There’s a story about King O’Malley – spread by O”Malley himself – that he created the Waterlily Rockbound Church—the Redskin Church of the Cayuse Nation and that he was the first and only bishop.
Ok, I realise that many of you won’t have heard of King O’Malley because he wasn’t an actual King; he was simply a politician from a century ago. He was an American who emigrated to Australia and became an eccentric figure in Australian politics and not simply because he didn’t believe in drinking. Apart from opposing Australian involvement in World War One, helping select Canberra as the site for Parliament and taking the “u” out of the Labor Party, he was one of the main drivers behind the Commonwealth Bank. I also realise that some of you may be unaware that once upon a time the Commonwealth Bank was owned by the government because it was thought that it was a good idea to have some government involvement in the sector in order to encourage the other banks to behave in a civlised manner… But that was back in the days when you actually had to make a case for or against an idea and simply saying “It’s rank socialism” or “Gina doesn’t like it” wasn’t enough to make people stop thinking about the topic. Anyway, in arguing against allowing Churches to be tax-exempt, O’Malley reportedly told people that – while in the USA – he started the Waterlily Rockbound Church in order to avoid tax and that there allowing religious organisations to be free from income tax opened the avoidance door for people whose only sacred belief was that they didn’t believe in paying taxes. While it’s a convincing argument on one level, it doesn’t take into account that big companies these days manage to avoid tax by having their religious headquarters in places like the Cayman Islands.
Of course, it’s not religous organisations I want to focus on. If the Anglican Church doesn’t pay tax and it wants to spend a million dollars to oppose marriage equality, what business is that of anyone else? Charities, on the other hand, need to have their spending on advocacy limited if they’re to maintain their tax-free status. New guidelines have been issued because the Federal Government doesn’t want charities sticking their nose into government policy, but religious organisations need special legislation to ensure religious freedom because… well, it’s obvious, isn’t it? And if it’s not obvious then there’d be no point explaining it to you because you’d be one of those people who don’t understand the need for religious freedom in all things except for Sharia law which is different because… well, it’s obvious, isn’t it? And if it’s not obvious…
I’m sure that there’s no inconsistency here and I’d be quite sure that any member of the current Coalition would be able to explain it with all the clarity of the recently merit-based UK High Commission appointment, George Brandis, when he explained that women should be promoted to Cabinet on merit, but National Party members needed to be selected according to a quota system because… well, it’s obvious, isn’t it? It’s geography. Having quotas on gender denies the best person getting the job on merit, but not having quotas based on geography denies people from certain areas from getting the number of people in the ministry consistent with the number of people elected from that area so merit doesn’t come into it.
You see, it’s not just a case of there needing to be a certain number of Nationals in the ministry. You need to have them from the areas where the Nationals have been elected, so you can’t have two from Victoria, you need to have a certain number from Queensland. This is not a quota apparently, this is just geography.
So a minister like Victorian Darren Chester, who’s generally regarded as competent at the very least and described as “outstanding” by the PM, has to make way for Queenslander David Littleproud who has a rather impressive list of achievements in his Wikipedia entry:
David Kelly Littleproud (born 4 September 1976) is an Australian politician. He is the Minister for Agriculture and member for Maranoa in the Australian House of Representatives. He is a member of the Liberal National Party of Queensland and succeeded the previous member, Bruce Scott, at the 2016 federal election.
In December 2017, Littleproud was one of only four members of the House of Representatives to vote against the Marriage Amendment (Definition and Religious Freedoms) Bill 2017 legalising same-sex marriage in Australia.
As you can see, the best is yet to come for the man and I’m sure he’ll be able to shrug of the “little” and be “very proud” by the time he’s finished as Agriculture and Water Minister, because I’m sure that he’ll be able to add something such as Minister for Water when the whole Murray Darling scheme broke down and that should almost double his Wikipedia page. I mean, you can see why quotas for women would stop someone who can list such achievements as having a father who was a state government minister and voting against marriage equality, from being given a thoroughly merit-based elevation to the ministry.
Yes, no doubt about it. There’s a consistency running through this government.