The Coalition government has three major problems – one is effective communication, the second is setting appropriate priorities and the third and most important is ignorance of science, including evidence, proof and scientific method!
For over 200 years the rights of our First Nations were ignored under the Terra Nullius doctrine, despite their being grudgingly granted the right to vote in national elections in the 1960s.
In 2015, a Referendum Council was established jointly by the then Prime Minister – Malcolm Turnbull – and the then Leader of the Opposition – Bill Shorten – with the brief to examine inclusion of the Aboriginal and Islander peoples in the Constitution.
In 2017, Aboriginal and Islander people from all over Australia presented to the Coalition government the Uluru Statement from the Heart – which was immediately brushed aside by the Prime Minister on the unfounded pretext that it was asking for a third chamber of Parliament.
No further action has been taken on the issue, which many see as totally inappropriate given the general agreement that Constitutional recognition was a matter of urgency.
Now, despite Australia having been originally established as a colony of Great Britain, under the Crown, who is the Head of the Church of England, those responsible for drafting the Constitution, noting many aspects of the USA Constitution, made the deliberate choice to include s116 of the Constitution in Chapter V – The States.
It was an interesting decision, based on the fact that the existing States were ceding many of their powers to the Commonwealth Government, and, at the time of Federation, many of the States would have regarded themselves as Christian and were left free to choose, without dictation from the Federal Parliament.
In general, throughout Australia, people are free to practice their preferred religions and governments are secular.
So – what is the problem?
Acceptance – in many cases reluctantly – that the age-old abhorrence of homosexuality was ill-founded, and that sexuality in a rainbow set of varieties is determined before birth, Parliament decided to agree to amend the Marriage Act (ill-advisedly made more exclusive by John Howard in less enlightened times) to enable same sex marriage.
Sadly, one of the drawbacks of many religions is that their faithful rely on ancient religious tomes to guide their behaviours, totally ignoring the fact that knowledge is not fixed in time, translations are imperfect* and much of what people knew 2000 years ago has been proved to be incomplete or inaccurate knowledge.
Just think of the technical knowledge which we take for granted nowadays which, if mentioned even 600 years ago would have led to the unwary speaker being burnt at the stake or stoned to death! Just think – Galileo!
Even before the national plebiscite on same-sex marriage was held, polling indicated a majority of people were in favour. A majority of those in opposition would have generally been holding on to ancient prejudices based on ignorance of the nature of sexuality, instilled and supported by their religious ‘beliefs’.
I am honestly struggling to come to grips with the idea that we should support people who believe in something which is patently untrue! Surely, we should help them to accept reality.
We can mostly accept someone’s belief in the existence of a god – which I do not share – because, being supernatural, it can be neither proved nor disproved. I could understand a citizen in 1680 refusing to believe that it could be possible for a man to fly in some sort of machine – despite Leonardo da Vinci having designed one sometime earlier.
I can also see that early civilisations needed to develop rules for a community to live in harmony – and, to this day, the ethics which were reportedly preached by Jesus Christ are an admirable foundation for a harmonious community.
However, because prejudice against members of the LGBTIQ community continues, we have become aware of the damage to the mental health of young people who are being pilloried for being ‘different’. Fortunately, sporting bodies are continually developing policies to support inclusion and ignore difference and requires club members to support their policy – which is endorsed by sponsors.
So now we come to priorities.
It is clearly a myth that the Australian government is secular, just as it is a myth that they want to include proper recognition of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in the Australian Constitution!
If it were not so, then two things would happen
- They would ignore their own religious preferences and prejudices, accept that human sexuality is determined before birth, tell the faithful that their prejudices are based on out-of-date knowledge and to grow up and stop hurting vulnerable children. And, in any case, the Constitution says they can practice their religion but the anti-discrimination law should encourage them to not discriminate against others on grounds of sexuality;
- They would accept that what the Uluru Statement asks for is NOT a third Chamber and get on with the long-overdue job of implementing the requests in that statement!
In relation to point 1 – and the total refusal of the government to take urgently needed action to stop and reverse climate change/global warming/the climate emergency plus their prejudices indicate clearly that:
THIS GOVERNMENT REFUSES TO BELIEVE SCIENTISTS AND WE ARE SUFFERING IN CONSEQUENCE!
*In discussing translations of the Bible, Matthew Vines indicates that the sort of same sex union which was referred to as unacceptable in the Bible was in fact pederasty or paedophilia, mistranslated, however, as homosexuality.
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