a tradie who is not collecting GST cannot recover GST paid on inputs and once you are in the GST system the ATO can monitor your income tax payments.

    It’s not the tradies we should worry about but the 36% of corporations who pay no tax whatsoever, you know the ones, they’re the ones who want a tax reduction :

  5. MikeW

    Did the Australian newsrag mention that the Mudrake empire pays no tax in Australia I wonder.

  6. wam

    The rabbott, the son of a small carm kevin Arsedrews and george noideaofgod’s son demonstrated why they are unsuitable to represent an electorate.
    There are 3 options for a politician for. against or abstain The rabbott and pyne invented the fourth and were laughable in 2012 scrambling for the door to avoid a vote.
    This time the boys just melted away.
    Terry@ he will find someone who will enunciate that he could not vote yes like his electorate and he could not go against warringah so he abstained oops he didn’t abstain he absented, wagged, hid in a cupboard, went to the toilet and hid in a cubicle. stuck his head in the sand or up his smugglers or who gives a rat’s arse he should be irrelevant now.

  7. Harry

    HI John. Another incisive piece.

    The way I see taxes: federal taxation is highly political. All federal taxes serve primarily to DESTROY some spending power.

    Neoliberal/conservative ideology is to tax the big end of town and the very well off lightly or not at all and allow them to use a myriad of tax loopholes. These groups suffer minimal erosion or destruction of their spending power. They are regarded as “lifters” who employ people, contribute most to the economy, etc.

    In contrast, the lowest income groups suffer the greatest destruction of their spending power by means of the GST and by income taxes, due to the low thresholds at which it cuts in (As does the Medicare levy). Neoliberal/conservatives regard them as “leaners” who benefit disproportionately from the taxes that the “lifters” pay.

    It suits the neoliberal/conservatives to maintain the fiction that federal taxes fund spending on public programs that mainly benefit the majority of us who are not wealthy or super wealthy. Neoliberal economists regularly urge spending cuts so that the federal budget will return to surplus as they (falsely) allege that we will all pay higher taxes to get the budget back to surplus, so the debt does “blow out” and that our grandchildren do not have to pay for our supposed profligacy.

    Its all BS but it tends to resonate with people as all entities except the federal government DO have to fund spending, whether from income, taxes and some limited borrowings. All these entities face financial limits.

    The federal government cannot run out of dollars, it can never go broke, but it can run out of people, skills, technology, infrastructure, natural and ecological resources. There are limits – but the limits are ‘real’ and not financial.

    At the macroeconomic level, the main purpose of taxation is very simple: it is necessary for people to pay taxes to to make room within the economy for the government to conduct its desired spending on public goods and services, without pushing total spending in the economy beyond the productive capacity of the economy and causing inflation.

    Taxes limit inflation, helping us to maintain the spending power of money, so that people maintain their confidence in the value of money.

    Who to tax and how much is then the key question. But taxes do not take from anyone else as is often alleged.

  8. Paul Davis

    QandA monday with Malcolm Turnbull as only panellist and Virginia Trioli as moderator….

    Will we see an audience of IPA acolytes asking dorothy dixers?

    If La Trioli is true to form she will sit quietly in hushed awe as Turnbull waffles and spins.

    Have your Truffles bingo cards ready to mark.

    Has Ladbrokes framed a market yet on how many times he will mention Dastayari and Kennealey?

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