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Day to Day Politics: ‘How about a parliamentary plebiscite on marriage equality’

Sunday January 31 January.

1 Hypothetical I know, but what about if next week, when Parliament resumes, Bill Shorten moves a non-binding vote on the subject of marriage equality. Those who agree go to the right of the chair, those who don’t to the left. If the yes vote is carried then have a real vote, pass a bill and the matter is concluded. If the no vote is carried then have a plebiscite and carry out the will of the people.

Conservatives want a plebiscite for two reasons. Firstly to delay in order to propagate more Far Right Evangelical Christian propaganda and secondly to gain access to half of the $150 million to support their cause.

It seems obscenely immoral to me to be spending that amount of money on something that surveys and polls have for a number of years shown overwhelming support for a yes vote.

If politicians are not there to carry out, or reflect the will of the people what are they there for?

Having spent a major part of my life in the Church environment I am fully conversant with the Biblical argument on this and other issues of social justice. They helped form my rejection of regressive religion.

I wrote an argument in support of gay marriage.

Having said that many surveys suggest that people of faith in main stream churches are in favour of marriage equality.

We should not underestimate just how influential Abbott, Andrews, Bernardi and others are in the Coalition parties.

Warren Entsch said: “It makes you wonder why we would spend millions of dollars on a plebiscite if you’re not going to respect the result. I find it rather bizarre.”

The $150 million would be better back in the program against domestic violence where it probably came from.

2 Health is set to become a major issue in the lead up to the election.The Australian Medical Association’s 2016 Annual Report into Public Hospital Funding show that Public Hospitals are in big trouble. AMA president Brian Owler, is quoted as saying that ‘public hospital funding is about to become the biggest single challenge facing state and territory finances’.

3 Quoting Scott (Gunna) Morrison on the Tax Debate: ‘We’ve advanced the debate I think a lot more effectively over the last four or five months than a green paper ever would.’

What absolute drivel. All they are doing is continuously repeating the same lines over and over saying that they are thinking about and talking about the issues.

Doing something seems to be out of the question. There surely will come a point in time when it will occur to a journalist, or someone, to ask just when decisions will be made. I mean for God’s sake what have they been doing for two and a half years.

Malcolm Turnbull’s interview with Neil Mitchell last Friday was laughable. Malcolm just sat there being, well-being Malcolm, smiling, talking being nice, talking, being calm, patient, polite, reassuring and tolerant, repeating himself, blaming Labor for everything. Yes everything’s on the table repeating it’s on the table, and all those other things Malcolm is good at.

Did I mention everything’s on the table. I did, did I say except Climate change, Marriage Equality, the Republic and Asylum Seekers. Well they aren’t. Tony’s still looking after them which of course means they will be incarcerated for life. No we are not thinking of putting any new policy on the table.

He was charming of course. White papers, green papers and toilet paper, even confetti if there’s a gay marriage. Even copy paper if you want an FOI request. OH and I forgot. Using public transport.

But where was the Prime Minister?

An observation.

‘Life is about perception. Not what is but what we perceive it to be.’

4 Thus far it is shaping up to be a historically typical boring election year. There will be all the usual claims and counter claims. The where is the money coming from questions. Politicians will say that they never underestimate the Australian people while at the same time treating us like idiots. In short it will be like every other election. Negative, negative.

Sorry, but Bill Shorten and Labor will not win this election with a traditional run of the mill campaign.

5 This from Tony Abbott’s speech to the Alliance Defending Freedom in New York on Thursday:

‘So I’ve been good on the theory of family but, like so many of my parliamentary colleagues, I’ve ­relied on a supportive spouse to put the heart into the home’.

That to me sounds like the view of a failed father. Or one who never tried.

And this paragraph grabbed my attention.

‘In today’s world, we need less ideology and more common sense; we need less impatience and more respect; we need less shouting at people and more ­engagement with them.’

He never stops giving.

6 Only in America.

This comment from the Guardian about the Trump organised Trump debate:

‘Both as a vaudeville show and a political rally, Trump’s event was lacking. There were no musical numbers nor were there any jugglers, although Trump certainly tap danced around addressing any substantive issues of policy.’

As I said: Only in America.

My thought for the day

When you think you have no more to give and someone cries out to you. Find the strength to help.


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  1. Florence nee Fedup

    Love we have too much ideology from a man who is driven by ideology and dogma.

    I believe cabinet decided against a green paper. Will be releasing a list of what is being taken off and left on the table. I thought this PM was to honour the Westminster system.

    Tony took Marge to the US with him this time. Unusual for the man. No mention of Peta.

  2. Peter F

    The old favourite Coalition question ” Where’s the money coming from?’ Does anyone remember the ‘fistful of dollars’ advts from the Libs when they were buying votes? We deserve better than this.

  3. Peter F

    Florence – someone has to do the housekeeping.

  4. Terry2

    Tony Abbott has said that he would respect the outcome of a plebiscite on marriage equality. Let’s not forget that it was he who proposed the plebiscite so that the people could decide and now he has the cheek to say that he would respect the outcome.

    What Tony hasn’t said is that, in the meantime, he will fight tooth and nail to ensure that the plebiscite doesn’t get up.

    How the coalition ultimately draft the question for this plebiscite is going to be fascinating. For instance, would they be prepared to ask the populace :

    ‘Do you believe that people in our society should be discriminated against based on their sexuality ?’


    ‘Do you believe that all Australians should be treated equally before the law ?’

    Seems like a no-brainer to me, what do you think ?

  5. Jaquix

    I believe Labor could win the next election, but only with John Lord and Kaye Lee as Opposition Team Leaders. Their writings keep me sane. Thank you for that, shining a spot light on the hypocrisy, humbug and self interested manipulation of the current government.

  6. Sen Nearly Ile

    dear oh dear, lord, once again a great assessment, including the killer “Find the strength to help”. A perennial plea to the labor pollies.

    If a labor ‘heavy’ like plibersek, were to go on commercial TV/RADIO and move that the marriage bill re-introduced last august by ‘warren entsch’ and seconded by terri butler
    Under the rules of debates on motions ‘I move the motion be put’ stops the debate till that question is answered wouldn’t that have caused panic if labor in the absence of any coalition except bronnie had so moved???
    sorry peter. with loony help, they doubled the debt and despite a few billion to the ginas et al, they haven’t done much so there are billions somewhere.
    Flo she is a ‘thrice blessed by god’ asset. But, for those with enough age and imagination, would he have taken ‘Sonia’??????
    terri2 ‘believe’
    if you believe that marriage is between a man and a woman’ it IS a ‘no brainer’.
    The current crop of politicians includes many religious men and women ‘poofter bashers’ many of whom have mentally and physically bashed men and women for ‘their sexuality’
    As for ‘treated equally before the law’, being the cornerstone of democracy, any look at this government or the legal system or lawyers, other than followers of geoffrey robertson, will provide the evidence that ‘equality’ is absolute tripe and Iustitia certainly is not blind.

    ps if everyone paid the medicare levy (including welfare recipients and companies) before deductions there would be full health care for all and mariah’s ring, instead of being an $8m deduction would add $200000 to medicare

  7. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    John Lord,

    great observations once again. What advice would you give Bill Shorten and Labor for running a winning campaign?

    We discuss our different views all the time on AIMN. Do you think Bill and the team are listening and taking notice?

    I wonder if, like me, they are scared of 10 or 20 years of political wilderness under an ongoing LNP regime like those of my age group, who were born into a prolonged LNP regime in the ’50s. That was why Gough (and Calwell before) were so wonderful because they finally broke in 1972, the stranglehold on government by the lazy and lascivious LNP.

    Bill and his team are too young to have been born at a time when it was a surprise to me, as a political innocent, that anybody but the LNP were allowed to be the government! Maybe they should be reminded by their parents that such a political wilderness is even more reason for Bill and his Labor team to pull all the stops out now to avoid the further desecration by the LNP of Australian values, institutions and equitable opportunities.

    That means being brave and formulating progressive policies that address the needs of marginalised people in: poverty; regional and remote areas; unemployment; asylum seeker detention; arbitrary detention for minor crimes; discrimination based on age/ethnicity/gender/religion/body_shape/you-name-it. That also means making friends with others to form a progressive political front that seeks institutional reforms.

    Labor must be seen to be forming brave policies that are seen to be reaching out to ALL of us to make us believe WE matter regardless of where we live and who we are.

  8. Sen Nearly Ile

    oops forgot to show a little education by quoting the religious, political and legal truism ‘all animals are equal but some are more equal than others’
    A friend sent me some ‘delicious irony’. A photo of a huge cctv camera next to the plaque identifying George Orwell’s house?
    ps JMS: labor must be seen and heard not hidDeN on the withy the hope to be quoted? or give us arguments to use in the field.

  9. Jennifer Meyer-Smith


    I was using code! 🙂

    I want you and everyone to hear the message that Labor would benefit – and hence us – by making progressive friends wherever they come from … instead of inviting just another opportunity to bash the Greens

  10. John Maycock

    Jennifer Meyer-Smith
    You need to get your message straight .
    Was it not you, who only yesterday wrote, here on the AIMN

    “I was for 38 years a Labor supporter until finally I saw the light that Labor had almost become the mirror image of the LNP arseholes. ”

    Now you “saw the light” and went over to the Greens , do we expect to see the Lib/Lab flip flop bashing of Labor continue .
    Why would whatever message Labor {those mirror image arseholes” } put out be of interest to you as surely the Greens have enough issues of their own for you to deal with

  11. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    You’re making my head swell, John Maycock.

    I promise not to accuse Labor any more, as long as they and you start listening to common sense!

    Bottom line is I want the LNP annihilated because of their destructive policies and political regression on all our political institutions.

    What about you, John Maycock, do YOU want the LNP defeated? Explain how you would suggest this will happen. Failure to explain your viewpoint in response will prove you’re not here for sensible discussion but just to undermine it.

  12. Deidre Zanker

    Perhaps John Lord and Kay Lee could offer to help Labor develop an election winning strategy. Our democracy can not survive another LNP term. The Liberal party extreme right fascists will make us a third world, poverty stricken dictatorship as they destroy our egalitarian society. I do not want to live in a Murdochracy.

  13. John Maycock

    “I promise not to accuse Labor any more, as long as they and you start listening to common sense!”
    I haven’t seen that yet, just your liblab flipflop bagging of Labor and your rush to get a vote for the Greens
    “John Maycock, do YOU want the LNP defeated? ”

    Of course I do, but the question is, do you ? does it have to be the Greens at the expense of Labor as you seem to demand ?
    The total negativity of this liblab flip flop is playing right into LNP hands .
    And when the ALP announce good policy like Gonski

    when a poster put the following plus Bill Shortens 50 points link

    “Federal Labor today committed to delivering the vital last two years of Gonski funding.
    The funding would be delivered in full by a Labor Government in 2018 and 2019.


    Others were pleased ,
    You , not a positive word and “but they didn’t raise Teachers pay”

    need I say more .

  14. Sen Nearly Ile

    hahaha JMS what about my
    ‘in a rush to take my darling to sunday coffee, code’
    I wrote:
    hidDeN on the withy the hope to be quoted
    which in my befuddled mind reads
    hidden on the ABC with the hope that commercial TV autocue ‘journos’ will quote without spin.

    Deidre, I have no doubt that labor pollies list emails from ‘helpers’ as spam.
    One, 20 years as shadow or minister pollie, that I know, has not invited any newspaper reporters to a press conference, this century.

  15. diannaart

    John Lord

    Labor’s gigantic elephant: ” Bill Shorten and Labor will not win this election with a traditional run of the mill campaign…”

    The above bears repeating, until someone realises Labor has little by way of equitable enough policies to redress the damage done by the LNP and themselves.

    For example, Gonski does nothing to redress funding issues – private schools will still be propped up by tax-payers. As for teachers, not only their pay is an insult, but far too many cannot obtain a permanent position – despite acting in jobs successfully for 2 years or more, they get moved on again – both detrimental to students and teacher confidence. Ask any teachers involved in VET courses (like my sister) – well qualified specialist teachers are being treated like garbage – Gonski does not remedy this situation.

    We want the LNP out – please Labor admit you’d like some support from other progressives, else I might suspect that motives for gaining office are not for altruistic purposes.

  16. diannaart

    Thanks Jennifer, I’m pretty sure we don’t agree on everything – but that is not the point.

    Any group of people larger than one, is bound to have disagreements – not rocket science that’s just how humans are, but we know we can work together – not only is the LNP irrevocably damaging our democracy but, worldwide, we need to stand up to the greedy and malicious.


    @Florence nee Fedup Tony took Marge to the US with him this time. Unusual for the man. No mention of Peta.

    You really think even Tones is so stupid that he’d fail to take devoted and loyal little wifey along to a meeting of religious right-wing misogynists?

  17. Florence nee Fedup

    Agree. On other occasions she would be left at home, More likely not willing to go. Didn’t see her in any snaps?

    Wonder he didn’t cart girls along as well. Playing happy families is the name of his game.

  18. diannaart


    Did you watch the episode of Annabel Crabb’s “Kitchen Cabinet” featuring Abbott? So much is revealed about this man – from the salad which was prepared “by the girls” to the lackadaisical cooking of Annabel’s fish – Abbott being a steak man of course.

    Unfortunately, this episode is no longer freely available, it would be most edifying to watch this episode followed by the one Annabel did with Ricky Muir – the contrast is mind-bending. For Ricky it was all about presenting a good meal for his guest, Annabel – not so much with Tones.

  19. cornlegend

    This may be of interest to 1 or 2 of you

    Labor’s National Platform provides members and supporters in the community with a clear statement of Labor’s beliefs, values and program for government. The document outlines the key priorities for Labor over the coming years. The 47th National Conference concluded in July 2015 providing Labor with this National Platform.
    From Terri Butler email


  20. margcal

    John Lord:
    2 Health is set to become a major issue in the lead up to the election.

    It’s probably a minor quibble in the greater scheme of things but my blood boils when I read/hear headlines and articles that this or that hospital “failed” to reach its targets.
    If journalists were being honest they would write that those hospitals were “not funded” to reach their targets.
    Failing hospitals would be ripe to sell off to private industry though, wouldn’t they. And I do mean “industry” – care goes out the window when you have to pay shareholders.
    Schools likewise.

    Deidre Zanker: January 31, 2016 at 11:37 am
    Perhaps John Lord and Kay Lee could offer to help Labor develop an election winning strategy.

    The big question – how do you win an election when you get no oxygen from the MSM?
    Even getting an airing on the ABC is getting more difficult as interviewers increasingly pander to the LNP in order to keep their jobs. Will be interesting to see how it goes with the News Corp/Google Girl takes over the reins.


    cornlegend: January 31, 2016 at 5:13 pm
    This may be of interest to 1 or 2 of you

    For policies see http://www.alp.org.au/policy_commitments


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