A few weeks ago, Bill Shorten was proposing a private member’s bill on the legalisation of gay marriage. I thought that it was smart politics. Throw up something like this and wedge the Liberals between those stuck in the middle of last century and those who haven’t quite made it past the nineteenth.
Of course, Tony Abbott had the answer:
“If our Parliament were to make a big decision on a matter such as this, I want it to be owned by the Parliament, and not by any particular party.”
Well, that put a stop to Shorten. I had to agree with our honourable PM that it would be better if this was a matter that went beyond the petty Parliamentary point-scoring where poliiticians are expected to do all they can to make the other side look bad.
You know the sort of thing. In Victoria yesterday, there was a disturbance at the remand centre with prisoners allegedly rioting because of a smoking ban to be introduced today. The Liberal Opposition Leader blamed the Andrews Government who were elected last year, saying that they’d mishandled the situation. Of course, I don’t remember the Liberals suggesting that riots or disturbances in detention centres were their fault when they were in government. Yes, the difference is obvious, while detention centres are full of people who’ve attempted to enter Australia illegally and therefore have no respect for our laws, jails are full of the sort of people who donate to the Liberal Party.
But moving back to gay marriage – which Senator Abetz assures me that you’re not interested in, so I thought I’d better talk about something else just to keep you reading – I’ve now had to reconsider my position again.
Apparently, while it shouldn’t be owned by any political party, a spokesman for Mr Abbott reminded us last night that it was “rare” for a private member bill to be voted on.
So now I have to reconsider my position yet again, because it seems as though Parliament is not the place to discuss this. As the Government Whip, Andrew Nikolic, reminded us this is “a poor attempt by someone to generate momentum on an issue where there is none”.
Well, all you people changing your profiles on Facebook because of the US Supreme Court’s decision need to realise that you’ve been fooled – by someone (Nikolic wasn’t specific about who that is, but it’s clearly only one person) – into thinking that there’s some momentum on this issue, take a good hard look at yourself. Nikolic will decide what has momentum and the circumstances under which it comes to Australia.
And Senator Abetz, aka “The Black Knight”, assures us all that it’s just a flesh wound and that the debate on gay marriage is far from over, and if he his way, it shouldn’t even be started because, well, there are more important things like security and jobs and the economy and security and jobs and attempting to chew gum while walking at the same time and jobs and did I mention security, and there’s no reason to think that people want this and no we shouldn’t have a referendum because people don’t want one, and it’s just the media pushing it.
Bloody media, but remember, Betzy, Malcolm Turnbull assured us just a few days ago that – ABC excluded – the media have a right to be as opinionated as they like.
If you missed Senator Abetz’s wonderful performance on the ABC, don’t look it up. Just trust me, it answered all the questions I had and meant that I’ve realised that the Liberals went to the last election with a clear policy on gay marriage and Tony Abbott’s suggestion that a “conscience vote” might be looked at, wasn’t a promise, just a simple statement because, well, the party room can look at anything.
As for the US Supreme Court decision, Abetz reminded us that it’s not a democratic institution by quoting one of the dissenting judges: “Such decisions should not be made by unelected judges, but by the people”, which is very similar to the Liberal policy on the stripping of citizenship, the Arts, and just about everything. And as the duly elected representatives of the people, it’s the Liberal Party who should make all the decisions. While the judge Senator Abetz quoted was outvoted by the other judges, she still sees the rule of the majority as the important thing in a democracy. As does Senator Abetz, in spite of the fact that he chooses to quote from the judge who was outvoted.
You see, we should leave it to the people. But we don’t need a referendum on it, because people don’t want one! How does Eric know? Well, when people approach him in shopping centres, it’s not men asking if he’d like to marry them, it’s people telling him what a great job the government are doing on security and jobs. And stopping the boats. Nobody ever mentions gay marriage to him, so therefore the opinion polls are wrong and it’s all just a media beat-up like the republic, which nobody wanted either.
Besides, Australia doesn’t need to do what everyone else is doing. When we introduced that Carbon Price, weren’t we going alone and ignoring the rest of the world… Ok, that may not be the best example given we’ve scrapped it and the rest of the world seems to be doing more. But Austria voted down gay marriage, we don’t hear about that in the media, do we? And we should do what Austria does because people confuse us with them anyway. Similarly, we should also do what Asia does, according to Eric Abetz, because this is being called the Asian Century and people can’t have it both ways. If we’re going to follow Asian when it comes to human rights and working conditions, then we need to follow them with regard to same sex marriage too because we need the sort of consistency that the Abbott government demonstrates.
So after listening to Tony and Eric, my final understanding of the position I should have is this:
- Gay marriage legislation does not belong to any political party.
- Gay marriage legislation does not belong to private members.
- Gay marriage legislation does not belong to the public.
- Gay marriage legislation does not belong to a group of judges.
- Gay marriage legislation does not belong to anyone and therefore we can’t make a decision on it.