Friday, April 29, 2005

More Dilby

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As you may have guessed, I'm very much the brunette, non-Alice character.

Good bile!


(OK - And I know as soon as I type this I'm jinxing myself - but it would appear that QP is past its sickness. Thanks for all the advice and assistance, especially from my flatmate).

Can we agree that from now on all male judges (except perhaps Kirby J) should not be allowed to oversee any case that involves in any way women, sexual assault and/or mini-skirts?

Picture this: Exposed and raw, sitting in a cold court room after going through the nightmare of reporting your rape and the subsequent interviews (interrogations?), photographing, swabs and daily reminders your attack, the judge falls asleep and snores as you are testifying. The victim feels "destroyed and humiliated". Of course she would. Hearing a judge snoring would make you question the entire experience, and wonder if perhaps you're being unreasonable in testifying that you've been raped, as though this is a boring and frivolous waste of the court's time? Quite unimaginable.

In the same week, a Federal Magistrate rules that a Sydney gaming room attendant has no right to complain about an employer asking her to wear a short skirt at work, because she wears them socially. By that logic, a leather daddy who works at my company (and this is by no means a stretch of the hypothetical imagination) could reasonably insist I, a recent convert to leather fetish (did I mention the HYPOTHETICAL?) be required only to wear chaps and a chain dog leed in my daily editorial work, because he saw me out one night at Menacle's in such attire. Granted, this might make NSW uniform civil procedure a little more interesting, but it doesn't resolve the issue of how chilly I'd feel. If male gaming room attendants are allowed to wear shirts, vest, long pants etc and not have to resort to sleeveless numbers to arouse the female and gay boy punters, there should be no expectation that female attendants must do likewise.

Both these cases are but further examples in a long line of male judges getting it so incredibly wrong when it comes to rape or female sexuality. In SA years ago, there was Justice Bollen who notoriously claimed that, in a marital rape case, "rougher than usual" handling was acceptable and implied that rape could not in fact occur within a marriage. In Victoria, there was Justice "No Means Yes" Bland. Just when we think the misogynist old dinosaurs have finally fallen off the bench, another case comes along to remind us why so many women are reluctant to introduce their rape cases into the legal system and become victims of a new type of assault.

Justice Snoresalot should not be allowed to preside over any future rape cases. What is up with the NSW Judicial Commission claiming that his snoring is no evidence of his "unresponsiveness"? Wtf?! Yes, because I sure have my most profound, engaging and receptive two-way conversations with people in comas. Something's very rotten in the state of NSW.

Thursday, April 28, 2005


QP is sick :-( By which I mean the site, not its author. I do all my penguinations from work as my home computer is a pasty old hag on a death bed, but now for some reason the site keeps freezing/crashing everytime I try to access it from here. I know it's not a blogspot thing coz all the other blogspotters at my work are having no dramas, but no-one is able to access QP from the work network without the same thing happening to their computers.

So I'm going to have to give QP a miss until I can figure out what to do (I'm not so keen to tell the IT support team the problem as it's not entirely work related).

Any advice from wise bloggers and computer nerds/geeks/sexpots alike will be muchly appreciated.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005


Is any other blogspotter having major issues with their site? QP is freezing up everytime I go to it. Until it (hopefully) gets better I think I'll keep postings to a minimum as I don't care for waiting 10 minutes at a time when I want to add a full stop.

Anyways, tomorrow's SX column.


In Seattle, Washington last week, the Microsoft Corporation came under fire from gay rights groups, politicians and its own employees for withdrawing support for a state Bill that would have banned discrimination against gays and lesbians in housing, employment and insurance. This seemed an unusual step for the global corporate giant that has long prided itself on progressive employment practices, being one of the first to provide domestic partner benefits and include sexual orientation in its own anti-discrimination policies.

If nothing else, a software company taking good care of its gay employees makes good strategic sense – certainly, the most efficient computer geeks I know are almost always gay boys. The reason for retreating from support of this particular Bill, however, is a murky, he said/they said situation. Anti-gay pastor Ken Hutcherson, with whom Microsoft officials recently met and who has a number of Microsoft employees in his congregation, is taking credit for forcing the company to back down, claiming: “I told them I was going to give them something to be afraid of Christians about” (can’t you just feel the sweet Jesus love here?). The CEO of Microsoft, Steve Ballmer, was quick to email all his employees, assuring them the company withdrew support for this particular legislation as they decided instead to prioritise other legislative reforms “that are more directly related to our business such as computer privacy, education, and competitiveness”. In his surprisingly philosophical email, he posed important questions such as: “When should a public company take a position on a broader social issue, and when should it not? What message does the company taking a position send to its employees who have strongly-held beliefs on the opposite side of the issue?”

I believe the answer is quite simple. Microsoft, like any private business, has an obligation to its shareholders and to maximise its profits. Involvement in legislating for same-sex couple rights may appear too abstract for Microsoft to become involved with. However, if Ballmer is truly sincere in his claim that Microsoft “is a company that values diversity”, by definition it has an obligation not to withdraw support for this Bill. As with any legislative reform that benefits same-sex couples, the ultimate consequence is that two people of the same sex living in a married or de facto-like relationship receive the same rights and entitlements as their heterosexual equivalents. Contrary to common far-right religious propaganda, parity for same-sex couples is not a threat to “The Family”; it does not weaken society and it does not bring about Armageddon. If queer people can respect the rights of religious folk to pray as they wish, sing at Hillsong or install political puppets into parliament, why can’t they respect our right to get on with our lives and organise our relationships as we wish and to which we as taxpayers and law-abiding citizens are fully entitled?

Perhaps this is a case of the “tyranny of the majority” in operation. Now, more than ever, the enemies of queer sexuality are winning their battle against us because realistically they have far greater numbers and are adept at political mobilising and lobbying. Microsoft most likely withdraw support for this Bill not because of one extremist, but because since George W Bush’s 2004 re-election 19 states have banned same-sex marriages, with more to follow. The current political climate in both the US and Australia dictate that any kind of support for same-sex couples is utterly uncool.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Magnificent Maria

I've got a mental list of women I find so hot/sexy/funny/cute/ all of the above that they could potentially convert me briefly to the Dark Side in one drunken evening of degeneracy.

Beyonce Knowles
Angelina Jolie
Angela Bishop*
Susan Sarandon
Emma Caulfield (Anya from Buffy)
Jill Hennessy
Julie Christie (umm, 35 years ago) name a few.

(*not really.)

After Friday night, I now add Maria Bamford.

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This woman is hilariously loopy and so adorable I just want to pop her on a piece of toast and eat her up.

I saw her on Rove for a 2-minute bit and was instantly in awe. Then I caught her Friday night for a one-hour stint at the SOH Studio and cannot remember the last time I laughed so hard. Maria has a very distinctive and somewhat silly natural voice, so the bulk of her routine is her switching into impersonations, but not necessarily of famous people. Voices she did ranged from her mother to her sleazy boss to a talking pocket-sized rabbit. You know these people right away, even if you've never met them.

I hope this is the start of belated superstardom for the 34-year-old. Not since Rita Rudner have I found a female comedian so simultaneously beautiful and funny. Keep an eye out for Maria.

Maria on music: I am very suggestible. Anything I hear 3 times usually becomes a "hit" to me. I find myself- against my will- humming tunes that I am morally opposed to- like - for example- "Hakuna Matada" from the Lion King.

Hee hee.

Quarter-life crisis

Totally lame, I know. 25 is not old in realito world. Many years ahead for my life to actually evolve into the way I want it to be rather than the planning for something else better to happen.

But sometimes it's easy to feel old.

Like "thin" and "gay thin", or "beautiful" and "gay beautiful", "young" and "gay young" can often be miles apart. This was re-inforced on Sunday night when I went along to Queer Nation along with my flatmate and posse of boy club buddies. Our median age would be I think 25 or 26. We have all been out since quite young ages and are probably a bit more jaded and cynical than many of our homo and hetero contemporaries (I would imagine the fact we were all at some point involved in student politics contributed substantially to this too). This was my first QN and I had been given enough notice about all the terribly beautiful shirtless schoolboys who would make up the bulk of the crowd, and likely walk by our little posse with looks of either contempt, pity or reverence ("Wow! It's so amazing to see the self-funded retirees still making it out past supper time at the home. They're so cute with their pink zimmer frames!") Thankfully, the bulk of the schoolboys must have been on a different excursion somewhere that night as the age range was mercifully wide.

A good night was had - concluding with three very trashed men chilling out in front of the definitive 1980s camp movie that is "9 to 5" before bedtime - but more than once did I wonder if perhaps I might just be a little too old for this shit. How many more years will I be sweating at overcrowded orgies posing as dance parties, putting my soul and flesh on the market to potential buyers even though I know I'm likely to be returned to the shop the following afternoon? Do I really want to commence the 6-time-a-week gym routine to mould myself into the 30yo+ muscle marys with receeding hairlines who can still maintain credibility and potentially pull said teenagers with their pendulous pectorals, electrolysis and snake tattoos?

By October next year, I will have officially been out for 10 years. I'm not sure I have much to show for this. No doubt I have changed enormously since then, as indeed have my family, friends, priorities, values, politics and taste in men, but I'm trying to remember if I ever asked myself at 16 where I'd like to be at 26, and if so would 16yo Sam be pleased with 26yo Sam or would he be bitterly disappointed?

I know these days there are all sorts of precedents for getting away with being young and "wild" (not that, in the grand scheme of things, going to gay dance parties is massively wild) right up until 40 until it looks silly. Kylie is still a pocket-sized garage mechanic at 37, the Sex and the City women were allowed to be single and fabulous in their mid 30s right up until the final season where they were each paired off with a bloke, effectively contradicting the entire moral of the show, and my now 42-year-old ex of a few weeks has more drive, vitality and sex appeal in him than most guys of my age I know. 40 is the new 30, and at this rate 30 will be the new 20 by the time I reach that age. But this doesn't stop me from sometimes feeling apprehensive. I was never taught how to be 25 at school or university and why the hell is it that turning from 24 to 25 feels so much more extreme than when I went from 23 to 24? Why is it when I hear about the "youth-obsessed culture" I find myself sympathising with the "old farts" I once used to condemn for misperceiving the world in this light?

Ironic. The one thing I regret about my youth (or let's call it "youth youth", to be perfectly clear) was that I spent too many years being a precocious little princess focusing on how much older and wiser I was for my age and therefore outside of the "stupid" gay Adelaide microcosm in which I played out so many years of my life. It was only when I moved to Sydney that I realised the problem wasn't that I was old (and that I certainly wasn't older or wiser than most people - blogging is also very eye-opening for this), but that constantly going to the same nightclub at least once every two weeks, dancing to the same music with the same people, carrying on the same pointless conversations and creating the same unnecessary dramas for myself instead of - fuck! just having a good time, you pretentious little shit - was ageing me psychologically. It's definitely better now - I don't go clubbing anywhere near as regularly as I used to and I've discovered dinner parties, Eurotrash-themed house parties, weekend retreats and other civil joys of the 20-somethings. I'm about to finally leave the country and, I predict, develop a nasty travel bug and I no longer feel the urgent need to be with someone just for the sake of being with someone. All good stuff.

But sometimes, the schoolboys get to me. Someone should put bigger padlocks on the school gates.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Blessed Be My Aunt BC

Thanks (and other things later :-P) to Stu for drawing attention to today's defensive piece by ABC Managing Director Russell Balding. Aunty has indeed not lost the plot, and as Stu points out, "it's incredible to see a managing director of the ABC actually sticking up for the ABC."

Don't think Tell-Us-About-It-Janet would be so charitable.

Have a great long weekend everybody. May your debauchery be not filmed.

Hate Women? Moi?

Finally, I've had a letter in SX critical of one of my columns. I've had the odd complimentary letter so this was a bit of a deal for me.

From Gail Hewison @ The Feminist Bookshop, Lilyfield:

Your columnist Queer Penguin is correct in everything he says about the injustice and homophobia in the recent jailing of two gay men in Fiji.

However his denigration of Schapelle Corby in the same article is unfair and bordering on misogynous, describing her as a "former Gold Coast beauty student who cries a lot on camera" and "who claims she has been set up". Queer Penguin insinuates that she is deliberately using her beauty and sexuality to gain favours.

She is, in fact, a young Australian woman, probably set-up, who faces the death penalty from a court only too happy to make an example of her. The Australian Government has been very much on the back foot in supporting her, and has only recently taken an interest in her case. Initially she was left to sink or swim.

Lack of support by the Australian Govt both for Schapelle Corby and Thomas McKoskar has been disgraceful, but predictable. Hopefully in a short time both will have been cleared and released. But in the meantime I think they both deserve all the support possible from members of the GLBTI community.

A fair bit to respond to here. Firstly, I am no misogynist. Homo men who hate women are about as appealing and likeable as gonorrhea. My mum brought me up to respect and value women under the quite reasonable threat of catapultation. However, I take Ms Hewison's point that I may have gone too far about Corby.

Look, I'll be honest: I believe Schapelle Corby is guilty. I have absolutely nothing to back up my position other than a hunch and her likely conviction (which I realise is by no means a guarantee), and if anyone would like to provide a concise argument outlining why she's likely not guilty - other than the "reality" that young women are often targetted and set up for drug trafficking in Asian airports - then please feel free to do so. Ultimately, it's a they said, she said situation.

I certainly don't believe she should be executed - I don't support capital punishment in any situation - and if she is wrongly sentenced to life imprisonment she is at least alive while evidence can be produced to shown she's innocent and could therefore be released. Putting her before a firing squad would somewhat limit this avenue.

But I referred to her crying in front of the camera because, like her "fainting" in court, I think it's for show. I believe she's crying not because she's innocent but because she got caught. Again, I realise this is only a theory, please don't think I'm being gratuitously heartless or cruel.

McKoskar, by comparison, is by definition guilty of the "crime" of homosexuality in Fiji. I've pretty much exhausted all I want to say about this case in previous posts, but I stand by my original conclusion that something is wrong when our government prioritises diplomatic aid to overseas Australians based not on the injustice of their situation or the legal ambiguity on which they are convicted, but on the physical appeal and/or sexuality of the Australian in question and whether or not they have behind them the force of the commercial media and a million "Save Schapelle" petitions circulating in cyberspace.

I had an interesting chat with my flatmate last night about whether or not McKoskar should have been aware that homosexuality is a crime in Fiji which comes with a possible 14-year sentence. Certainly, both he and I, as politically aware gay men who at least know the countries where homosexuality is punishable by death, did not know it was so great a crime in Fiji. It's a bit of an "reasonable person" test and I realise it doesn't really apply in these sorts of foreign law transgressions, but it's definitely clear that, unlike Bali airport has with drugs, to my knowledge there are not lots of big signs warning that "homosexuality is a crime!" when you first arrive in Fiji.

Corby could not have missed these warnings - and where probably 8/10 people in Australia would know that drug trafficking in Indonesia is punishable by death, maybe 2 or 3/10 would know for certain that homosexuality is a crime in Fiji - so if she is guilty, then she's really not so much an innocent victim as a very stupid person. And stupidity crosses all genders.

This is a sitution where I would honestly like to be proved wrong - that Corby is innocent and definitive evidence is found to show this and that she is released.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Pope I Don't Give a Shit XIXVXXXXQ5Z

In protest I'm not going to do an extensive piece on the election of the new homophobic misogynist Inquisitor - I mean head of the Catholic Church. Way, way too much unfounded and unnecessary media and blogging attention has already been focused on the appointment of a man even whose brother believes is "too old for the job". If nothing else, we can rest assured the old bloke won't be around for too long to do too much damage.

His certain past indiscretions did get me wondering, however, given my recent posting: Should NSW Young Liberals be re-named Hitler Youth?

Just a thought.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Same Shit, Different Name

(Sorry kids, the overwhelming joy and excitement of uniform civil procedure at my work is making proper queer penguinations very difficult. Here's my SX column. Chookas.)

"It would appear John Howard – finally – is starting to smell not so fresh to voters. Three significant lies after his election victory – on interest rates, deployment of additional troops and the Medicare safety net – and his personal satisfaction rating has dropped to 49 per cent (which, though admittedly nothing to sneeze at, is his lowest in eight months).

"Should this trend continue, the number-crunchers in Peter Costello’s camp may soon be agitating for a Liberal leadership, and therefore prime ministerial change. Recently, there has been speculation as to whether or not the plight of queer people would be any better under Costello than Howard, or whether we would have to endure continued denial of our relationships and rights as overseen by Australia’s single most narrow-mindedly conservative PM in living memory. Sydney Morning Herald journalist Margo Kingston claims: “Costello would not move further to discriminate against gays and he would draw the line there. The thing with Howard is that he wants to go further.” This comes less than a year after Julie McCrossin surprisingly, and I believe very optimistically, predicted that same-sex marriage would one day be made legal by a Peter Costello-led Liberal party.

"A plot to destabilise Howard’s leadership has perhaps already begun. Only this year did Attorney-General Philip Ruddock, architect of the same-sex marriage ban, have the unnerving gall to offer a message of support in the Mardi Gras Season Guide, after 8 years of Howard continually refusing to do likewise. This could be an indication of once-moderate Liberals like Ruddock undermining Howard and re-aligning themselves to the “progressive” future of the party.

"But is Costello really as “small-l” Liberal as he is marketed? In contrast to Howard, he is a baby-boomer, a republican and he once danced the Macarena with Kerri-Anne Kennerly on morning television – a sure sign of liberalism if ever there was one. In 2004, however, he also aligned himself with far-right, anti-queer evangelical organisations like Hillsong church and its political affiliate, Family First, claiming he played for twelve hours straight the Hillsong CD he was given in 2002. Whether this move is indicative of his personal beliefs and character or merely shrewd political strategy is unknown, but we cannot easily dismiss his background, with his own brother, Rev Tim Costello, claiming that Peter’s fundamental view of the world is informed by his evangelical Baptist upbringing. Costello speaks often of “freedoms” and maximising individuals’ choices, but supports, at least ostensibly, legislation that denies queer people the freedom to choose marriage.

"Even if Costello were truly able to separate his religious convictions from his political vision, Howard’s stranglehold on the Liberal party cannot be overstated. Many of the new post-2004 election Liberal MPs were socially conservative, some even Bible-bashers, and Howard’s desire to be succeeded by the greatest religious hypocrite of all, Tony Abbott, will not be easily swept aside.

"I don’t believe things could get any worse for queer people under Peter Costello – anybody would be an improvement on our current PM after all. But I also don’t believe Costello is our saviour."

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Guns for Jesus

For any New South Welshpeople not yet concerned about the RRR (refresher: Rancid Religious Right)'s takeover of the state's Liberal party, or for those who are under the false impression that factional brawling and branch-stacking are only by-products of the ALP, check this out - hard-right Catholic freaks are now flashing hardware to intimidate people in their own party.

This is part of an ongoing assault by the new-wave neocons on what was once, relatively speaking, a more moderate branch of the Liberal party. This is not the first incident of violence filtering into the Libs' internal machine - there was the wild factional brawl at Punchbowl last year that broke out after hard-right baby and new Young Libs president Alex Hawke gained permission to set up a branch in Bankstown as part of a plot to bring down moderate upper house Lib MP John Ryan.

Behind this is the dangerous Bible-bashing MLC David Clarke, who crashed into parliament in 2003 tying his maiden speech to the debate that was then happening on the Bill to equalise age of consent laws in NSW. Some of his more disturbing pulpit preachings include sycophantic praise for Fred Nile, informing us that "family" is a "God-given institution" (funny, I don't remember having to get a stamp from him when I was born into my family) and fear-mongering that "children raised in homosexual households are more likely to experience gender and sexual disorders".

Ordinarily, such a raving, hate-filled hypocrite could be dismissed - after all, most mainstream political parties have their token bashers. What's scary, however, is that Hawke - the YL president - is this man's protege. This sort of homophobia is part of the future direction of the NSW Libs, not just its past. I don't particularly like John Brodgen but to his credit he's been, again relatively speaking, a fairly consistent moderate on important issues (eg he supported the equalised age of consent) and at times actually appears more centre/left by comparison to Bob Carr and some of his posse. He's precisely the sort of man the neocons want to bring down internally, and how better to do this than bring along guns to the odd local party meeting to freak out similarly moderate Libs?

For more on the evils of the RRR, see Terry Lane's prediction of its rise as Australia once again emulates the US. Marion Maddox's God Under Howard is on my bedside table waiting to be read, second in the queue immediately behind The Corrections (I know, I know, TC is like so 2001). Lane asks:

When Peter Costello and John Howard turn up at Pentecostalist "prosperity" churches, apparently endorsing the new version of the Gospels that proclaims that God makes the good rich, are they attending as true believers or are they cynically appealing to a new constituency?

Cynical voter manipulation by the Libs? I won't hear of it.

Friday, April 15, 2005

And If Pain Persists...

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...Run in fear.

Summer Holiday Prepamarations

Today I booked my London accommodation (Piccadilly Backpackers, so glam) as well as my London-Barcelona flight.

Checking out the Tube network map really illustrated just how many London cliches I have to get in in only 3 days. I have to take the train to...Shepherd's Bush? Holland Park, sweetie, Holland Park! and maybe get in a spot of lunch in Knightsbridge at the Harrod's food halls (Ab fab), go shopping at Harvey Nick's before having a pizza at Leicester Square (League of Gentlemen), see if London Bridge really is falling down, get assaulted by pigeons at Trafalgar Sqaure, climb over Notting Hill Gate and buy cheapo electrical goods on Tottenham Court Road (only found out about that one today).

Romantic Barcelonan hotels (*winks at a particular honorary Canadian*) aren't quite the bargains I arbitrarily assumed they would be. Annoying to come across a website that proports to offer noice hotels for under 100 euros a night, only to put in your required dates (start of the peak holiday period in my case) and see those prices vanish quicker than an Aussie reality TV show knock-off.

Nevertheless, onwards budget-travelling soldier...

More Teleovision

Lots of politics on QP lately - and there's gonna be some more as I speculate on the fate of queers under a hypothetical Costello government - so to break up the monotony a bit, here's a couple of TV tidbits.

Multiple Emmy-award winning African-American actor Alfre Woodard is moving into Wisteria Lane to provide some much-needed colour contrast in Desperate Housewives.

Woodard is a wonderful character actor whom I've seen turn in excellent performances in otherwise average or mediocre films like Grand Canyon, How to Make an American Quilt, Primal Fear, What's Cooking? and The Core. Her best role was in John Sayles' Passion Fish, where she more than held her own against Mary McDonnell playing a personal nurse with a past.

Woodard claims she'll be playing a seemingly "ordinary" housewife (which, to quote Kaz Cooke, means by DH standards she'll be playing a "woman who weighs more than a capsicum"), but you know they'll be some bizarre undercurrent to her character. Personally, I would have cast Angela Bassett in this role as she is a fine (not to mention drop-dead sexy) actor whose career is overdue for a shot in the arm, but I'm sure Woodard won't be any less effective.

Meanwhile, Neighbours is gearing up for its 20th anniversay memory-lane orgy, which apparently will involve a "documentary" interviewing past "residents" of Ramsay Street.

Former residents confirmed to return to Erinsborough include Annalise Hartman (Kimberley Davies), Doug Willis (Terence Donovan), Marlene Kratz (Moya O'Sullivan), Sarah Beaumont (Nicola Charles), all the Kennedy kids, Danny Ramsay (David Clencie, who has not been on the show since 1986!) and - fresh from his recent stint as Michael Chamberlain - Craig McLachlan as Henry Ramsay. Annie Jones is also appearing as Jane Harris, meaning they've got 2 of the original Neighbours Famous Five (I guess they're still "in negotiation" for Jason Donovan, Guy Pearce and Kyles).

Add to this the recent return of Paul Robinson (who was never as evil as he is now when he was first on the show), Lucy Robinson and the actress who played Harold's ill-fated daughter Kerry (playing, naturally, a woman applying for a job at Harold's store and almost giving him a heart attack when she first appears) and it really is an indulgence of sentimentality. But hey, I've watched the show since I was 7 so I don't mind.

The best rumour I heard was that they were in discussion with Alan Dale, currently playing the bad-guy patriarch in The OC, to make a return appearance as Jim Robinson. This might not seem unusual bar for the fact that Jim died in 1993 after a massive heart attack (ie the writers killed him off when he asked for a pay rise). So how was he going to re-appear? How else - as a ghost seen or dreamed by his son Paul.

Champagne camp Aussie soap.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Australia's Inaction Not Just Morally Repugnant, Also Legally Negligent

I hope the fabulous weez doesn't mind me quoting him at length (or indeed having a mincing homo refer to him as fabulous :P).

He's made this point in comments to one of my earlier posts, but this revelation of the unconstitutionality of the Fiji ruling is tremendously important and puts a whole new spin on this appalling travesty of justice. Consequently I believe it deserves a posting all of its own.

"Fiji revised its constitution in 1998. The new constitution of Fiji, effective July 1998, recognises the right not to be discriminated against on the grounds of sexual orientation:

"Text of the Constitution of the Fiji Islands (Ratified July 27, 1998)

Chapter 4--Bill of Rights: Section 38, 1 and 2:

(1) Every person has the right to equality before the law.

(2) A person must not be unfairly discriminated against, directly or indirectly, on the ground of his or her:
(a) actual or supposed personal characteristics or circumstances, including race, ethnic origin, colour, place of origin, gender, sexual orientation (my emphasis), birth, primary language, economic status, age or disability; or
(b) opinions or beliefs, except to the extent that those opinions or beliefs involve harm to others or the diminution of the rights or freedoms of others; or on any other ground prohibited by this Constitution.

"Fiji was only the second country in the world to recognise such a right- and it has been challenged by homophobes in Fijian politics.

Several attempts have been made to remove the 'sexual orientation' clause form the constitution- none successful.

Indeed, Mr. McCoskar was tried and convicted under a law which had been invalidated under the sexual orientation anti-discrimination protections of the 1998 constitution.

Magistrate Shah has some explaining to do."

Not nearly as much explaining as Lord Downer/DFA, who either knew about this and knowingly lied (Howard government, lying to its people??! *Shock*) when claiming Australians should respect Fiji's "laws", or didn't know about this, in which case they might want to think about employing less incompetent international law specialists.

After all, if humble bloggers can discover and explain this illegality, you'd like to think your own government can, too.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

This Just In: Fijian High Court Now Doing Australia's Foreign Affairs Department's Job For Them!

Good news is that, in the case of the Australian man jailed in Fiji for consensual sex with another man, a Suva-based barrister has stepped in to appeal the ruling and, sure enough, both men have been bailed by a single High Court judge "on the basis that the prospect of an acquittal is good and that the laws under which the two men were gaoled have been condemned by the UN Human Rights Committee in a 1994 case about similar laws which then prevailed in the Australian state of Tasmania".

Extracted from my next SX column:

"While none of (our government's) members will lift a finger to assist McCoskar (the Australian tourist in question), they’re falling all over themselves to try and save Australian alleged drug smuggler, Schapelle Corby, from execution by the Indonesian government should she be found guilty. Justice Minister Chris Ellison claims quite hyperbolically that (his government) 'goes into overdrive in making representations to avoid (the death penalty) being carried out'.

"Essentially, this demonstrates that our government believes in working hard to protect its citizens from potential death penalties overseas. It doesn’t believe, however, that a sentence of up to 14 years for an act of consensual sex between two adults is so unreasonable and extreme that it needs to step in and challenge the laws of Fiji as it is doing with the laws of Indonesia.

"Why is it that the United Nations and Fiji’s own High Court can recognise and reject blatant, inexcusable discrimination against queer people, but our government cannot?

"Is the moral of these contrasting situations that the Howard government prioritises diplomatic intervention with its citizens, not according to the clear injustice and extremity of other countries’ laws, but according to the gender, sexuality and photographicness of the law-breakers in question? Are we to believe that a former Gold Coast beauty student who cries a lot on camera only need claim she has been set-up to have the force of an entire government unite behind her, while we queers who dare to have private, consensual sex with our partners abroad must wait for assistance from everybody other than our own government?"

The inaction of the Howard government notwithstanding, this ruling is a vindication for queers everywhere and a demonstration that while our government might condone homophobia, oppression and violation of fundamental human rights, many other countries and foreign bodies do not.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Love and (State) Marriage

I must admit I didn't see this coming - gays getting married under Tasmanian law.

Is this a genuine possibility? Theoretically, yes. Sydney Uni constitutional law expert Prof George Williams is saying that, because the Libs' Marriage Amendment Act last year defined marriage in federal law solely as between a man and a woman, state laws permitting gay marriage would no longer overlap with federal laws and thus not be unconstitutional. Effectively there would be two pieces of parallel legislation. The Greens, who yesterday introduced the gay marriage bill into Tasmanian parliament, are already (and somewhat smugly) identifying this as "an extreme irony" on John Howard's part.

Times like this you can understand why the Howard government is so desperate to do away with federalism and dismantle the states. If those pesky commos aren't giving them a headache over the GST, they're allowing homo degenerates to piss on sacred institutions and subvert the sanctity of the family.*

(*Irony, people. Irony.)

I'm sure the responses to this latest "social engineering" (I wonder if they'll start offering that as a Bachelor's course at uni sometime soon?) will be boringly predictable.

Coalition/Family First/Murdoch media/Right columnists: Make-Your-Own-Rant from mixing and matching the following cliches:

undermining the family unit

oppression by vocal minority interest groups, imposition of unhealthy choice of lifestyle

marriage as only between one man and one woman has existed since before the universe

the homos already have their precious little rights and protections under state law. they don't need any more

this will set a dangerous precedent for all those wicked polygamy/beastiality/E-type Jaguar marriage advocates to present their case too

The Libs are striking pre-emptively, claiming they have legal advice proving a Tasmanian same-sex marriage law would be unconstitutional. As always they waste no time.

Labor: "We love the homosexuals. I mean look, we've got Tanya Plibersek and Penny Wong now, what more do you want? We just don't think you should be allowed to marry, you disgusting godless criminals, so back the fuck off."

Perhaps, more eloquently, they'll pat themselves on the back for the relationships registration scheme they got up and running down in Tasmania and claim their work is done.

Churches: Not bound by the Bill to perform same-sex wedding ceremonies but I'm sure they'll have a whinge about it anyway.

So, pragmatically, gay marriage in Australia will still remain a pipe dream, with talk the Bill may not even reach parliamentary committee stage.

Essentially - and I don't like saying this, but it's true - this is another example of Greens legislative grand-standing, introducing a Bill that's lovely in principle but one they must know has little if any chance of succeeding. It's reminiscent of Michael Organ's similarly futile attempt to legislate same-sex couple equality in federal law at the same time as the gay marriage ban was first floated. But if they are sincere in their belief that, if nothing else at least, the Tasmanian Bill may re-spark the debate that Howard quashed on this issue, then I suppose it's worth a shot.

I've already made clear on QP my thoughts on homo marriage. Though I'm not a big advocate of marriage for myself, I am a firm believer in choice, and in allowing same-sex couples the choice of marriage as a means of validating their love and commitment (*note to self: get and keep a boyfriend for longer than 2 months so that the possibility of a Big Fat QueerPenguin Wedding is actually feasible).

Check out the adventures of these lovely boys Luke and Matt and then tell me gay marriage is evil, subversive or contrary to nature. It's not going to bring about the end of civilisation, unless the Netherlands, Belgium, Canada and Massachussetts all had simultaneous locust showers that I didn't read about. But I don't hold my breath for gay marriages happening in Australia for at least another decade.

Guess this will save me a fortune in Bamix, Bodum and Le Creuset wedding gifts...

Monday, April 11, 2005

Could He Be?

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...The most beautiful man in the world?


Plain to see, he's the reason that God made a boy...

On Friday I finally stopped being the only male homosexual in the world who hadn't yet seen "Bad Education". What a doozy. The contemporary, queer Spanish take on classic film noir. The opening, "zippy" credits, combined with the Bernard Herrmann-esque violin chords, immediately reminded me of Psycho, and there were indeed a few subtle similarities stylistically and thematically with that and other Hitchcock.

Gael played the equivalent of a femme fatale, and Almodovar sure knew how to film him so as to take any man or woman's breath away. Even when he first appeared in drag as "Zahara", my friend leaned over to me and said: "he looks better than Julia Roberts!" Not entirely untrue, either. No one man should be allowed to be so incredibly beautiful, sexy and talented.

The scarring of Franco-era Catholic education on children is clearly illustrated without being bombastic and the three-tiered storyline, while occasionally at times confusing, keeps the narrative moving with little time to become bored.

This film has a lot without feeling like it has too much. My inner Margaret gives it 4.5 stars, my inner David 4. To Gael Garcia I give my phone numbers, access to my savings account and permission to proceed at will.

Divine Non-Intervention

So in Fiji, two men, including one Australian, are jailed for consensual sex, with the Fijian judge claiming such consensual sex are acts "so disgusting that it would make any decent man vomit". I'm not entirely sure there is a legal precedent for such a reasoned finding, but let's leave that for a moment.

How does our government respond? Pretty piss-weakly, no surprise, saying they will not appeal to the Fijian government to release the men and that "when Australians are overseas, they need to respect the laws of the country they are in."

And yet, such respect for other countries' laws will apparently be not such an imperative should Schapelle Corby be convicted of drug trafficking by an Indonesian court, with our Justice Minister assuring us that "(the Howard government goes) into overdrive in making representations to avoid (the death penalty) being carried out." Overdrive. Vroom vroom.

So obviously the lesson here, dear Aussie, is that you may expect your government to work its little tush off to protect your legal interests overseas only if you are a former Gold Coast beauty student who cries a lot on camera. The rest of you butt-fuckers and carpet-munchers can fry.


I know asking the questions these days, "Does the Howard government know no shame? Are there any depths to which it won't plummet?" is pretty much redundant, but seriously, undermining the independence of the Reserve Bank and drawing it into its web of lies for the sake of garnering votes?

Interest rates rise in part because of a $66b pre-election spending/bribe orgy by the Libs, who then spread mendacious propaganda about the dangers of interest rates rising under a Labor government, using the RBA to brand their lies with credibility?

As two wise women named Barbra and Donna once proclaimed: Enough is enough is enough.

Friday, April 08, 2005

More Murdoch Media Mayhem

What's happening in world news? Rome is a secure fortress in anticipation of JPII's funeral, Monaco's Prince Rainier passes away, A new interim Iraqi president is sworn in and allegations are rife of massive electoral fraud in the recent Zimbabwe elections, for starters.

But what has Rupert decided should be front-page news on his UK Sun newspaper? What else - that one of his "journalists" (I use the term extremely loosely) can drive a van up to Windsor Castle and plant a fake bomb just days before Chuck and Cam's wedding.

My first thought was, naturally, "geez, all that effort and it wasn't even a real bomb. Damn." I suitably chastised myself for such impure thoughts (wicked, wicked, devilled penguin!!)

I'm just surprised Rupert reckons the world is currently so devoid of actual news that he has to invent it. I'll look forward to reading the Sun in June/July, and no doubt wetting my pants. Oh, and laughing lots too!

Almost as amusing was was the response from toff Metro Police Commissioner Sir Ian "Upper Class Twit of the Year" Blair:

"I am concerned, I am certainly irritated...It looks as though somebody has done something stupid..."

Ahh, but irritated by whom? The Sun "journos" or members of his own force who allowed this to happen?

"Perhaps it is a wake up call, but I would not expect anyone in my organisation to need a wake-up call."

Not that I'd lose a great amount of sleep if someone were to infiltrate the wedding on the day, but umm, actually, I think the fact that people could have effectively assassinated the Queen (who I understand was nearby inside the castle at the time) is probably fairly indicative of a police force - the "premier force in the world at handling events of this nature" - in urgent need of a wake-up call.

"I guarantee it in this way: we are doing absolutely everything that we know how to do."

Somehow, this statement just isn't that reassuring.

If only Graham Chapman were still with us. He used to portray the Sir Ians of the world to perfection.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Australian Media: So Left It's Actually Right

This latest rant by Flinty - the poor unfortunate sister who tries so desperately hard with Christopher Pearson to play with the hard-right boys in the gentlemen's club, infuriated by the fact that he can't wash off the homosexuality of which he reeks - about our "elitest" media's supposed left-wing bias got me to thinking how I can go about to show he's wrong.

I don't doubt that Australian media outlets have their biases and agendas. I mean, duh, of course they do. What annoys me is the Right's oft-spewed conspiracy theory about our country's left media bias. This, in a country where 60% of the print media is owned by an unapologetic Howard/Bush backer and our three commercial stations don't exactly infuse subliminal Marxist rhetoric in their evening sessions of Today Tonight, Sixty Minutes and A Current Affair.

The ABC is usually the prime target for said conspiracy theorists, and while I don't believe a media outlet seeking to expose the lies of our current government is by that quality alone left-wing, Aunty has had a slap on the wrist in the past. Her crime, however, was nothing compared to the outright lies and scare-mongering of the Hun in its fiendish plot to discredit the Greens.

Determining the implicit or indirect bias of the media in its reporting is all but impossible. What is possible, however, is to compare the columnists and see how the scales are balanced for left/right/"unaligned" commentators of mainstream newspapers. So what follows is my list of columnists of The Australian, The Age, The SMH, The Advertiser, The Daily Telegraph and The Hun that I read (or have read and felt nauseous) and where I would put them along the spectrum. Again it's hard to call this with total objectivity. I've compiled the list by imagining a meeting between myself and the commentators in question, saying "so, Miranda, you're right-wing, yeah?" or "so, David, you're left-wing, yeah?" and wondering if they would violently disagree with me. Where that hasn't happened, I've slotted them in.

* - denotes commentators who in their careers are primarily something other than print journalists but who contribute regularly or semi-regularly to whichever paper.

PS - Any Melbourne, Brisbane, Tassie or Perth folk who might like to suggest columnists I have overlooked - and who I imagine would help fill out the right column - please let me know.

David Marr
Adele Horin
Margo Kingston
Mike Carlton*
Phillip Adams*
Robert Manne*
Emma Tom*
Muriel Porter*
Anne Summers
Kenneth Davidson
Michelle Grattan
Peter Hartcher
Louise Dodson
Mike Steketee
Rex Jory
Matt Price
Malcolm Farr
Hugh Mackay*
Shaun Carney
Hugh White
Andrew Bolt
Miranda Devine
Gerard Henderson*
Piers Akerman
Angela Shanahan
Geoff Roach
Greg Sheridan
Frank Devine
Janet Albrechtsen
Paul Kelly
Terry McCrann
Paul Starrick
Mark Day
Pamela Bone
Paul Sheehan
David Penberthy
Dennis Shanahan
Michael Duffy
George Pell*
Tony Parkinson
Christopher Pearson

There. Now notice which column is longest and then tell me where the real bias lies.

Lord of the Penguin

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Those crazy fellows at Tokyo's Ueno Zoo have done it again. I mean, I'm guessing. They may have done nothing before...Meh. Here's the story about an April Fool's joke played on some unsuspecting emperors.

In other penguin news: The Humboldt penguins at Bremerhaven Zoo, whom you may remember me heralding as a triumph of queer penguin sexuality, seem to be swinging. These truly are some fluid chaps, not to mention embracing of cultural diversity. Or are they? Perhaps they feel pressured to give the female Swedish exports some sweet loving? Perhaps they fear the krill supply will be cut if they don't conform to heterosexist expectations of breeding?

On the plus side at least, a spokeswoman from the zoo assures us that "if the male pairs really are gay then they will stay together until they die".

If only human gay males were so committed...

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

I'm All Going on a Summer Holiday

I have this terrible sin to confess. I hope I'm not judged too harshly for this sin.

OK, here goes: I'm of a certain age now - let's say, between 19 and oh, 57 - and I have never been overseas. Ever. Scandalous, I know.

All this is about to change, however, as I've just booked a return flight to the UK for June/July. The trip will take in visits to London (obviously), Spain, Italy, France (well, Paris) and then back to UK, particularly Brighton as I hear it's very gay that time of year.

After months of all the love stories I was hearing from my friends O/S and getting all postal with jealousy, I decided the time was right to go visit them and see what all the fuss is about.

Any advice, warnings, predictions, visions, prophecies and/or wealthy Italian counts' phone numbers you might wish to offer will be muchly appreciated.

Desert Storm

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He's not Sir Laurence Olivier; in fact he's barely Adam Sandler. But man is Matt hot.


See? Told ya.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Good News From the Berg

It dawned on me the other day, while writing my latest QueerPenguin rant for SX, that it could be perceived I tend to focus too much on negatives and criticism when I write. Well, seeing as it's a slow news Tuesday and there's not much to nit-pick about, here's some sunshine bursts for youse all.

Homophobic fruitcake Peter Lewis has resigned as Speaker of the SA parliament, as even he was not so blind as unable to see the writing on the wall. One less homosexuality/paedophilia confuser to worry about. His replacement, Bob Such, is on the whole a decent bloke and will hopefully restore some of the credibility of the position and help repair its dignity, ripped to shreds by Lewis through his delusional grand-standing and massive self-serving egotism.
Last month, Labor took the lead in the AC Nielsen poll, but there was little rejoicing in the streets as this poll tends to favour Labor. Today's news, however, that Labor are now also ahead in the Newspoll, is worthy of at least a little jig.

We know that the only opinion poll that ever really matters is election day, and we also know that Labor were ahead comfortably in both these polls for a significant part of 2004 under Latham's reign, and look how disastrously that year ended. What these results indicate, however, is that there is an increasing feeling of discomfort amongst the electorate with the upcoming "Coalition Takes All" 1 July parliament and that they may actually have to watch their arses, even though no-one else officially will be able to do so. Let's just hope these figures are sustainable and not merely part of a Beazley honeymoon.
This is adorable. Sweden's Crown Princess Victoria to miss out on Chucky and Camilla Gorilla's upcoming connubials because of her Ikea (adjectival form of Ikea? Ikealeal? Ikealic?) obligations.

At this rate, the wedding's going to have less attendees than a One Nation branch meeting.
Finally, I found this quote on PJPII worth noting:

It is ironic that Pope John Paul II reached out to other religions so openly, recognising their wisdom and tradition, yet allowed any difference of opinion from the strict traditional Catholic orthodoxy to be quickly suppressed.

From John Buggy, spokesman for possibly one of the world's top 10 most oxymoronic organisations, the Australian Reforming Catholics.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Rest in Peace, Not in Lies

The sad old coot has finally done himself a favour and left us for the eternal paradise. I hope he has a good time up there, I do. There's little doubt he was, at least until his last undignified few years when he was shamelessly puppeteered and exploited rather than gently put out to pasture, an efficient pope who brought the Vatican a little closer to the people, and history on the whole will remember him fondly.

This was a man who said: "Man cannot live without love." Amen.

I just hope we don't forget too readily his thoughts on those he deemed to be unworthy of this utopian vision of love.

"Although the particular inclination of the homosexual person is not a sin, it is a more or less strong tendency ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil; thus the inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder. Therefore special concern and pastoral attention should be directed to those who have this condition, lest they be led to believe that the living out of this orientation in homosexual activity is a morally acceptable option. It is not."

"It is legitimate and necessary to ask oneself if (gay marriage) is not perhaps part of a new ideology of evil, perhaps more insidious and hidden, which attempts to pit human rights against the family and against man."

"Abortion is extermination which has been allowed by nothing less than democratically elected parliaments where one normally hears appeals for the civil progress of society and all humanity."

"The cemetery of the victims of human cruelty in our century is extended to include yet another vast cemetery, that of the unborn."

"Contraception is to be judged objectively so profoundly unlawful as never to be, for any reason, justified. To think or to say the contrary is equal to maintaining that, in human life, situations may arise in which it is lawful not to recognize God as God."

Quote Peter Tatchell, British human rights activist:

"His opposition to the use of condoms to prevent the spread of HIV has condemned millions of people to die an agonizing, needless death. Millions of children in developing countries are orphaned, having lost their parents to AIDS because of the Pope’s anti-condom dogma.”

I put up these quotes not to dance on a dead man's grave, but to offer an alternative to the hundreds of pages of gushing praise I'm reading about PJPII.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Top 10 Dinner Party Guest List

What's that? A blogger doing a Top 10 list? Never!! I hear you cry. Such a thing has never been done before!!

I got to thinking about this again following Jane Fonda's latest tell-all about her swinging relationship with director Roger Vadim, Jane being a given in this list.

Alphabetically, dead or living:

1. Aristotle - would like to see how passionately or otherwise he'd argue that the law is reason free from passion. Hopefully he'd feel a bit conflicted. Determining the orientation and content of Western intellectual philosophy was moderately impressive too.

2. Albert Camus - the "upbeat existentialist", which is how I sometimes like to refer to myself in my more outrageous delusions of grandeur. A philosophy unfairly overshadowed by Sartre and a life cut tragically too short.

3. Leonardo da Vinci - artist, visionary, inventor, rampant homosexual and subversive. I'd like to get him to sign my copy of The Da Vinci Code, perhaps with a little doodle (*ahem*) of a Mona Lisa penguin.

4. Jane Fonda - as I've mentioned before, love her or hate her, the woman gets things done. Plus I'd really like to know who her plastic surgeon is for future reference.

5. Samuel Goldwyn - one of the mean old bastards who saw a profitable future in those silly little nickelodeon things. Arguably the movie industry needed the mean ratgbags to give it a kick start up the arse. I think it would be nice to see his reaction when shown what cinema evolved into after his death. Or maybe he'd just put out his cigar on my hand. Who knows.

6. Katharine Hepburn - a female non-corforming artist long before Madonna's mother was in nappies. An actor who came to understand her value independently of the studio system. A beauty who looked stunning in pants. A strong-willed, independent woman who allowed an abusive drunken derro called Spencer Tracy to walk over her for 25 years. Talk about a contradiction.

7. Alfred Hitchcock - my favourite director. I'd like to know how and when he had his first vision of Janet Leigh getting slashed to death in Psycho, my favourite film, and therefore began the modern horror/slasher movie that was often copied - Brian De Palma, Gus Van Sant, John Carpenter, Wes Craven etc. - but never equalled.

8. Karl Marx (and I guess a German translator) - just to make sure I've at least got the gist of what he was on about. And drink him under the table with Stoli shots.

9. Marilyn Monroe - the secrets that woman would have...

10. Tennessee Williams - my favourite playwright and the man who gave me Blanche du Bois, my favourite fictional character. I would like to see if they're as similar as I imagine there are. Would he ask me to place a paper lantern over the light before he entered the dining room? Would he bring a school boy along with him? Probably.

Bench-warmer: Oscar Wilde - for comedy relief, obviously.

That's it.

Homophobia: Now Available to Threaten Straight People's Lives, Too!

Today the Oz informs us of the Libs' plan to force single mums to look for work once their kids have reached school age as part of a broader plan to boost the nation's labour market and tackle the skills crisis.

That sentence again: Boost the nation's labour market and tackle the skills crisis.

Here's another initiative they have on hand to boost the nation's labour market and tackle the skills crisis: Prevent overseas-trained psychiatrists from taking positions in Western Sydney hospitals and thus exacerbate the chronic shortage of mental health specialists in public hospitals.

Why? Why else - because they are fags.

This government's fear of and utter contempt for gay and lesbian people is actually placing people's lives in jeopardy. Here are two doctors ready, willing and able to take on "area of need" positions that other professionals aren't willing to touch, but because the Howard Government is so...hmm, I really want to find le mot juste it - FUCKED - NSW will fall even shorter of the number of trainee psychiatrists required to enter the system and provide vital medical services. Ultimately it's the patients who will suffer as a consequence of this appalling discrimination.

Quote the Migration Institute of Australia:

"The same-sex partners do not meet the definition of spouse, which in this day and age doesn't make a whole lot of sense."

No, it doesn't, but then this government's approach to same-sex couples has always had less to do with common sense than with pandering to uber-right Jesus freaks - in both its own coalition and in Family First - long enough to install as many barriers as possible to deny those couples legal and practical recognition and validation. Once again, they're relegated to second-class status.

It's clear this government never listens to the few gay and lesbian lobby groups left in Australia. One hopes they may, however, listen to the NSW Institute of Psychiatry ("this is clearly discrimination against same-sex relationships), the MIA, and the grossly under-funded, under-resourced public hospitals. One has to hope, otherwise one might go a little crazy. And as we can see, they'll be nobody on hand to take care of us when that happens.