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Labor: Witch Hunts One Week; Protection Rackets The Next!

Remember way back on November 3rd when Labor were responsible for an un-Australian witch hunt. I know this because Malcolm’s Merry Men kept insisting that it was.

No need to look into things; nothing to see here, but a week’s a long time in politics, because suddenly it’s no longer a witch hunt to suggest referring MPs to the High Court. No, no, indeedy! Labor MPs should resign immediately Because they were lawbreakers. In fact, by even suggesting that Labor MPs who – in spite of applying to Britain to have their citizenship rights revoked – didn’t have this confirmed by the Brits till after the close of nominations, we’re entitled to sit Parliament, Bill Shorten was running a “protection racket”,

However, speaking of rackets, one has to wonder whether the government has a plan up their sleeve for that ex-tennis player – who must have never travelled on a British passport – or whether they’re simply incapable of putting two and two together. Actually, that’s asking a lot for this government. Change that to “capable of putting one and one together”. As I pointed out the other day, Labor MPs who tried to reject their British citizenship didn’t get confirmation for nearly two months. Nominations for the Bennelong by-election – John Alexander’s seat – close on November 23rd. Is the government planning to ask Britain to expedite the process? It’s not a good look to argue these people shouldn’t be in Parliament because they didn’t get their forms back, but John Alexander should because we helped him and we can do that because we’re the government and we’re the adults, so there.

Now let’s look at what may happen from here:

  1. By-election doesn’t return Alexander. Turnbull government is now a minority government.
  2. By-election returns Alexander who hadn’t received confirmation from Britain by the close of nominations. Liberals have referred Labor MPs in the same boat to the High Court. If the High Court finds them ineligible then John Alexander will also be ineligible and the poor people of Bennelong will have to face another by-election. If the High Court rules in their favour, then the government looks petty and nasty for referring them.
  3. By-election returns Alexander who has received confirmation much faster than everyone else at which point questions are asked. The Liberals admit they intervened to speed it up, leading to accusations of them believing it’s one rule for them and another for everyone else, or else they deny it and nobody believes them.
  4. Turnbull hears that there are moves afoot to replace him as leader so he goes to the Governor-General and says let’s just clear the air here by having a general election and John Alexander doesn’t even have to face a by-election. The good people of New England, however, must be called upon to re-elect Barnaby Joyce for the third time in two years. Turnbull does this because he believes that he’s a great campaigner and much more impressive than Bill Shorten and when he wins the election that’ll put all those disloyal bastards in their place. He also knows that – in the unlikely event that a sycophant like Bill Shorten is elected by a populace swayed by Labor lies – at least he’s stopped all those bastards who undermined him from taking over his rightful role as Prime Minister.

And, lest we forget…

Whoops, sorry about that. I don’t want to be run out of the country like Yassmin. Using the phrase, “lest we forget” in any other context apart from talking about all those diggers who went and fought the Turks to preserve our freedom of speech is unforgivable.

Let’s not forget, the new problem for Turnbull will be a “Yes” in the marriage equality survey. Of course, a “Yes” result isn’t guaranteed. Some of the “No” campaigners are still expecting a surprise result in the form of a bolt of lightning, a plague of toads or Jesus appearing and turning the votes from “Yes” into “No” before doing an encore and turning water rights into bottles of Grange.

So, assuming that it’s a “Yes” vote, we now have to consider what we’ll do about protecting not just the rights of religious people to refuse rites, but also the right to refuse service to people on the grounds that they don’t like what they’re doing. But only in relation to marriage. You won’t, for example, be able to ask a man buying flowers, “Are these for your wife or girlfriend, because if they’re for a bloke, you can piss right off?” This would be far too restrictive because sometimes women buy flowers for other women even if they’re not planning any sort of hanky-panky, and can you imagine if you have to insist that the Danish pastry you’re buying is definitely for yourself and not some lover of the same sex? Before you know it, shops all over Australia would have forms to fill out where people are declaring the intended destination of the goods and services they’re purchasing, just so religious people would be able to boycott shops that sold to anyone that didn’t meet their standards.

Now, I know some of you are thinking that all this talk of religious freedom is just a delaying tactic, but just let me point out that it was only back in 2015 that the idea of referendum was first proposed and we’ve had a change of Prime Minister since then, so there hasn’t really been time to work out the details of what we’d do if there actually was a “yes” result in the vote. I mean, it was only two years ago. That’s hardly enough time to think about all the people who may be affected.

I guess the fairest thing to do would be to simply press ahead and introduce the legislation allowing marriage equality and we could have a referendum or survey about what rights to discriminate will Australians allow. I guess some would wonder: “Why should religious people have to wait till someone else decides, when they need to discriminate now?”, but I say that they should just be patient because, with a big change like this, we really need to get it right!


28 comments

  1. Kaye Lee

    Nominations for New England closed on November 9. It would be interesting to see the date on the letter confirming Barnaby Joyce’s renunciation presuming he has one.

    Likewise John Alexander who only found out a couple of days ago.

    Justine Keay completed a form renouncing her UK citizenship on May 9 last year. Ms Keay said the form was delivered to the UK Home Office on May 23 and they formally receipted it on May 31, nine days before nominations for the election closed on June 9. She did not actually receive confirmation her citizenship had been renounced until July 11.

    Re Susan Lamb….

    “On 23 May 2016 I took all necessary steps to renounce by completing and sending the UK Home Office Form RN, “Declaration of Renunciation of British Citizenship”, and paying the requisite fee.

    “Australia Post confirmed the Renunciation form was received by the UK Home Office in Liverpool on 25 May 2016.

    “I was subsequently cleared to stand by the Labor Party, and nominated on 7 June 2016.”

    “In Sykes v Cleary, the High Court of Australia stated that a candidate would not be disqualified under section 44(i) providing they had taken “reasonable steps” to renounce any foreign citizenship prior to nominating for election.”

    If the government goes after Keay and Lamb then they better be very careful about the dates on actual letters for Joyce and Alexander.

  2. Rossleigh

    Yes, Kaye Lee, that’s rather interesting. I wonder if anyone else has thought of that.
    😀

  3. Möbius Ecko

    Definitely not the media, who should be all over this. Maybe, The Guardian, Fairfax, Crikey, ABC should be informed.

  4. Kronomex

    Malcolm and the LNP are just pissed off that they were caught with their citizenships down and like the petulant spiteful teenagers they are have to take it out on someone else.

    In the case of Alexander I’m leaning towards point 3 and there is no way Trembles will call an election (point 4), he’s too much of a coward

  5. Rossleigh

    Apparently Joyce has provided evidence. Maybe New Zealand moves faster than Britain.

  6. Kaye Lee

    Documents reveal the declaration to renounce was done by Mr Joyce on Saturday August 12 and witnessed by New Zealand High Commissioner to Australia Christopher Seed. Mr Joyce received verbal confirmation he was all Australian before the official paperwork was received late afternoon on August 15.

    And they say it was wrong of Labor to involve the NZ government in asking questions. What other citizen could achieve all of that on a Saturday and receive confirmation in three days.

    I rang Bill Shorten’s office re Alexander if they go after Lamb and Keay and the person I spoke to said “good point, we hadn’t thought of that. I’ll pass it on.” What’s the bet Alexander’s renunciation gets fast-tracked like Barnaby’s.

  7. Glenn Barry

    @ Kaye Lee – On 7:30 last night – George Brandis was squealing that the two Labor MP’s mentioned were still dual citizens at the time the writs were issued for the previous federal election.

    As it seems pretty much everyone that’s done any reading on this whatsoever knows the ineligibility is predicated upon the time of nomination, which opens 10 days after the writs were issued, for a period of minimum 10 days and not more then 27 days.

    Yet amazingly nether Stan Grant nor anyone in the production/control room on 7:30 knew or had the gumption to challenge Brandis on his false assertions.
    Poor old Georgie then spent the rest of the interview hiccuping as he does when he’s lying…

    The John Alexander situation will definitely expose the Gubmints poorly advised tactics and lack of judgement yet again

  8. Kaye Lee

    Yes…the “at time of nomination” is, or may be, significant.

    When did/will Alexander officially nominate?

  9. Jaquix

    Glenn Barry I too am amazed that ABC reporters and presenters are just not up with the play – plus theyre wedded to the idea of a list of pre=prepared questions. Emma Alberici is a notable exception. She will chase an answer every which way she can, before moving on.

  10. Jaquix

    Alexander was given his timetable and script by Turnbull, Im absolutely convinced of it. Did you hear him talking about “I believe” etc, trying to convince the High Court in adviance! along the lines of Malcolm Roberts. Mal was wanting to spin it out as long as possible so he didnt have 2 MPs missing, Barnabys byelection on 2 December, now Bennelong on 16 December. But, bad news for Trumble & Alexander. Labor just announced Kristine Keneally as their candidate in Bennelong! So the 10% margin held by the bumbling Mr Alexander may well disappear into thin air. That would give Labor 70 seats, the Libs back to 74 on the floor. Not such a comfortable Christmas Dinner after all for Truffles.

  11. diannaart

    The good people of New England, however, must be called upon to re-elect Barnaby Joyce for the third time in two years.

    Wouldn’t this qualify for “cruel and unusual punishment” should it come to pass?

    There is only so much pain anyone can take.

  12. helvityni

    Yes, Jaxuix,Emma is as persistent as my JR, the others are pussycats…

    I like Kristina, a pretty plucky politician, I wish her all the luck.

    I’m surprised that there are still some folk out there, who’d prefer Mal to Bill, by now its obvious even McMahon and Tones would be better than our today’s PM…as for PD, scary…the scariest….

  13. Glenn Barry

    I’m a big fan of Emma Alberici also, and I will include Leigh Sales when she isn’t obviously strapped down and under instructions like she was last week with Barnyard Beetroot

    I am still undecided about Stan Grant – my general impression thus far is that he is not quick enough on his feet and overly content to follow the script

  14. Möbius Ecko

    Sorry, Leigh Sales is mostly a right wing hack. Any skin deep scrutiny of her interviews over the last few years reveals she is far easier on Coalition MPs and right wing interviewees than she is on those from Labor and the left.

    Yes, she has conducted the rare hard interview of a senior Liberal or National, but that’s nothing compared to the harsh and often unfair treatment she gives to Labor or the Greens.

  15. Kaye Lee

    I agree about Stan Grant. He has a list of questions to ask and in no way reacts to answers.

  16. helvityni

    Here I’m with you, Möbius Ecko, few years ago a teenage son of a friend sat with us to watch 7.30. That lady looks rather mean, was his comment….. No doubt it was a Labor politician she was interviewing at the time…
    Treat them all equally , that’s what Sara Ferguson used to do, when she run the show

  17. helvityni

    Stan Grant is no worse than Leigh, I’m so pleased to see a black face on their ABC. I prefer watching SBS News any time, it’s all colour over there… ABC has Fernandez(?) only as a relief, yet he’s better than most…

  18. Frank Smith

    What’s the betting that Mal has commissioned Fishnets Downer to do some partisan fancy footwork with the UK Home Office on Alexander’s behalf so, unlike the Labor candidates being demonised, Alexander won’t need to wait 6 weeks for his citzenship to be revoked before he can nominate. Kristina is lucky (and prudent) in having that critical piece of paper from the USA as I suspect Joe Hockey would be too slow on his feet if he had to be called upon to assist Ms Keneally.

  19. Glenn Barry

    I’m going to have to re-assess my opinion of Leigh Sales with an open mind, I have seen her give LNP members a difficult time, but they are somewhat distant memories unfortunately

  20. JohnI

    “The good people of New England, however, must be called upon to re-elect Barnaby Joyce for the third time in two years.”

    Actually, it’s only the second time in less than eighteen months. And I guess that makes me one of the horrible people of New England, ‘cos I’ll be preferencing him 17th of 17.

    (Yes, there are seventeen candidates. Almost enough for an Aussie Rules team – and all bar one of them possess the all-important Y chromosome needed for participation in blokey pursuits like politics and frotbrawl.)

  21. Rossleigh

    The third time would be if Turnbull calls a general election any time in the next little while…

  22. diannaart

    Rossleigh

    That’s what I figured.

    🙂

  23. Terry2

    helvityni

    Not to overlook the talented and intelligent Fauziah Ibrahim on ABC TV (and ABC RN Sunday Extra)

  24. Terry2

    Crikey published a Q&A on James Paterson’s alternative SSM legislation. This is just one of the questions that may have been bothering people :

    Q: Ross is a Catholic priest who strongly believes that same-sex marriage is a violation of civilisational norms. Everyone in his community knows this and so no same-sex couples ever ask him to perform their wedding ceremony. Ross resents not having the chance to turn down their requests: does he have any legal recourse?

    A: Yes, under the terms of the bill, Ross can make an official complaint to the Anti-Discrimination Commission and have the gays in his neighbourhood investigated for anti-Christian bigotry.

    See Crikey for the rest.

  25. Florence nee Fedup

    Has the British ever rejected an application made to renounce citizenship? I suspect not. Alexander is saying he has been told renouncing citizenship can be done quickly. I wonder who told him that.

  26. Jeanette

    Excellent article. How pathetic and ridiculous all these objections are. In the first instance money talks all language and any business that rejects requests by gay couples are either really stupid or already making too much money. There will be no choice but to accept the Yes vote, if not this government will not only get hammered at the next election but may see themselves becoming a minority party heading for extinction not only for this instance but for the pathetic circus that it is and has been since Turnbull bought his job. I predict a boom for the wedding industry with all and sundry rubbing their hands with glee. Since the decline in hetrosexual couples marrying preferring to put those wedding dollars into a bank account for other priorities and being content to simply live in a partnership, the slack will be picked up by gay couples. Having had associations with both gay men and women in work and socially, my experience is that with celebrations no expense is spared. My belief is that money talks and bullshit walks. All this posturing about who is an acceptable customer is will simply evaporate when the new wedding boom hits town. Religions have always had the ruling that they can reject to marry couples if they do not fit into their specified rules. A Jew marrying a Christian would probably have to have 2 cermonies to conform, a non RC would probably be pressured to convert, children would have to be baptised RC. Anglicans and RC cannot be married if one is divorced, a few examples.

  27. Hettie Lynch

    There is also the possibility, remote as it seems, that the Home Office may decline to expedite JA’s renunciation, on the grounds that he is a private citizen. Besides, if Downer were to get involved, that is clearly undue influence.
    It seems that the Libs have no candidate B, and even if they do, have they checked their citizenship status. Almost certainly not.
    So they may face the Bennelong by election without a candidate.
    How delicious.

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