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Day to Day Politics: Playing politics when leadership is needed.

Monday 29 August 2016

Speculation about the proposed plebiscite on Marriage Equality will continue until the Government announces its intentions as to firstly, when it will take place and secondly, what the question will be.

As is usual the Prime Minister invoked that tired old strategy of blaming Labor. On Insiders yesterday he said if “Labor does not go along with the plebiscite gay marriage is a long way away”.

To my way of thinking that is a preposterous thing for a Prime Minister who supports Marriage Equality and opposed to the plebiscite to say.

He knows that if he had the balls, he has it in his power to put a stop to the speculation and simply bring on a vote in the parliament.

Bill Shorten is right to bring up all the vagaries surrounding the implementation of a plebiscite including the cost and the social upheaval. The cost is now reported to be $250 million.

As one who worked on the Republican referendum I can well remember the misinformation Tony Abbott was responsible for then back. I can well imagine what he would say as self-appointed leader of the ‘NO’ vote campaign aided and abetted by the fundamentalist Christian movement. It will be a barrage of bigotry dressed up as debate. Homophobia will run rampant.

And no one should underestimate the social turmoil the debate has the potential to produce. People will say the most outrageous things and make the vilest of accusations. They will shout at each other and religious hatred will bare itself on the streets.

We will see an ugly underbelly of our nation. Arrogance and ignorance will abound and gay folk will be targeted and shouted at. The PM will call for calm while Tony Abbott and others infest our natural sense of fairness and decency with their lies.

The Coalition has a majority in the Lower House and their Legislation will pass it. Should both the Greens and Labor both oppose it then the government will require the support of the cross benches. On my reckoning it won’t pass.

The question must also be asked as to what Labor’s motivation is in blocking the Legislation.

Note this odd exchange on Insiders.

BARRIE CASSIDY: On the plebiscite, is it doomed, is the legislation doomed?

MALCOLM TURNBULL: No, the legislation will be introduced. It will be passed in the House and then we’ll have to see how it goes in the Senate. I think Labor will support it. I know…

BARRIE CASSIDY: Even now? They were briefing last night that they weren’t. They were even…

MALCOLM TURNBULL They would say that, wouldn’t they?

BARRIE CASSIDY: They were even briefing that they’re getting information from pollsters that if you have a plebiscite it will go down.

Why would Labor be briefing that a plebiscite would go down?

Is it purely to grasp the reward when it does go through under them? Is it to make the Prime Minister look bad? It would be a disaster for the Prime Minister given his own personal position and a strategic victory for the opposition. Is Labor milking it for all its worth.

It needs 39 Senate votes to pass. I can only count 31. It needs 9 of the 11 crossbench Senators. On that basis it would be unlikely to happen. Hinch said he will not support it. Senator Day will. That means it needs 8 out of the other 9 crossbench Senators. That’s a big ask. It would need support from both Hanson and Xenophon. Xenophon is unlikely to support it – being supportive of gay marriage. So I can’t see how it can pass.

Labor might be better off letting the Senate reject the legislation and avoid the blame. Given that it will be blocked one way or the other what happens then? Does it just go away until such time as a Labor Government is elected and does what Governments are elected to do? Express the will of the people.


If the PM had any balls he would just drop the need for a plebiscite and just put it to a vote in the parliament. He cannot in my view come out of this looking good.

My thought for the day.

“Love is when there is an irresistible urge for the need of the affection of another and the irresistibility is of its nature mutual. It has no gender”.


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  1. Terry2

    So, Turnbull is saying that we must have a vote in parliament to have a plebiscite and then have a plebiscite and if it gets up we must have another vote in parliament to make the necessary changes to the Marriage Act : cost to taxpayers a minimum $160 million.

    Labor, the Greens and most reasonable people are saying, let’s just have the vote in parliament to change the Marriage Act : cost zilch.

    George Christensen let the cat out of the Far Right bag yesterday when he said that the coalition would block any attempt to have a parliamentary vote during this term of government.

    So, when did we have people like Christensen calling the shots in Australia ?

    I agree with you John, the only way that Turnbull can stamp his authority on the Liberal Party is to move immediately to a vote in parliament : the whole thing could be resolved in a week.

  2. Miriam English

    What a pity our “leaders” are instead followers. Even more the pity that they follow lunatics instead of society at large.

  3. cornlegend

    So, Turnbull is saying that we must have a vote in parliament
    He really has no option if he is to remain PM.
    Cross the right faction and we will have Morrison challenging him for the leadership.
    The right will win either way.
    The Senate blocks the plebiscite, no action then till a new election.
    What the right wants

  4. Klaus

    John, I love your articles but you continue giving Malcolm the benefit of doubt. Publicly, Malcolm, in the long distant past, was for marriage equality and against a plebiscite.

    Then he wasn’t Prime Minister hanging by a thread of his waver thin cabinet margin. His first and top principle is to stay in power. That should people start thinking about the principles of the man. When Martin Luther (not King) was threatened with torture and inquisition, he said “Here I stand and I can’t move”, indicating that his principles and character come before everything else.

    No, our Malcolm has none of that character because, if he had, we would have a parliamentary vote. At no cost and 10 minutes of effort (ok, that maybe somewhat exaggerated)

    He even goes further in blaming Labor. He states that if Labor does not support the plebiscite, then there won’t be anything this parliament. This is the actual strategy they follow.

    And that @$%#wit Brandis this morning, had the gall to say Shorten is against gay marriage.

    Please stop giving Malcolm the benefit of doubt. He has no spine.

  5. wayne117700

    i think with all the train wrecks then we should have another election this government is doing nothing at all about anything

  6. stephengb2014

    Turnbull and Shorten do not seem to have read Machiavelli.

    But Abbott has, there is nothing wrong with his political accumen!

    The leaders of school yard bullies have Machiavelian instincts, thats why they are the leaders.

    I attended some of the toughest schools in working class Industrial England, this is so reminisant of those school yard gangs. They had not read Machiavelli but their instincts in that invironment were just as keen.

  7. Clean livin

    Step 1. Provide legislation enabling plebiscite. – this provides opportunity for the ” No” camp
    Step 2. Implement plebiscite. – this provides opportunity for the ” No” camp
    Step 3. Provide legislation to implement result of plebiscite. – this provides opportunity for the ” No” camp.

    PM. Remind me again, what is the purpose of the plebiscite apart from your commitment to others to secure the top job?

  8. mark delmege

    I cant say I agree with all the anti plebiscite arguments. The Greens (and others) arguing that it will cause young people to suicide looks to me dangerous alarmism as one example.
    Sure its gonna cost a packet – arguably unnecessarily and yes we haven’t yet seen the proposition but I’d argue its not all bad.
    Putting such a notion to the nation should put the debate beyond question and I reckon it will be passed and the vote in Parliament similarly so. And the positive affirmation of so many will be long celebrated.
    A million people didn’t vote in the last election – I’d be surprised if a big chunk of those were not young people. Many of them might be prepared to vote in the plebiscite and if it gets them out how can that be bad?
    So what if some make outrageous claims one way or the other – I think we have heard it all before anyway and we have survived. Besides those with the most stupid arguments will be exposed for what they are – bring it on – do your worst – we wont forget who you are.

  9. stephentardrew

    Great read as usual John. His Insider performance was a self-centred narrative of Malcolm satiating Malcolm’s vast ego expecting the world to conform to his deluded narrative and fantasy opinion of himself as some sort of leader. It truly was painful to watch.

    Labor is the magical destroyer, the mythical monster, even after years in power he cannot take up the mantle of chief compromiser which is in his job description. Another clear demonstration of conservative habituated thinking combined with the subconscious dilemma caused by moral compromise.

    He certainly is a cauldron of contradictions and irrationality.

    To survive he tries to project the image of uncompromising authority continually undermined by self doubt and the rabid right wing of the party. Oh dear Malcolm what have you done to your self-esteem?

  10. Kronomex

    “Yes” will win in our reality. The “No” will beat it in the realm of the rabid religious right LNP which makes Alice’s trips to Wonderland look a saner reality.

  11. Klaus

    Clean Livin 100%

  12. helvityni

    On the Insiders ,Mal was full of smiles, not matter what the question. The smiles were to convey a charismatic, confident leader…

    I saw a shrinking man.

  13. Klaus

    Mark delmege, I principally agree with you. This is normally how democracy works. But the motivation for putting it forward is an entirely different one. I can see the Liberal no camp going viciously and with their standard lying/doomsday scenarios forward. There is all potential for a blood bath . Let the major pollsters all do a poll. Quick and smart and then have a parliamentary vote.

    The potential for a nasty (I think of Bernady, Christensen, Brandis, Cormann etc…..) campaign, run by misinformation and questionable values family values.

    These people pay tax (I have to assume), vote, are a full member of Australia’s society but are excluded from this one institution of “holy” matrimony.

    I see a disaster coming and it is entirely wanted by the LNP.

  14. Klaus

    Yes helvityni, me too.

  15. keerti

    “We will see an ugly underbelly of our nation.”
    Is that a bad thing? Australia , like a middleclass society matron has been trying to appear as a “nice” person, much like our sham of a prime minister, for much of it’s history.. Exposing a festering sore is often the best way to promote healing, even though seeing the suppuration involved may be unpleasant.

  16. wam

    Dear lord, you need a good dose of cynicism.
    Tired? old?
    Those who repeat the ‘blaming labor again’ are old and boring, like me. But the anti-labor debts sheep are, albeit indoctrinated, vigorous and young and vocal. They have the benefit of a long indoctrinating ‘history’ reinforced every morning, noon and evening news by a compliant media. Opposed by a resigned labor party waiting for osmosis or a flash of light to show the economic worth of labor and the destructive DNA of the libs.

    As for the plebiscite clever wording, religious zeal and ‘mild’ homophobia (agnostic style anti-gay) $250m, when they lie in ‘billions’, what is ‘million’????
    Ambrose Bierce got it right:
    “Love is a temporary madness cured by marriage”
    Is their any doubt the rabbott and his cronies rule the equality avoidance???

  17. Steve Laing -

    Firstly – Malcolm on Insiders! Jeez, things must be bad if Malky is out on the charm campaign! It is perhaps another recognition that he can’t trust anyone else on his team not so say something stupid (his Treasurer and Helmet Head already having made fools of themselves again last week).

    Lets also recognise that referenda and plebiscites are no different to elections. Politicians prefer them to be totally devoid of truth and facts such that the results may have little to do with the original intent. The republican referendum is a great example, as indeed was the Brexit referendum in the UK. You can be guaranteed that this will be about gay adoption, gay parenting, gay sex, indeed anything whatsoever that the religious right can concoct to try and make Joe Average feel a bit icky and uncomfortable. Moreover they will suggest that this will go to a parliamentary vote anyway, so voting no isn’t really voting no, its just “abstaining”.

    Bill Shorten is right. The plebiscite was not an attempt to deal with the problem, it was an attempt to kick it (hopefully indefinitely) down the road. And that is simply because catholic and happy clappy fundamental christians are completely over-represented as politicians in our parliament.

    Having waited for so long, I’m sure the community will be patient to wait another few years for guaranteed success, rather than take the risk on some kind of popular vote that we don’t even have any clues about the rules yet. If there is one thing that you can be absolutely clear on, the Coalition will try and find a way to be sneaky on it. It is entirely in their DNA.

    Again, though, the issue has become political. We are now in yet another two-party Mexican stand-off that cannot be resolved because to back down now would be to show weakness. Turnbull can’t budge, and soon neither will Shorten. And so two-party politics impedes progress yet again.

  18. Michael Taylor

    I didn’t watch Insiders but I saw an article on about what Turnbull had said. It was choke-worthy, being the most hypocritical piece of rubbish ever spoken by a human being in the last 75,000 years.

  19. Carol Taylor

    The fact that the most vocal pro-plebiscite individuals are against marriage equality, Bob Day, Simon Birmingham, Leyonhjelm and the One Nation mottley assorteds, should be sending loud warning bells about the advisability of a plebiscite.

    Already is throwing in tittilating ‘stories’ pertaining to gay sex, ready to throw grime on the issue in order to treat the issue as one of ‘hot sex’ (careful, YOUR young lad could be the next ‘victim’) instead of it being about genuine relationships and equal rights for all Australians.

  20. Michael Taylor

    I think you’re on the money there, Carol.

  21. Steve Laing -

    Yes Carol – that would be the “grown up debate” Malcolm knows that Australia will have. But you are absolutely right – spotting who supports the plebiscite gives the game away entirely. Because they totally believe that it will fail.

  22. Jock Strap

    Malcolm stated on the Insiders that he is an Optimist’s and see’s things as; the glass being half full. If Malcolm was a writer or Celebrity he could get away with this obstinate self-protectionist mealy mouth words.

    He sounds more like a pathetic middle management executive giving a group of underlings a pep talk to increase their sales.

    Even though rumours abound that the company is in strife.

    Everyone knows that someone who say’s they are a glass half full person is a wanker.

    Because we all know that this statement is all about them and their precious ego and not about the issues at hand.
    Malcolm we all know your a bullshit artist’s!

  23. Carol Taylor

    Steve, and once the plebiscite fails, the anti-equality goons gloat, Malcolm will shrug and all will state: Well, there you go, that was the will of the people. How then can anyone, how then can any government introduce legislation into Parliament which would go AGAINST the will of the people…are we a Republic yet?

  24. helvityni

    Well said, Jock Strap 🙂

  25. Carol Taylor

    And let’s not forget Cory Bernardi who has previously likened marriage equality to bestiality, marriage equality being something which would undermine the very ‘fabric of Australian society’. Abbott’s response was that Bernardi was ‘ill-disciplined’, not a disgusting, gutter-minded moron..just ‘ill-disciplined’, Abbott obviously agreeing with Bernardi but tut-tutting that Bernardi stated his opinion specifically.

  26. Terry2

    Nick Xenophon has now confirmed that he will not support a plebiscite vote in parliament and from what Penny Wong said this morning it is unlikely that Labor will either, so there will be no plebiscite.

    The Abbott, Christensen, Bernardi group have said that they will block any attempt to have a Bill on marriage equality debated in this term of government and if Turnbull buckles they will ditch him.

    In the meantime Turnbull is going to put the ABCC Bill to the parliament – possibly through a joint sitting of both houses. If it doesn’t get up, the whole strategy of a Double Dissolution will have been for nought and Turnbull’s authority and leadership are shot to pieces.

    I don’t know about ‘reaching across the aisle’ : Turnbull may end up joining the Labor Party !

  27. townsvilleblog

    The big problem for Turnbull is that out of his 76 MPs 41 are of the ultra right wing. Personally I can’t see a plebiscite failing, but I can see a lot of prejudice being bandied about, aimed at the LGBTI community. We elect and pay them well to govern, its long overdue that they did so.

  28. townsvilleblog

    Terry2 Turnbull may have to join the Queensland Branch, they seem to be as right wing as the tories. They haven’t been able to fix this State because they are in minority govt, we have lost 1.5 million hectares of bushland under the Newman LNP laws, and the ALP are unable to re-legislate because the LNP will not agree to sensible reform.

  29. townsvilleblog

    Carol TaylorAugust 29, 2016 at 11:16 am, yes that’s the problem, the LNP government is being run democratically by the 41 ultra right wing faction who make up a majority of their parliamentarians. I give this govt until about Feb2017.

  30. Steve Laing -

    Carol – in 2008 (I think) here in WA we had a referendum on two issues. Daylight Savings and Extended Trading Hours. Whilst we still have no daylight savings, the Liberal government has since introduced extended and Sunday trading hours despite both matters being rejected at the ballot box. (The latter with hardly a murmur, largely I suspect due to a somewhat sympathetic media).

    The fact is that as our democratic system currently works, elections, referenda and plebiscites are just part of a big game that is aimed at fooling us that our opinions have worth. The reality is that its the inside cabals of two major parties that make the calls. As voters, our role is to give this farce a semblance of respectability.

    This plebiscite (like those on Daylight Savings or extended trading hours) are a case in point. We spend an inordinate amount of time on essentially a non issue. (SSM should simply be approved as an issue of equal rights). But parties are prepared to waste an inordinate amount of time and energy on it when they should be resolving the more significant issues that will impact the future of our nation.

    If they wanted to (particularly given how close their positions are), they could make a few compromises on their differences on Superannuation reform and get it legislated. But they won’t. They will drag it our for months, all in aid of a little political oneupmanship. Is it any wonder that increasing numbers of people are ignoring the major parties?

    Meanwhile the Chinese are building bridges that reach from Hong Kong to Macau…

  31. jim

    Labor might be better off letting the Senate reject the legislation and avoid the blame. True but how can we stop the nonsense of the MSM crap of Labors “reckless spending” when the LNP cut the carbon tax which brought in $15 billion over 2 years, and when Labor had the lowest government spending in history, and if it were not for the GFC of 2008 it would’ve been the lowest spending government for 3year term in government in History.

    The plebicite is there to drag it out for years to come or until we get a Labor government and we will, just look at the CLP white wash in the NT.

  32. Harquebus

    I am sick to death of this unimportant irrelevant non issue.
    Bring on the plebiscite and let’s get it friggin’ sorted once and for all and move on.

  33. helvityni

    Meanwhile the Chinese are building bridges that reach from Hong Kong to Macau…

    Yes, Steve, and here we struggle with the all important issues like sun fading our curtains, fluoride poisoning us, Muslim women’s’ dress code, ‘protecting’ gays and lesbians from dangers of marriage…..

  34. Carol Taylor

    I note that Turnbull has already launched his Let’s Blame Labor excuse, in spite of the fact that the Greens, Xenophon and Derryn Hinch have said that they’re not going vote for a plebiscite. Turnbull’s talking point is that Labor do not ‘trust’ the will of the people. However, since when is justice a matter of ‘the will of the people’. There are one hell of a lot of unjust things that might be popular (bring back the gas chamber?), but it doesn’t make it right especially when you have the might of the Murdoch media there ready to change opinions.

  35. Carol Taylor

    Harquebus, as far as this issue being unimportant and irrelevant, I guess that there is a bigger picture – a right to equal treatment in a society where there has been a resurgence of ultra-conservatives intent on creating division – rich vs poor, gay vs straight, Muslim vs everyone else, the taxed vs the non-taxed.

  36. Florence nee Fedup

    This government has already broke promise to have plebiscite this year with legislation passed by Christmas. Good enough excuse, reason for PM to ditch it, going straight to vote on MSS. This is what Labor should put to government. Bring legislation into the house this week. Simple yes/no question with plebiscite to be held within 5 weeks. Majority of voters across the nation needed.

    AEC can arrange an election within that time. Simple plebiscite should be easy. There are no regulations or rules when it comes to plebiscites, unlike referendums. Could even be run like elections for unions etc. Postal or internet vote. As we just had election, polls would be up to date. I don’t buy it, that AEC said it couldn’t occur this years. Brandis was requested to do paperwork in first quarter this year. For some reason, it was then put on hold.

    I suspect PM will have big problems getting the wording and timing passed his backbench and cabinet. Real reason it has been put off to the distance future.

    Shorten should call his bluff. Same goes for omnibus bill. Another con, aimed at wedging Labor.

    Time is long passed for PM to deliver good governance, that is if he or any in this government has the ability to deliver.

    Time for the games to stop.

  37. Steve Laing -

    Given that there are now enough Senators to block the plebiscite given XST has just said they will, and assuming Labor aren’t just playing politics, then Turnbull now has a choice to make, because the “mandate of the senate” has now spoken, and it says NO PLEBISCITE.

    If he truly is committed to SSM, then Turnbull needs to persuade his party for a vote in the house. But what is the betting that he will just blame Labor for not listening to the will of the people (e.g. his one seat majority in the house of reps which he won’t even give the opportunity to have a free-vote)? Because why try and do the right thing when you have a chance to besmirch your opposite number instead?

  38. Terry2

    The plebiscite – let’s call it what it really is, a non-binding opinion poll – is dead, buried and cremated. The last vestige of the putrid Abbott legacy.

    If the hardliners refuse to allow a parliamentary vote then so be it, we will wait until the Conservatives – let’s call them what they are, they are not Liberals – are dumped at the next election.

    Turnbull has allowed the right wing of his party to strike a blow against parliamentary democracy.

  39. Miriam English

    The plebicite was always a joke.

    If the right-wing got what they wanted then ten percent or more of our population would have their partnerships given no legal standing for the foreseeable future. The right-wing Christian extremists would certainly drum up hate, dividing our society further, and there is a very good chance they’d have the question cunningly worded to get the answer they want — remember how Howard sneakily worded the republic referendum to ensure it wouldn’t pass, even though the majority wanted a republic?

    If, however, the people did vote to enable same sex marriage it wouldn’t matter, because the government has already made it absolutely clear they would block it anyway — screw the population’s wishes and the hundreds of millions of dollars wasted.

    The plebicite was always just a tactic. There was never any intention of allowing same sex marriage. Labor, Greens, and the other small parties and independents who have said they’ll block this stupid, wasteful plebicite are doing the right thing.

    It’s all about hate.

  40. Miriam English

    Terry2, I don’t think you can even call them conservatives. They’re fundamentalist extremists, religiously and financially. They do have a kind of irresponsible aristocratic conservatism about them though. Conservative aristocrats are supposed to dislike change and have a feeling of responsibility to their society as good guardians. The bunch in power believe they’re aristocrats, as in being above everybody else, but appear to lack any feeling of responsibility. They are happy to tear society apart in order to get the radical changes they want. For them, poor people seem to be below contempt. No wonder they’re bad at governing.

  41. Möbius Ecko

    When Turnbull first got the leadership of the Liberal party he was being white anted at every turn. There was hardly an interview he conducted where within minutes, or sometimes at the same time, another L-NP minister was saying something opposite in another presser.

    Turnbull is only in the position of leader again because this time he is bowing to those who were behind his white anting previously.

    Knowing that I find it incongruous that he keeps saying he’s optimistic that if the public through the plebiscite vote in favour of marriage equality then the L-NP will pass the act legalising it.

    Not withstanding that the public should not be the arbiters of equality, this reeks to me of Turnbull being setup for the white ant of the century by his own party.

  42. Steve Laing -

    Actually Miriam – the republic referendum did much more than supply a no vote, it has effectively killed the issue for nearly 20 years. That is the hope of the plebiscite supporters too – if they can fudge a result that can be interpreted in any way as less than decisive, they will take that as an indication that its not important.

    It took nearly 20 years from the first Scottish devolution bill (1979) to be reintroduced in 1997. Though the majority was Yes in 1979, a 40% threshold rule was introduced which effectively killed the bill. Again, the desire was not to oblige the peoples wishes, but to thwart them. It is well known that it is very difficult to get public approval in referenda and plebiscites, which is why certain politicians suggest them…

  43. Terry2

    Howard also included in the Marriage Act amendment in 2004 a new section that clearly demonstrated the devious homophobia at work :

    ” 88EA Certain unions are not marriages

    A union solemnised in a foreign country between:

    (a) a man and another man; or

    (b) a woman and another woman;

    must not be recognised as a marriage in Australia. ”

    That was inserted for pure spite and of course it passed the parliament : I wonder how it would have gone in a plebiscite ?

  44. Freethinker

    John, I have a different view of you on this issue.
    First, IMO I do not think that the problem is that Malcolm do not have “the balls” to stamp his authority.
    Malcolm was a member of the Abbott’s cabinet and he went along with the policies put in place or proposed by the party. He did not resigned, the polices suited his plans and ideology.

    You are saying, quote: “And no one should underestimate the social turmoil the debate has the potential to produce. People will say the most outrageous things and make the vilest of accusations. They will shout at each other and religious hatred will bare itself on the streets.

    We will see an ugly underbelly of our nation. Arrogance and ignorance will abound and gay folk will be targeted and shouted at. The PM will call for calm while Tony Abbott and others infest our natural sense of fairness and decency with their lies.” End of quote

    That it is their agenda John, create division within the electorate to weak their opposition to the government. A weak opposition and divided society is a tool for extreme right governments ( and oppositions) to implement their agenda. ( Brasil and some countries in Europa are an example)

  45. John Lord

    Klaus. I have made that point a few times. And might I point out to others that Turnbull actually signed an agreement with the Nats to follow through with Abbotts plebiscite.

  46. mark delmege

    And if the only way to get the desired outcome within the next three years is a plebiscite (which is quite possibly the only chance), then why not? Or is it not that important?

  47. Miriam English

    mark delmege, “why not?”… because it won’t deliver a sane and logical, human rights oriented outcome — the outcome desired by the majority of Australians. The entire purpose of a plebicite is to avoid it.

    1. the right-wing Christian extremists would use it to launch a big campaign to increase hate and division in society, attempting to marginalise and repress gays further in the lead up to the plebicite. We really don’t need more homophobia.
    2. the LNP would use it as a convenient distraction from more evil they might sneak in under the radar.

    3. the plebicite question would be sneakily worded to make allowing normal rights for gays extremely unlikely. I imagine they would make some kind of extensions to the question, like, “Should the sexual relationship between two, three, or more same sex people, perhaps even including minors, be legally accepted as marriage?” That’s the kind of thing Howard did in the referendum on a republic. He added an irrelevant rider about appointing a president which was objectionable to most people, even those who wanted a republic.

    4. if the plebicite disallowed same sex marriage (even though most Australians believe it should be allowed) then that would block chances of reform for years, perhaps decades.

    5. if the plebicite okayed same sex marriage then the LNP would discard the result anyway, meaning hundreds of millions of dollars would have been completely wasted, and would have contributed only to more hate and division in society and delayed reform for years.

    When you ask, “Is it not that important?” what does “it” refer to? The plebicite? Or the legal recognition of same sex marriage? If the former, then no. A plebicite is a complete waste of time and money, unless the aim is to increase homophobia and division in society and to undemocratically block same sex marriage while cloaking with the pretence of legitimacy those efforts. If “it” refers to same sex marriage, then it is certainly important to about 10% of the population — those who are same sex oriented. It’s also important to many “straight” people — mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, children, and friends of those gay people.

  48. mark delmege


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