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End These Childish Antics Now!

Much has been said about the divisive nature of a plebiscite to decide the question of same-sex marriage. Much has been said about the simplicity of a parliamentary vote.

Politics is a cruel animal when it comes to delivering on divisive issues. It reduces otherwise intelligent people to the level of school children misbehaving in the playground. Nothing demonstrates this better than the marriage equality issue.

Marriage equality is a human rights issue that impacts on a minority of people. To the rest it is a non-issue, something viewed with mild ambivalence. And those who are not gay (roughly 90% of us), should not be asked to adjudicate on it.

While there are contradictory views across the nation, why should those who are not gay, be asked to decide on a question about which they have no personal stake?

Greens leader Richard di Natale has fired the first salvo announcing that the Greens will not support a plebiscite. His reasons are clear. While the cost factor is irrelevant, the divisive nature will not be in the nation’s best interests.

Nick Xenophon has done the same. Good on both of them. Labor’s Bill Shorten is likely to follow suite and also reject the proposal. There are a several good reasons why they should not support a plebiscite. I cannot think of one good reason why they should.

The consensus is that their decisions will further delay any positive action. But they shouldn’t. These decisions should make a parliamentary vote more likely and introduced more speedily. This is where the contrived complexities created by those who are in favour of a plebiscite make a mockery of our parliamentary system.

056997-tony-abbott A plebiscite was never a good idea and one suspects it was no more than a delaying tactic by Tony Abbott whose views on the matter are well known. Malcolm Turnbull, on the other hand, supports marriage equality.

His public support for a plebiscite does not sound convincing and one suspects he is hamstrung between his personal view and a bullying conservative right wing of the party who seem to have him in trapped in a cage.

With senate numbers very much in favour of marriage equality and a mere one seat majority for the Coalition in the lower house, one would think the odds are very much in favour of a successful vote there too.

Why doesn’t Turnbull simply call their bluff? What can they do? Replacing him would be electoral suicide. Does he not realise the strength of his own position?

During the election campaign, Bill Shorten promised to introduce a marriage equality bill within the first 100 days if elected. He didn’t win, but why should that stop him from introducing a private member’s bill, or simply call for a vote on the one that was introduced last year that sits there gathering dust?

The likelihood of one or two Coalition members crossing the floor cannot be discounted. A bill to change the wording of the marriage act could well pass in the lower house.

John Howard caused this furore by legislating to change the wording of the act without recourse to the people. He did not ask us to approve it. We don’t need to be asked to reverse it.

On Lateline, George Brandis accused Bill Shorten of politicising the issue. Did George not notice that it was already a political issue, one started by his former leader, Tony Abbott?


We elect our government to lead. Instead, what we get is obfuscation, deferment, delay, indecision, obstruction and bloody-minded recalcitrance. This is not leadership. This is childish school playground antics.

It is pathetic. It is weak. We deserve better. End this ridiculous charade and have the parliament vote on it. Now!


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  1. Lorraine Stansfiewld

    Entirely agree! Good article.

  2. jimhaz

    [There are a several good reasons why they should not support a plebiscite. I cannot think of one good reason why they should]

    The only good reason is that it has already been promised. I’m not a good judge of the future in political terms, but it might be worse for gay folk if the plebiscite was now denied. The religious, right wing groups and libertarians are likely to go into ever harder overdrive if denied. They will be very resentful and will polarise even further.

    Maybe replace the plebiscite with a formalised online survey (which is all the plebiscite is). Allow only a very short period from start to go.

    Might be able to get away with cancellation – if Turnbull had of taken on the right wing early – but as he has not we have the same government as the Abbott gov. – too many vicious and insane Bernardi’s with mental rabies.

  3. Matters Not

    While I am opposed to a ‘plebiscite’ because this is a ‘human rights’ matter and for many of us we have no immediate ‘skin in the game’, Shorten has some decisions to make. If he votes to oppose, then he runs the real risk that the ‘issue’ will not be decided in this parliamentary term. That will be the cause of some angst, particularly within the gay community.

    I am attracted to the notion that this is a matter to be resolved by the Parliament. As you point out, the current arrangements were ‘made’ by a Parliament and therefore it is well within the legitimacy of a ‘new’ Parliament to make different arrangements. Parliaments are there to ‘legislate’ so why the delay.

    Yet Turnbull did take the issue to an election. And won. Should he casually break an election ‘promise’? Probably not. But it is Turnbull’s promise not Shorten’s . Shorten has always favoured immediate legislative action. If he steps away now it might be viewed as a broken promise as well.

    Methinks he has no choice other than to follow suit.

  4. Michael Taylor

    Interesting point, MN. While I think the idea of a plebiscite is ludicrous, I worry that by not supporting it Shorten runs the risk of being branded as one who goes against the wishes of the electorate, as Turnbull did drive home on Insiders. But having said that, I would respect his right not to support it. What I don’t respect are Turnbull’s endeavours to get political mileage out of this.

  5. Klaus

    Hi John,

    You are asking “Why doesn’t Turnbull simply call their bluff? What can they do? Replacing him would be electoral suicide”. I think you might underestimate the egos of the likes ScoMo, Dutton, perhaps Bishop etc.

    You are right, they would be suicidal but they are so up their own, that they are blinded by their own brilliance.

    They are waiting in the wings.

    Still, Malcolm has no spine, in answer to your question.

  6. Klaus

    I disagree Matters Not. You can’t break election promises of elections you haven’t won. That would be a new one. Of course, I realize that he would be in danger of being crucified by the LNP and MSM. But he is a leader of the major opposition party who can’t be seen to buckle or being blackmailed by a lying, deceiving and ranting mob, now trying to take the high moral ground on this matter.

    Bill’s party is in favor of not having a plebiscite. He said so before the election. He said it in leaders debates. He had a strong view against a plebiscite. He can’t go backwards and buckle in front of this hyena like mob.

  7. Narelle

    Couldn’t agree more. Whether gay marriage is allowed in Australia or not, the majority of our lives will go on the same as it always has. But it would be life changing for gay people to have the same rights that the other 90% of us have. Imagine that.

  8. Matters Not

    Klaus I think I haven’t made myself clear. Shorten should oppose a plebiscite. Turnbull did win and he should support a plebiscite.

    Shorten didn’t win. So his promises to support Gonski, Medicare and the like should be abandoned?

    I think not.

  9. Matters Not

    If we are going to have plebiscites on ‘human rights’ issues, then surely we will be having plebiscites on whether we declare war or not. You know, plebiscites on whether people are going to die or not? Important decisions of life and death that involve more important issues than who is allowed to hold hands for an extended period of time.

  10. Klaus

    MN, I agree with you. No offence taken.

  11. NFP.

    Could not have said it better, thanks.

  12. Fedup literally

    I wish they would drown this whole bloody story! Sick to death of listening, reading, second guessing what the politicians should and should not do about this issue. This country is going down the toilet from mismanagement and the only thing people can think and talk about is bloody gays getting the right to marry! Give it a bloody rest!

  13. kerri

    I commented yesterday that the only party willing to waste $160,000 on a pointless and non binding plebiscite is the party who tout themselves as the best with the economy!

  14. kerri

    Perhaps the best action for Bill is to oppose the plebiscite then immediately put SSM up as a private members bill.

  15. stephengb2014

    The position of the LNP, and in particular Turnbull is without doubt the most disgracful position any Aistralian government hasever been.

    Bill Shorten must not give in to these school yard bullies.

    I believe that the gay community would not blame him and I formly believe that nor would the rest of the ALP supporters

  16. Matters Not

    waste $160,000 on a pointless

    kerri you’re three zeros short of the estimated cost. Try $160 000 000.00

    But you’re right. It is a significant amount particularly when you claim to value ‘efficiency’ and the like.

  17. Fedup literally

    It’s a complete waste of taxpayers money on this pathetic cause when the people of this country who are the neediest are being ripped off by this stinking government and all bloody gays can think about is the right to get married and even that is all wrong! How about this country start to get it’s priorities right!

  18. Carol Taylor

    MN, upwards to $250 million..and we all know good the LNP have been at Maths..see budget blowout and NBN cost blowout.

  19. helvityni

    As MN says, we don’t have plebiscites when going to wars…

    Many marriages are of course minor wars, but still not that bad that we need to consult the whole nation before entering one.

    And thank the lord that all of us , gays, lesbians and heterosexuals, can always get out of it; through simple separation or divorce.

  20. Carol Taylor

    From The Guardian 1st August,

    The overwhelming majority of LGBTI Australians oppose a plebiscite on marriage equality and most would prefer to wait for a free parliamentary vote to avoid a plebiscite, a new survey shows.

    The survey of 5,463 LGBTI Australians found 85% opposed the plebiscite, with most opposed to the plebiscite even if the question were “fairly framed and has a good chance of success” (62.6%).

    Marriage Equality Australia also oppose the plebiscite. One has to ask why the only ones (and these people are becoming increasingly shrill) who are adamant that there *has to be a plebiscite* are the ones who vehemently oppose marriage equality.

  21. guest


    Stop the moaning. Relax. It is not getting you anywhere. You are on the wrong side of history. SSM/marriage equality will happen.

  22. keerti

    If we didn’t have a Clatons PM we might have some action.

  23. Fedup

    I can see where all of you have your priorities and it’s not for the good of the country. Pathetic bunch!

  24. Michael Taylor

    “I can see where all of you have your priorities … ”

    So can I. We are discussing the topic. Deal with it.

  25. Harquebus

    The only people who really have a stake in this issue are those who are already married.

  26. diannaart

    Like many, I am fed up to the gills with what should be a simple correction of Howard’s nasty little alteration to the marriage act.

    Howard did not need a plebiscite nor a conscience vote by parliament.

    We do not need to spend a bucket load of $ on a result that if in favour of marriage equality, will be vetoed by the likes of Bernardi, Christensen, Joyce et al – the far right idiot children of the LNP.

    However, if the plebiscite is stopped from occurring and saving us all from the far-right to anything not heterosexual, the issue of marriage equality may be temporarily halted. This issue will not go away, not now. However, if Labor are looking for another way in which to distinguish themselves from the LNP – I think we can afford to wait till 2019.

    I do not see Malcolm owning sufficient stones to declare a conscience vote.

  27. Michael Taylor

    H’, I disagree. The major stakeholders should be those who WANT to get married but can’t.

    But I think you were just kidding anyway. ?

  28. Matters Not

    upwards to $250 million

    Carol it all depends on what funds will be provided for the ‘debate’ and who will provide same. If it’s an open cheque funded by the State, then it will cost more than the subs. There’s plenty out there who will ‘die in a ditch’ on this one. But I don’t think Turnbull will provide an open cheque.

    On the other hand, if the government decides to provide no funds to either side, then the chances are the answer to the plebiscite is likely to be a resounding NO. While the Churches and other groups will dig deep to advance the NO case, who will fund the YES case? Who will fund the many, many TV ads that say YES? I know who will be paying the NO case.

    It’s a problem for both Turnbull and supporters for the YES case. Be interested to see how it pans out. Don’t be surprised if the NO case supporters argue for no public funding.

    , nor more dangerous to manage than a new system. For the initiator has the enmity of all who would profit by the preservation of the old institution and merely lukewarm defenders in those who gain by the new ones.

  29. Colin

    “We deserve better”

    If by “we” you mean Australians, do you really think so after voting this mob back in less than 2 months ago?

  30. Harquebus

    Not really. It was mainly a response to this.
    “why should those who are not gay, be asked to decide on a question about which they have no personal stake?”
    Those who married with the view of the traditional definition of the institution are the ones who are being asked to forgo.
    Personally, I just want to bring on the plebiscite and put the whole effen issue behind us.

  31. Matters Not

    diannaart, be interested to see how Turnbull handles that because he has Bernardi introducing a Senate motion as well re 18c. Enemies everywhere. As for the ‘sensible’ centre – it’s a contest apparently.

    I don’t think there will be anyone to cross the Floor but who will ‘call in sick’? But if he can’t win this he’s severely weakened.

    Come back Tony! It was all a mistake.

  32. Michael Taylor

    “Come back Tony! It was all a mistake”.

    I prefer mine: Come back, Paul. All is forgiven.

  33. diannaart

    Matters Not

    If Turnbull remains glove puppet for far right, we will be ‘free’ to offend and humiliate LGBTI people, while denying equal rights to same.

  34. helvityni

    MT, I just watched John Hewson on the Drum, and once again I’ll say, I’d welcome him back with open arms; he was the first one to laugh when Paul Keating promised to DO him …slowly.

  35. Steve Laing

    So it would now appear that there are different grades of marriage depending on where it is conducted. A UK marriage (as mine is) has lower value because SSM is now allowed in the UK.

    Can’t say I noticed any change…

    But the whole issue is ludicrous, and picking and choosing when to plebiscite, and when not to, just shows these eejits are simply making it up as they go along.

  36. Annie B

    Agree with much here – there should be no plebiscite … ( not to mention the ridiculous amount of $$$ it would take to fund such a ludicrous venture, which would not change too many minds, anyway ).

    Carol T said a mouthful ” One has to ask why the only ones (and these people are becoming increasingly shrill) who are adamant that there *has to be a plebiscite* are the ones who vehemently oppose marriage equality.” … Well said.

    Odd that, isn’t it. ?

    Said to my other half just this evening. “Lets’ gather our entire families together here – the whole darned lot, and throw the subject of ‘should gay marriage be legitimised’ at them for discussion …. then WE walk out the door – and alert the cops to the probable riot that would ensue. !!! ” Because believe me, there would be a massive argument. ….

    The way diffferent people view SSM, & sexual practices, which is something everyone should be brought up to speed on btw – as a lot of what happens homosexually, also happens heterosexually – [ no further utterances on that ] … and their ‘take’ on people of the same gender ‘loving one another’ which many find abhorrent, un-natural and ( wrongly ) a slight on their own ways of life. …

    Heterosexual partners should have a very hard look at what it actually ‘means’ to be married. The likes of the Abbott type thinkers in this world, can hardly hold a higher moral ground, when the divorce stats are as they are nowadays. 1 in 3 ‘legitimate’ marriages end in divorce these days, but wow – they are staying longer married than 2 decades ago – from 10.7 years now to 12.1 years. … Ain’t THAT good news !!

    Every person on earth has a right to love and be loved. …. No matter colour, creed, gender, beliefs, sexuality, personal pursuits, religious teachings ( or not ) … as consenting adults.

    That’s the bottom line.


  37. Matters Not

    Just watched the last half of ‘Insight’ on SBS at my wife’s urgings. The ignorance on display was astounding. (Not the ‘sentiments’ I hasten to add – wishes, desires and all that) But the misunderstanding of the ‘political process’ and how outcomes are materialised.

    Now (almost) convinced that while the ‘education system’ continues to focus on the so-called ‘basics’, (as evidenced by the ‘now’ and ‘past’ practices and the chatter about same) the outcomes will be ‘ignorance’ writ large when it comes to any understanding(s) of any ‘ideological divide’ that goes beyond facile ‘opinion’.

    Almost in favour of a ‘guided democracy’. Or as Sukarno would articulate – Demokrasi Terpimpin.

  38. Matters Not

    Annie B re your comment:

    which would not change too many minds, anyway

    Perhaps? But I have a different view. The majority of the electorate doesn’t seem to operate on the basis of ‘principles’ but on who ‘shouts’ the loudest – on impulse, urge, fancy, whimsy, vagary, kink, craze, fad, passion, inclination and the like. They are easily ‘swayed’.

    I evidence ‘Hanson et al.’

  39. Annie B

    Matters Not …

    yep … good points there.

    Many are indeed, easily swayed – but so often because of sheer ignorance and lack of interest or caring.

  40. Fedup Literally

    One easy solution to this plebiscite debacle – Let the bloody gays pay for it if they want it so badly. I’m sick of it!

  41. helvityni

    MN, I too watched Insight, many Hanson, but also Xenophon, supporters there…

    The week before insight came up with very surprising statistics, 42 % of Oz population does not have adequate literacy skills….?

  42. Michael Taylor

    “Let the bloody gays pay for it if they want it so badly”.

    OK, and the next time you need hospital treatment you can pay for all of it. Everything. I don’t want my taxes being spent on you.

    The next time you drive on a highway you can pay a toll for the right to use it. It such a pity that my taxes go towards helping you.

    And the next time you need police assistance perhaps you can pay them an hourly rate for their time. I would really hate knowing that my taxes go towards you being provided a service.

    I could go on, but I think you get my message. (Or am I crediting you with too much intelligence?)

  43. Fed Up Literally

    At least the Taxpayers dollar will be going to the important things in life, like saving peoples lives you moron. I cannot believe this is what you compare this too and insult me at the same time. Gay’s rights to marry compared to caring, protecting and saving people’s lives. You tell me who has more intelligence? You sir, are unbelievable!

  44. Freethinker

    Fed Up Literally relaying in insults reflects your level of education, intelligence and knowledge in the subject to be able to back up your arguments.
    Perhaps refraining for posting and reading the contribution of the fellow bloggers will improve you quite a bit.

  45. Michael Taylor

    “I cannot believe that this is what you compare me too (sic) and insult me at the same time”.

    This from the person who has insulted just about anyone who writes articles here or comments here. This from the person who has thrown slanderous comments towards gays, Aborigines, refugees, Muslims, the unemployed . . . and many more I haven’t covered.

    You certainly like dishing it out but squeal like a stuck pig when it’s thrown back at you. If you hate being insulted then you’re going to hate this: you’re a vile, disgusting person. You are a complete moron (a term you like throwing around). You appall me. You are pathetic.

  46. Fed Up

    Sadly I feel the same about you too. Why don’t you state that if you disagree with the topics discussed here don’t bother commenting! If you disagree with what we are saying don’t bother commenting! If you have a different opinion don’t bother commenting! That’s you’re mentality! Only comment if you agree with all of us. It’s funny isn’t it, how no one actually comments, except for myself, when they disagree with your comments. Do they get the same treatment as I.

  47. wam

    wow a novel idea: if you don’t want a plebiscite you pay for having it and those churches who want a plebiscite don’t pay for it.

    Helvityni there are 10s of thousands of functionally illiterate unistudents, (even in online courses) collecting government debts whilst supplying millions of dollars to reprehensible bumsonseats vicechancellors,
    If NAPLAN was allowed to do its job, by schools and teachers, many of these students with learning difficulties would have been discovered in primary schools.

  48. Michael Taylor

    Gawd, now I’m being told when I should or should not comment.

    People, say hello to Fed Up. I’m handing over the reigns.

  49. Freethinker

    Bugger, will be another take over by the MSN ?
    Ask to show the money.

  50. helvityni

    wam, when my kids were young I used to buy books for them to give as birthday presents to their friends. One of them asked (politely); Mum could you please buy something else, they are not all that happy with books.

    We did not live in some backwater, but in a suburb mainly full of young professional people.

  51. diannaart

    The week before insight came up with very surprising statistics, 42 % of Oz population does not have adequate literacy skills….?

    Interesting point; literacy skills + critical thinking = a wider understanding of today’s very perplexing world.

    Regarding SBS Insight: I was surprised at the numbers of Hanson supporters and Xenophon fans. Must admit I fell asleep about halfway through (tends to happen to me a great deal). Were there ANY people representing their support for any progressives? While I understand a great deal behind the shift towards Hanson, am only guessing that the X team are former LNP & Labor supporters?


    I still rate books as my favourite gift – both giving and receiving, at least I have not been told to stop giving books, that would be very disheartening, to put it mildly.

    Of course it is easy to blame education, there are many well informed bigots – however, I wonder that such people would be the same irrespective of education.

    I did see a certain naivety among the Hanson supporters – at least they were not all disgruntled ageing white men, just people who were as fed-up with politics as many of us here.

  52. Matt

    helvityni and WAM,’

    Sorry, this is off-topic.

    My kids love books – my wife and I read to them every night, and two of them read back to us. I am not convinced that NAPLAN will solve all our problems (if any) as the main problems are far more systemic than that. As a former teacher I had a student in Year 7 who was clearly having difficulty in class. I requested a reading/eye test for him (he was becoming more and more disruptive and disengaged). Just getting this test organised was a major head-ache, and I only managed to get it pushed through because I was a team leader at the time (a regular teacher would not have had a hope). It turns out he couldn’t see well enough to read, and needed glasses. A simple problem, which no amount of NAPLAN testing would have fixed (but a simple eye check would of) – but this is just one of the systemic problems in our education system – the other is as helvityni raises – learning does not just take place in classrooms, but what happens at home is just as important (and probably more so).


  53. jimhaz

    We need to add in voters time to the costs.

    13,541,131 voters by say 1/2 hour @ $30.00 per hour = $203,116,965

    Sports, weddings etc may need to be rescheduled or abandoned. Add another 50,000,000 in extra time spent and events cancelled.

    There are also other costs to the economy. The time wasted per person on debating an avoidable discussion in the media will have an opportunity cost – if that media research, drafting time and the public’s discussion was employed in other areas then it might lead to economic gain. Lets add $50,000,000 for this aspect.

    I think we could also add in some gay marriage tourism and additional marriages lost opportunity costs – 2 years delay at 50m per annum = $100,000,000.

    Then there are the costs of mental illness that will be the result of any sort of robust debate. Maybe a few hundred religious right wingers will go a bit looney over time if they don’t win after putting their “soul” into the win- it could act as some sort of catalyst that will mean they may need psychiatric support – lets give that $10,000,000. On the LGBTI side the costs will be much higher – lets say 100,000,000 lifetime costs due to avoidable depression or assaults, though it could be a lot more (eg a gay bashing leading to a death may cost the public 5m alone, or a suicide that leads to train delays might cost 10 million in lost workers time).

    So all up the cost to Australia of this pointless political exercise is in excess of 700,000,000.

  54. Freethinker

    Matt, I just wonder how many members of the staff in a school are capable or trained to identifying possible ADHD in children.
    I am sure that this also can be a problem.

  55. Matt


    Have you seen:

    If you have time, I suggest it. My one complaint with it is that Ken presents the ideas of many educational thinkers over decades without acknowledging them at all, but he does present it reasonably well.


  56. Freethinker

    Thank you Matt for the link, it is very interesting.
    I guess that when we talk about ADHD we have to analyze is the reason for that AD it is just because some people learn by doing and other by reading.
    I am one that learn much better by doing.

  57. Matt


    Then I think you have been short-changed – you and many others. Being aware of the problems in education, my own children are doing Montessori (in a public school, with extra resources funded by parents).

    Montessori classrooms have around $30,000 worth of equipment – which is mostly hands on, concrete activities for students to do. They work through these at their own pace, and different students may be at different levels across the range of topics covered. They also have three year levels together and work sometimes individually and sometimes in groups.

    The resources make it make easier for the teacher, who in mainstream would be one of: a) photocopying materials (if allowed a budget for this – often not), b) using the textbook, c) using the whiteboard or – most likely now – d) relying on the use of computers to cope. I think this is a travesty. Rather than spend thousands of dollars on computers, which we want our kids to get away from, and which end up as land fill after 3 years, with then more thousands spent to replace them – why aren’t we investing in Montessori-like activities and resources? These last 10 – 20 years, allow group work and are highly engaging. Mostly – due to the Montessori philosophy – they use natural (recyclable) materials – wood, paper, cardboard. The furniture is wooden by preference. The kids learn from a young age to respect the equipment, and the rooms are very tidy given all the bits and pieces in them. At the end of the day everything is neaty back where it belongs.

    We don’t expect tradespeople to work without appropriate tools, but we send most teachers into classrooms armed with whiteboard and pen and expect them to work miracles. And as of for computers – for the reasons above, I believe they are a massive mis-investment.

    (sorry everyone for hijacking the thread).


  58. Annie B

    Matt …

    Thank you for the information about the Montessori ‘system’ – it sounds like something long overdue, and an excellent way of teaching the young, basics in life to begin with … and allowing each child to progress at their own speed, is fanstastic. … So many young feel as though they ‘must’ compete – and push themselves, ( and are pushed by unthinking parents too ) to achieve that which they are not capable of, inside a tight time frame.

    And I don’t think your comment is hi-jacking anything. … It relates to the subject, through education – both at home, in schools and at tertiary level. …. which should lead to better management and government, better understanding of the world and its’ vagaries, better attitudes towards all other people and ways of life. … It ‘should’ .. but it mostly does not.

    Unfortunately, the push of and for technology these days, is making unthinking, uneducated, drones of us all … Montessori sounds like a way of circumventing that, or at least is a very good start.

    Hope it becomes universal.

  59. Freethinker

    MattAugust 31, 2016 at 11:27 am
    Then I think you have been short-changed – you and many others. Being aware of the problems in education, my own children are doing Montessori (in a public school, with extra resources funded by parents). End of quote,

    Matt this is an interesting topic and perhaps will be good for any of those involved in education to start a new article.
    Regarding being short changed, i have done primary school OS on the beginning 1950’s
    Back then was different to what I see here. We have school only in the morning and full on. maths, geometry, grammar, history, geography, zoology and botany (separated as subjects) and science and artistic drawing.
    I do not think that I have been short-changed compared to what my kids and grand children have been trough here.
    At the first year in high school we not also have an intensive program but we was well aware of international politics and were involved in a students union.
    Try to ask here a first year high school student about domestic and international current affairs.

  60. Anomander

    “Marriage equality is a human rights issue that impacts on a minority of people. To the rest it is a non-issue, something viewed with mild ambivalence. And those who are not gay (roughly 90% of us), should not be asked to adjudicate on it.”

    Bravo John. This sentence alone perfectly encapsulates the very gist of the plebiscite issue, and I could not agree more.

    Who are we to believe we have the right to dictate to anyone else who they may or may not choose to love, and how it is any business of ours.

  61. helvityni

    Annie B, Matt & Freethinker, thank you for your comments, many moons ago hubby attended a Montessori school in Holland, he certainly turned out OK 🙂

    As for us being OT; education relates to just about everything in life….

  62. Matt


    Yes, actually that does sound pretty good (quote: “Back then was different to what I see here. We have school only in the morning and full on. maths, geometry, grammar, history, geography, zoology and botany (separated as subjects) and science and artistic drawing.).

    Actually, in my daughter’s prep Montessori class they have a chart of all the different basic shapes that leaves can come in – with the scientific names. I am not sure that they spend much time on that though.

    Thanks for your support everyone, maybe I will ask Michael if I can publish an article on education and cover this more.


  63. wam

    sorry matt in the case of your helping a student, I think NAPLAN is GRADE 3 AND 5 when parents, teachers, schools could have picked up the disability.
    Our girl was dyslexic and was always in trouble at primary school for spelling but we are strong and the teachers were over ruled in their spelling shame.
    Then at high school she was maths strong but arithmetic weak so again the maths teachers wanted her to take arithmetic not maths???(how stupid she is GOOD at maths and s h i t h o u s e at numbers????) but her mum was principal they were too wary to enforce the ‘downgrade’.
    Now she has a PhD in chemistry and spelling is still lousy but the point is her child now wears glasses and been referred to specialists using NAPLAN results to spark the interest of the teachers.
    Sadly, the purpose of showing individual progress over 3, 5 , 7 and 9 has been highjacked by the private and ambitious public schools to attract students and now this mob want to computer mark to save a few bob. ps every teacher should have to do NAPLAN 9 on entry to uni teaching course.

  64. helvityni

    wam, I’m very interested in your views on education, sorry that I left you of my ‘thank you list’, my excuse being: I had some things, valuable to me, stolen during last night off my front porch…I’m still shaken…

  65. Annie B

    So sorry to hear that helvityni ….

    Leaves a very uncomfortable feeling – an intrusion into your very private life. … Can understand why you feel so shaken.

    Might have been kids, spurring one another on – they seem to do a lot of that. … and have done so for decades. Little blighters. It’s the thought of an adult theft that is so frightening – and that is on the increase, or so it seems these days.


    I hope you do publish an article on the Montessori method of teaching Matt …. firmly believe it is something that should be far more widely known and advocated,

    There is much about it on the net via research – and a good summary of all that would be fantastic for readers here or wherever you choose to publish.


  66. Michael Taylor

    Helvityni, sorry to hear that too. I hate bastards who steal from other people. Little do they know of the heartbreak they can bring. But little do they probably care. Let’s hope that karma comes in to play.

  67. my say

    The PM has to get the guts to give parlament a vote on marriage equality, instead of being ruled by the right wing of his party,
    The public should have no say in telling people who they can love and who they can marry
    This isnt Turnbulls policy it was Abbotts ,and Turnbull agreed to keep his policies so as he could become PM, the right wing are running our country and Turnbull hasn’t the guts to call their bluff

  68. Annie B

    Not wrong with any of that my say

    Agree with every word. … Scary to watch how weak Turnbull is at the head of things. …

    Like a puppet on a string …

  69. helvityni

    Thank you Annie and Michael for your kind words, I’m planning to put a little camera out there; no more thinking it doesn’t happen here, and Annie they were not kids, they took heavy items….

  70. Matt


    Yes, I understand. Sorry, I should clarify – I am not at all against testing (for adults or children) – how else can anyone know where they are really at? But as I mentioned, the trouble is systemic – not with testing per-se. In our system testing will almost inevitable be used for the wrong purposes i.e not for the purposes of helping individuals improve, but for ranking, status, and possibly punishment of those whom others seek to single out (possibly for other political reasons). If we get our schools right, then hopefully testing of teachers who have finished university courses for basics will be unnecessary.

    Very sorry to hear about the theft helvityni. I have found that when people do horrible things to me (which seems to happen with surprising frequency – maybe I move in the wrong circles?) it is easiest to let it go rather than hang on to bad feelings towards them or about what happened – especially when I am powerless to correct it. That is just my approach, but it works well for me.


  71. diannaart


    Stealing has to be among the most childish of antics.

    I know how it feels. Arrived home many years ago to find my front door wide open…. got through that.

    But it is often the petty stuff like stealing pot-plants from around a front door or veranda, that can really rankle… I agree with Matt, theft can leave a big hole in our lives, if we let it.

    Just saying “forget about it” doesn’t work, in order to move on we learn to live on, we can’t change what happened nor change the minds of thieves, but we can change ourselves. Take the time to do so – varies for everyone, it is OK to grieve over possessions as it is other losses in life. Grieving helps us to acknowledge rather than suppress the incident.

    You can feel secure in the knowledge that you are not one of these thieves – they must live wretched lives. You, Helvityni, live a strong, honest life, true to yourself and your compassion for others.

  72. Simon

    Thank you for a great article. I have argued that in relation to the SSM debate there needs to be a discussion on who owns the concept of marriage? As it has been outlined by others, it is essentially a religious concept that the state had taken up. With this in mind the answer is so obvious.

    The state has no right to discriminate (yes I know in reality it still does) against any law abiding citizen and there is also a requirement (although a tenuous one) in our constitution of separation of church and state. Therefore, as it is a religious based concept, the government should legislate to create a new form of “marriage” such as a “Civil Union” or whatever is deemed appropriate. Each religion is free to and its members can be “married” or blessed however they see fit. The state can even recognise, which is essentially what happens now, that any “marriage” performed in a recognised or approved religious organisation automatically qualifies as a “civil union” under Commonwealth/State legislation. However, as far as the state is concerned you are in a “civil union” not a “marriage” but you are free to call it whatever you like to your family and friends. As far a data processing is concerned, the government can amend forms to appease those people with too much free time on their hands to include a tick box for “marriage.” And as this article points out, they are a dying breed so the outcry for such pandering will eventually fade. As far as statistics/data collections are concerned, it really doesn’t matter one iota.

    You know it makes sense. Why is this so hard or have I just answered my own question? Please don’t answer that.

  73. Deanna Jones

    Thanks John, nicely said. The idea of straights being allowed to say whether or not the rest of us should be granted basic human rights is sickening and humiliating. They are unalienable human rights. I also want to point out that this is not just about gay people but all of us in the beautiful rainbow of non-heterosexual diversity. Lesbians, bisexual, trans, intersex and any otherwise queer peoples. Inclusion is very important in this conversation.

  74. diannaart

    “Inclusion” is an endangered species, if not already extinct.

    Those who presume to judge….. maybe time to out the sexual shenanigans of the dominant hetero community?

  75. Annie B

    Simon commented …..

    ” I have argued that in relation to the SSM debate there needs to be a discussion on who owns the concept of marriage? As it has been outlined by others, it is essentially a religious concept that the state had taken up.”

    Well said – and your further comments and suggestions are great – and yes, maybe you did answer your own question !!


    Who indeed owns it, and what exactly IS the concept of marriage. Certainly not for a government to meddle in, dragging in uninterested parties to put ticks in boxes ?? .

    Problem starts and stops with the ‘registration’ of a marriage, as defined by law from a long way back. ,,, The Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages – is labouring under an old law, and cannot move an inch from that.

    It is time that law was changed, and other considerations ( as suggested by Simon ) be incorporated. A Civil Union marriage for instance. Many of those are already taken up – with great variances as to the form of union, overseen by registered marriage ‘celebrants’. … Have attended 11 weddings in the past 7 years, three of which were in a church ( Catholic ) … and the remaining 8 by a marriage celebrant, because they are given the legal right to conduct a marriage … or as defined by online ‘meaning’ of marriage : ” union, alliance, fusion, amalgamation, combination, affiliation, association, connection, coupling, merger, unification”.

    Maybe, just maybe – the word ‘marriage’ should be relegated to the back burner altogether. … To some it is still a sacred event ( ending too often in divorce !! ), but to many others, it is a ‘statement’ of the couples’ wish to be coupled or combined, in the presence of their families and friends. Simple enough.

    One of the problems associated with this, is the current ‘meaning’ of de-facto relationships, as the government sees it. It is open slather to the government ( any government ) to interpret what is and is not a de-facto relationship. Believe me.

    That is the only thing that should be addressed by a parliament on this subject of ‘coupling’ – or ‘union’, but it suits them not to address it, for many obvious reasons.

  76. Annie B

    @ diannaart …

    ” maybe time to out the sexual shenanigans of the dominant hetero community? “

    Absolutely. …

    Too many who care to think about it at all, are still hung up on the ‘idea’ of different forms of sexual encounter between consenting adults. …. it both intrigues and mortifies, many.

    Well – that’s their problem – and the subject should not be brought into the public sphere, through some ultra expensive plebescite – which will NEVER – can NEVER, give anyone at all, the so-called ‘right’ answers.


    Another thought :

    Perhaps, on the application for Marriage Certificate ( which has to be ultimately signed by all and sundry !! ) … they could change the law to give options as to what this Certificate means to the people seeking it … marriage ( for those religiously inclined ), union, civil conducted ceremony, alliance et al … without any reference whatsoever to the genders of the persons seeking it.

    Would save a whole HEAP of trouble and expense. !!

  77. diannaart

    Or, we can discuss the minutiae of straight relationships, just like so many (Bernardi et al) like to presume about LGBIQ people.

    As Annie B stated; what occurs between consenting adults is nobody’s effing business!

    Who ‘owns’ marriage? Adults.

  78. Pingback: End these Schoolboy Antics Now! | THE VIEW FROM MY GARDEN

  79. Florence nee Fedup

    PM promised the plebiscite this year not next with SSM in place by Christmas.

    Do not buy a simple question with majority of the vote nationwide takes months to hold. A election can be called within the month. Brandis was asked prepare legislation in first quarter this year. Was then told to put it on hold.

    The electoral rolls should be up to fate.

    Seems now some want the count to be by electorate. Why would this be so.

    There are no rules or regulations for plebiscites. Could even be postal or held online, as union votes often are.

    No, once again we are being conned by the fanatical right.

    SSM exists now in de facto state. Treated same as de facto marriages today. All that is being asked they be formalised same as hetrosexual marriages.

    This being the case, allowing them to occur can only protect children.

  80. Annie B

    Florence ….

    Unfortunately, this right ( wrong ) wing Liarberal mob, don’t want to protect anybody ~ except themselves.

    Children can go to hell in a basket as far as they are concerned … ( ref. detention centres, recent vile acts in Northern Territory, reduction in education and hospital facilities ~ etc. ). For a while, the NT might have solved a problem, but it will return if the LNP camp has anything to do with it. … Stomping on the less privileged is their forte.

    If mutterings are coming from the Liaberal camp, about ‘a count by electorate’ … then they would be studying the demographics every which way possible, to decide who would be more inclined to tick the box “No” ( to SSM )… than “Yes” … thus taking what they would then term ‘the will of the people’ into Parliament and beyond. … this explains a lot – for those interested. … Read, then see comment # 2, especially. These comments are admittedly, about a year old. But – still valid I believe.

    The entire question has nothing what-so-bloody-ever to do with a pack of rabid politicians, who are leaning on the Australian tax payer for their comfort and rorts … and spouting their inane rhetoric as to why a), b), c) must happen ???

    If anyone thinks anger is being expressed here, at this most recent diversion by this thing called a government ~ you just might be correct. !! 🙁

  81. Fedup literally

    So your saying to protect children they must endorse SSM? If they don’t get the SSM approval more children will be at risk from these people? What the hell does that mean in your view? Says a lot about these homo’s then! What will they be demanding next? lowering the age of consent so all children are fair game for their sickness?

  82. Fedup

    Men and woman own marriages. That’s the way it is meant to be! Sorry to all you people that can’t get your heads around this.

  83. Michael Taylor

    Are you a heterosexual? If you answer ‘yes’ then perhaps I should tar you with the same brush as heterosexuals who have been guilty of molesting young children.

  84. Michael Taylor

    “Men and women own marriages. That’s the way it’s meant to be!”

    Says who?

    As a point of fact, marriage was the way that a man obtained ownership over a woman. The origins of marriage can be found in property law. Hence the reason you have things such as the contract of marriage. A man also therefore became ‘owners’ of the children of that marriage. Hence the reason for many years that divorce was not available to women as they were considered property, ie, chattels. So you could could argue that men own marriage.

    You could also argue that our definition of marriage has also changed.

  85. Fedup

    Marriage is an institution between a man and a women by God’s law and our laws. But honestly Michael, it doesn’t really matter what anyone says does it? Nothing will deter you from your point of view so really, why bother continually hashing up the same old arguments! You believe what you believe and I will continue to believe what I believe. There can be no other argument either side can there? In the end God will be the final adjudicator.

  86. Michael Taylor

    “Why bother hashing up the same old arguments”.

    Please show me where I’ve said that before?

  87. Fedup

    Perhaps not you yourself but all of you who continue to thrash this issue out day in and day out. Nothing changes so why not just wait until the government does or does not do something about it. It really is becoming quite an old story now and I’m sure people are sick to death of hearing the same reasons over and over again about whether or not it is or is not legalised in the upcoming future.

  88. Ordinary Purple

    Fedup so you speak on behalf of God? You are the one who knows His Will? I’ve got news for you, when God wants YOUR opinion He’ll ask for it. God’s law is that you should love all others as you love Him, yet I see no love nor compassion in your heart. I believe that you should consider that your ego is standing between you and God.

  89. Fedup

    This is exactly what I mean. It doesn’t matter what anyone else say does it? Whether it be right or wrong. Because I don’t believe in homosexuality does not mean I am incapable of loving. You sir are a fool. If that is your way of thinking then may God help you. I can’t help you and I doubt if anyone can.

  90. Freethinker

    FedupSeptember 5, 2016 at 9:13 am
    Marriage is an institution between a man and a women by God’s law and our laws.

    That will be your God but not necessary the God of others

    Dave Allen’s thoughts about Adam and Eve

  91. Ordinary Purple

    Fedup, you continuously read meaning into the words of others, meaning that often does not exist. Always on guard against some imaginary attack, you seek to obtain power by attacking others.

    “As long as you are proud you cannot know God. A proud man is always looking down on things and people: and, of course, as long as you are looking down you cannot see something that is above you.” C.S. Lewis

  92. corvus boreus

    I disagree with the view that ‘God’ is a male (‘He’).
    I do not believe that the ‘divine absolute universal creator of all matter and life within infinity’ is gender exclusive (or anthropomorphic).

    I certainly disagree with some of the types of marriage as described in the Bible.

    For the record, I support the basic right of two adult humans who are in an intimate relationship (fully informed and of mutual consent), to enter into a formal agreement of marriage that is recognized by the state.

  93. Fedup

    I am not attacking anybody. More so the other way around. Unless people believe and agree with all of you on SSM and homosexuality then you become an insulting bunch of people who have no compassion and understandings of my beliefs. I’m sorry for all of you who have so little faith in our God and his laws. As for Dave Allen, loved him. Grew up watching his show and yes I remember his punch line at the end of each show. He never wanted to offend anyone. Have a nice life all of you. May God bless you all.

  94. diannaart

    Well said CB

    Love the ‘marriage’ chart, makes SSM, by comparison, sane and equitable.

    … and that’s just the Abrahamic bible, there is a plethora of marriage-types world wide according to religion or whatever suited the most dominant group at the time.

  95. The AIM Network

    I am not attacking anybody. More so the other way around.

    People have been engaging with you with facts. That is hardly an attack.

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