Tag Archives: gay-marriage

Australian #politics – the bad, the bad and the ugly

rip 2016On Saturday, July 1, 2016, Australia voted in a double dissolution election [for House of Representatives and Senate at the same time], but five days later we still don’t know which party will govern.

Nevertheless, we can safely say that Malcolm Turnbull has lost. If the Liberals remain in power, Turnbull may remain as Prime Minister, but his effectiveness will be severely compromised, as will his legacy.

So how did Malcolm Turnbull, one of the most respected and admired politicians in recent history, manage to lose his appeal in such a spectacular fashion?

The answer, I believe, is very simple, Malcolm was not allowed to be Malcolm and voters punished the party for it. To understand this, it’s important to understand the right wing, conservative, faceless, faction heavy weights of the Liberal party. They :

  1. loved Tony Abbott,
  2. hated Malcolm Turnbull [they still do]
  3. had to acknowledge that Tony Abbott was almost universally hated by voters,
  4. had to acknowledge that Malcolm Turnbull was liked and respected by voters on both sides of the Liberal/Labor divide

[confession: I liked him too and I’m a Labor voter],

Taking points 3 and 4 into consideration, it eventually became obvious that the party would suffer a landslide loss if Abbott stayed as Prime Minister. Worse still, only the hated Malcolm Turnbull would have any traction with voters. So after much gnashing of teeth, the conservatives gave in and offered Turnbull a deal: they would support his coup against Tony Abbott, but only if he [Turnbull] continued to toe the party line established by Abbott.

In hindsight, this seems rather crazy until you consider that the right wing has never had any time for Climate Change, or marriage equality or even that pesky NBN. So they were prepared to use the Turnbull popularity with the electorate but without all that small ‘l’ liberal nonsense.

What is less clear is why Malcolm Turnbull and his supporters accepted such a backhanded and hamstrung endorsement.

My personal guess is that Turnbull et al., must have seen the writing on the wall and grabbed what they could, believing [probably accurately] that he would never have a better chance of becoming Prime Minister.

So Malcolm and the conservatives struck a deal and for a while, the strategy appeared to work. Liberal popularity in the polls went up as Malcolm rode a wave of public hope.

We believed in Malcolm. Wasn’t he the man who lost the leadership of the Liberal party because he stuck to his principles on climate change? What greater sacrifice could a politician make? And wasn’t he also the man who openly supported gay marriage? And in a way, despite selling out on the full glory of the NBN, he at least managed to stop Abbott from scuttling it completely.

So Malcolm was our hero, and we believed that finally we would get a government that most of the country could swing behind. He might be a Liberal, but he was a good Liberal. Maybe even another Menzies [arguably the ‘best’ Prime Minister in Australia’s political history].

But then the winds of change began to blow a little cold. Week followed week and nothing we’d hoped for eventuated. Nothing on Climate Change. Nothing on marriage equality. Nothing on Refugees. Nothing on anything that any of us plebs actually cared about. What was going on?

In time, some of us began to think that Malcolm was playing a long game. Yes, he was under the conservative thumb now, but after the next election he’d be so successful that the conservatives would have to crawl back into their holes and finally, finally Malcolm could be himself.

I truly believe this was a part of the PM’s strategy when he called a double dissolution on an issue that no one seemed to care about, including him.

The trouble with this strategy was that Malcolm’s popularity declined in direct proportion to the release of policy after policy that favoured the big end of town while asking us to accept all the sacrifices required to balance the budget [at some point in the future].

Australians pride themselves on giving everyone a ‘fair go’, and we’ll happily dig deep to help those laid low by disaster [witness the 30 plus million dollars raised by public donations after the Black Saturday bushfires here in Victoria]. But Australians also have a history of distrusting the super rich and the big end of town. If the Liberals had offered genuine support to small business, we might well have tightened our belts and got on with it, but they offered incentives to companies and corporations that did not need the help. And they were going to pay for it by making us do without.

That major miscalculation was rooted in the conservative concept of the ‘trickle down’ effect. In essence, it means that if government supports big business, big business will generate growth which will lead to jobs which will lead to greater prosperity for all.

Sadly, most people in the Western world have now had first hand experience of the trickle down effect and they know it doesn’t work. So when Malcolm and the rest of the Liberals bleated about jobs and growth, we weren’t listening. Added to this disinterest was a great disappointment – we’d had such high hopes for Malcolm and he hadn’t lived up to our expectations. Malcolm wasn’t Malcolm. Had he changed his mind about all the things we thought he cared about? Or had he sold us out just to be PM?

I think we might still have voted for Malcolm if not for the brilliant campaign run by Bill Shorten. I personally dislike the man and can’t see myself trusting someone who stabbed two Labor Prime Ministers in the back in order to be given the job of opposition leader. Nevertheless, despite all expectations to the contrary, Bill Shorten ran an inspired campaign. He picked up on all the disenchantment of ordinary voters – including their fears for Medicare – and hammered them home.

In the final analysis, however, Shorten’s campaign would not have been as effective if the right wing conservatives had allowed Malcolm to be Malcolm. Instead, they muzzled the goose that might have laid their golden egg, and now they’re spinning all sorts of ‘reasons’ to explain its failure to deliver.

I feel sorry for Malcolm Turnbull because I can understand his desperation to finally wear the mantle of PM. But the truth is, when he sold out to the conservative right, he lost the perceived integrity that made him popular in the first place, and with that, he lost the very thing he wanted most – validation.

In my last post I talked about the disaffection of Western voters, and how this might lead to a change in how we ‘do’ democracy but in the meantime, we are protesting about the lack of integrity of our politicians in the only way we can – by kicking them out. This, too, is democracy.

cheers

Meeks

 


Katy Faust in Australia, 2015

Firstly a very quick bio:

Katy Faust is the daughter of a lesbian couple and the owner of a website called ‘askthebigot.com’. When asked, she says she is against gay marriage because of the effect it would have on the children of such marriages. She is currently in Australia thanks to the ABC.

If you saw the Tony Jones’ interview with Katy Faust recently, you might remember the bit where he asks her why she ‘came out’ [originally, ‘askthebigot.com’ was anonymous]. Apparently the reason was because a gay blogger had discovered her identity and ‘outed’ her.

I have reblogged the post from that gay blogger in its entirety:

My Sincere Apologies to the People of Australia for Inflicting Katy Faust Upon You

 

tellthem

It’s not every day that one gets blamed on national television for subjecting an entire country to veiled bigotry. Apparently the reason Mrs. Faust got on an aeroplane and flew to the other end of the world to continue promoting bigotry was that I outed her identity (not that she makes money off of it.) Otherwise, of course, she’d only be promoting bigotry from the privacy of her Seattle home, her husband’s church or the nearest Starbucks.

There are a few things the people of Australia should be asking themselves about her, the first of which is who paid her airfare? Despite Katy’s softly-softly approach where she pretends to be a sweet and slightly naive housewife, her business project has always been to use homophobia for profit. You have to keep in mind that people don’t buy a domain name called Askthebigot.com, engage an editor and write clickbait articles because they’ve got a bit of free time between dropping the children off at school and marinating chicken for lunch.

Faust is actually an astute businesswoman. According to the bio she gave epicquestmedia she studied Asian Studies and Political Science at St. Olaf College and received a Fulbright to study in Taiwan. That belies the notion that she would be capable of making such simplistic and illogical statements unless there’s something more to the story.

The fraud Mrs. Faust is promoting in Australia today is one where she conflates the issues of gay marriage and gay parenting in a rather absurd manner. Mrs. Faust herself was born to a lesbian mother long before the lgbt community considered marriage would ever become a legal possibility.

The vast majority of gay parents are in fact unmarried lesbians with children from previous heterosexual relationships, children just like Katy Faust herself . The link is to a Spanish study, but the figures seem to reflect those in other countries as well. Same-sex marriage legislation has been approved in various countries including Spain, Holland and Belgium, and there has been no significant rise in the number of lgbt families with children.

That means the existence of these families is entirely independent to their legal status as families. So Faust’s argument is dead in the water.

Where gay marriage is relevant to the children of members of the LGBT community is simply that they would afford those pre-existing families a number of rights and protections, including financial/legal protections in the case of separation and divorce. Access to the children, visitation, child-support and so forth.

hatepieSo if her propositions don’t actually protect children, the inexistence of gay marriage certainly didn’t affect her own childhood story– then we’re back to the money angle. Homophobia is big business in America.  In 2010 NOM raised US$9,197,742. In the first year of its creation NOM paid its leaders, Brian Brown and Maggie Gallagher, 14% of its budget. Now NOM pays Brown a salary of over $150,000 per year, and all he has to do is hate gay people and promote anti-gay propaganda. Fabulous job! Faust and her cohorts, Rivka Edelman, Robert Oscar Lopez, Janna Anderson and others want a piece of that ugly-hate-pie.

Little by little they’ve been raising their public profiles. Faust with her website, Lopez with amateur videos, Darnelle-Anderson with articlesand all of them together with a number of amicus briefs. They’ve realized filing briefs with various courts creates the false impression of legitimacy and seriousness. In fact the ink was still wet on Mrs. Faust’s brief and her pastor husband was already calling her an expert on the issue:

“My wife is an expert on this. I know what the Bible says, but from a logic / experience standpoint she is the expert. She has written an “amicus brief” for the upcoming Supreme Court Case on gay marriage next week.”

Let me just clarify that “An amicus curiae (literally, friend of the court; plural, amici curiae) is someone who is not a party to a case and offers information that bears on the case, but who has not been solicited by any of the parties to assist a court.”

If you dislike the colour purple you can submit an amicus brief in any case where the colour purple is the subject of the suit. Maybe purple stole your candy, maybe purple dumped you. You could even be colour-blind, it doesn’t matter. Your argument doesn’t have to have any merit whatsoever, you just need to have an opinion/experience related to the suit. If Faust is an expert on something, it’s in promoting and endorsing vile stereotypes that have long been dismissed by mainstream science and civilized society at large.

Hopefully Australia and its people will see through the scam. Hopefully you will join Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, the United States and Uruguay in saying no to bigotry and saying no to Faust and the anti-gay-for-pay crowd.

And just in case it was not blindingly obvious, I agree with every word. I can only hope that the ABC embraced Ms Faust in the hope of stirring up a nice little controversy, not in ignorance.

cheers

Meeks


The Irish Referendum and Panti

There are a lot of Irish people in Australia. They are part of our heritage, and today I salute them and their forebears. The Yes, Equality campaign has been truly spectacular, especially considering that Ireland is a largely Catholic country. However it was the speech given by Panti, a famous Irish Drag Queen that put the success of the campaign into true perspective.

Please. Watch this video. It’s smart, it’s funny [in spots], and it will make you check yourself.

My thanks to Mr. Merveilleux for introducing me to Panti, and my thanks to Panti for changing how I see the world.

Have a happy Sunday,

Meeks

 


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