I guess we saw it coming - C Montgomery Burns plans to overturn the ACT government's civil union bill
, in its current drafted form at least.
This of course is wholly consistent with Monty's claim two months ago that the federal government has no power under the Constitution to legislate for civil unions, therefore it's up to the states and territories to "fix the issue". Provided, you know, that the states and territories act in a manner that in no way does not reflect entirely the will and agenda of the federal government.
Howard and Co would still be dark at ACT Chief Minister Jon Stanhope for publishing the draft "anti-terror" Bill
on his website last year. It's a perfect opportunity to undermine his leadership and his territory's autonomy as a means of revenge against him.
Speaking of territorial autonomy: anybody else old and ugly enough to remember NT, 1997? The Lyons Forum, the sub-faction of uber-right Jesus freaks within the Liberal Party, led by our current Workplace Relations Minister Kevin Andrews, and its success overturning the NT's compassionate euthanasia laws
despite having absolutely no democratically-elected mandate to do so? Despite at the time, and still today, a convincing majority of Australians supporting, subject to regulation, the right of terminally-ill patients to end their lives?
In 1997 it was the Northern Territory. In 2006 it might well be the Australian Capital Territory.
If this government believes in the autonomy of the states and territories only to the extent that they conform to the will of the government, fine - but it could at least have the decency to be consistent about this. This same government had so many members - some of whom are still around today - defending to the death Tasmania's sovreignty in the lead-up to the UN overturning that state's anti-sodomy laws back in the mid 90s.
Funny how quickly we forget.
The Lyons Forum may not exist formally any longer these days, but let's not be under any doubt that its spirit of homophobia and biblical thuggery lives on in those pushing for the ACT law to be overturned - folk like the Tasmanian Senator Guy Barnett, who I'm sure, were he in politics in the 1990s, would have been leading the charge for Tasmanian sovreignty and protecting his citizens from unfettered buggery.
That's the thing about the federal Liberal Party - for every 1 Warren Entsch, there are 3 Guy Barnetts, and the power of the latter is amplified by the Prime Minister.
As Stanhope argues, he's damned either way:
"(Ruddock) says it's the responsibility of the States and Territories to deal with issues of civil union or gay and lesbian relationships. The Commonwealth has legislated specifically two years ago to define a marriage as a union between a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others.
But then he goes on to say that if anything that a State or Territory does, or in this case a Territory,because he knows he doesn't have the Constitutional power over States, anything that a Territory does that seeks to regularise or respect or to formalise the entering into of a relationship by a gay or lesbian will be deemed by the Commonwealth to impact on the Marriage Act and they will intervene to overturn my legislation.
And you know, that's a classic catch-22."
Luckily, we have our plucky shadow Attorney-General and that rock-solid, queer-supportive federal Labor opposition, on the case:
"We really object to this process. It shows I think that the Howard government is prepared not just to ride roughshod over the Senate but also over the States and Territories. This is something that the states and territories should be able to make there own laws about.We don't support Mr Howard trying to ride roughshod over what the States and Territories are doing."
"Furthermore, we in the Labor Party fully support civil unions and commend any state or territory that provides a model by which same-sex couples in long-term, committed relationships are able to have their relationship formalised and their legal rights and responsibilities enshrined.
We accept that there are many forms of relationships outside of traditional heterosexual marriage and, provided such relationships are not confused in the legislature with traditional heterosexual marriage - which, clearly the ACT model is not, since we oppose it being overturned - we are proud to endorse a civil union or any form of union that acknowledges, and indeed celebrates, non-traditional forms of loving partnerships."
Why is the latter part of this quote boldened? Because, of course, Roxon didn't say it. I did. But it wasn't so difficult for me, so why should it be for her? Labor has consistently been sitting on the fence and refused to commit to a formal policy in support of civil unions. And something tells me Kym didn't get around to asking Tony if his party should do this like Tony's did when the esteemed New Labour guru visited this week.
It appears Ruddock's primary grumble is with provisions regarding the use of Commonwealth-appointed civil celebrants for the purposes of the Civil Union Act. Fine, let's just use state-appointed ones instead. An AG's media release, which I had the pleasure of receiving in my email today as part of my employment - not that the Liberal Party would ever send out its anti-Labor propaganda posing as legitimate announcements on developments within the AG's department - also whinges about proposed section 5 of the Bill, which says that 'a civil union is to be treated for all purposes under territory law in the same way as a marriage'.
Well, no shit Sherlock - THAT'S THE WHOLE FREAKIN' POINT OF THEM. The point is that they only relate to state and territory law - as per Ruddock's own request - so by definition they cannot interfere with the definition and operation of federal marriage.
I would be fascinated to see how the Liberal Party would draft a civil union bill that did not "infringe" on marriage. They never will, of course - Howard's seeing to that - but a civil union has to imply at least a certain degree of legal parity between married or de facto heterosexual and long-term same-sex couples. It's not claiming they're the same, it's not undermining heterosexual marriage, it's not bringing about the 4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse - but it is offering a binding civil contract that protects same-sex partners in the tragic events of death, extended illness etc as well as conferring responsibilities for same-sex couples to operate as one, rather than 2 individuals (as for example current discriminatory federal legislation dictates in areas of welfare and benefit payments).
I sincerely hope Stanhope can make adjustments in the right headings and paragraphs of his civil union Bill so that Ruddock has no legitimate means of questioning its right to be enacted. It would be a tragedy for Australian democracy if the Howard Empire and its evil overloads Ruddock and Barnett once again wiped out another small planet in their quest for universal domination.
The Australian Actually Criticises Government: Shockwaves Felt in Iceland
I must admit, I've been pleasantly surprised by the Oz's handling of the AWB scandal. The Oz, or as I usually like to think of it, "The Daily Liberal Party Press Release" or "The John Howard Peppy Cheer Squad", has grabbed hold of this bone by the incisors and is showing no signs of letting go.Yesterday's editorial
essentially calling for Downer to resign was unnervingly accurate, unbiased and free from the Oz's usual pro-government spin. The juciest slices of the cake:The Foreign Minister still says he believed AWB's denials that it paid bribes to the Iraqi dictator. It is a curious defence that can easily create the impression that Mr Downer is either a dill or a cynic unwilling to explain what he really thought about the ethics involved if AWB was paying bribes in Iraq. With this week's revelation that as late as last September he was telling the UN's Volcker inquiry that bribery was just a routine part of business in the Middle East, it looks like he is both.
And:Short of a neon sign flashing "Saddam bribes hidden here" it is hard to imagine what more Mr Downer and DFAT would have needed to comprehensively investigate AWB, long before the Volcker inquiry belled the cat.
You can feel the awkward tension at the dinner table between this usually happily married couple of government and media outlet. Quote the Downster:I think that has been very much reflected in the views of the Australian people, despite the editorial in the newspaper—which I have to confess is normally a newspaper I quite like, but not so much today. But I cannot write the editorials myself.
Which comes as a surprise, since I've assumed for many years that Oz editorials are written, or at least proofread and edited by media lackeys at Lib HQ prior to publication.
I guess you can still ultimately interpret this editorial as pro-Howard in that it keeps the focus firmly on Downer. This same paper relished taking down Costello over the Gerard affair so one can still argue it's every bit the Howard lap dog it's always been.
But really, when even the Oz can acknowledge yet another government cover-up, you know it's moved beyond the defence of lefty/Fairfax conspiracy beat-up and into something undeniably tangible.
I'm sure none of this will stop the Oz from producing a glowing Vote 1 Howard editorial in 18 months' time - hell, the government's mates on the Fairfax board even managed to force the Age editors to write the most ridiculous (in the context of the Age's usual editorial line) Vote Howard editorial in 2004 and the Herald suddenly to refuse to endorse either party - but in the meantime I've never enjoyed going to the Oz website as much as I do right now.
Sorry kids, QP's doing its periodic freezing and non-functioning on my work computer. Happens every few months or so. All I can do for now as I've done before is try to ride it out and hopefully the problem will resolve itself, but in the meantime I won't be able to do very substantial posts except from home. I've had to actually resort to...*choke* work to pass the time! So rude.
Again, apologies. We hope to return to your regularly scheduled program soon.
Pot Calling the Kettle Fat?
Sorry, can't resist. I realise grammatical pedantry these days is about as fashionable as a petticoat, but if the Australian wants to position itself as judge, jury and executioner, it might want to go in a little better prepared next time.Today's editorial
is the usual neo-conservative garbage - state education system is filled with Marxists, postmodernism is destroying the capacity of children to learn the fundamentals, blah blah - but it's the heading to which I want to draw attention:Kids must learn spelling, grammar and punctuation
That is, so you can write all good and proper-like, like the Oz editorialists:It is the pedagogical equivalent of the Australian Institute of Sport abandoning their world's-best practices for training elite athletes to tell runners that their times don't matter and swimmers that "wetness" is just a Western cultural construction.
The heading, which perhaps could be written on the blackboard a hundred times, should be changed to:The Australian must learn how to use singular possessive pronouns correctly
That is, the Australian Institute of Sport, being a singular institution, might abandon ITS (hopefully not IT'S, which would be another likely Oz fluff-up) world's best practices for...etc., NOT their world's best practices...etc.
But hey, what would I know. I'm an evil postmodern by-product of Marxist indoctrination.If you're finding this all painfully boring, never fear - there are pictures of pretty men below.
Gaydar Guys What I Reckons Are a Bit of Awright
Yeah right. Because you come to QP to read the articles.
(This guy's my favourite, because he once sent me a message that demonstrated a brain, sense of humour and lack of "you are nowhere near attractive enough to view my profile, ugly peasant" attitude that radiates so powerfully from so many Gaydar beauties. A rare combination.)
OK, that's it. Nothing more to see here. Return to your homes and places of businesses.
I Love a Good Election - In Fact I'm Having One Right Now
OK, so I hear you say: There's only one thing more boring than post-election analysis - and that's of elections in states where I (the reader) don't even live.
Well, *raspberry* on you. I know I have at least 5 SA dedicated QPers and at least one Taswegian whom I'm sure will find the following stupendously interesting. And if you don't, well...sod you.
Besides, the conclusions I'm drawing - and don't worry, they're brief - apply across all politics.
So, for those unaware: Two state elections over the weekend. Premier Mike Rann and friends absolutely annihilated the Libs in SA
, while Labor had a surprisingly easy win in Tasmania
, albeit with a small swing against them.
Say what you will about the 2004 federal election disaster, but at the end of the day it was only a swing of 1.8% to Howard. Rann managed nearly 10%.
So now there's lots of talk about the unprecedented period of political stability in Australia, state and federally. There hasn't been a change of government since 2002 and Howard's been quick to sulk that the only reason state Labor governments keep getting in is they are riding on the crest of a strong national economy for which he, single-handedly and with no help from anybody else or any other external factor in the entire universe, is responsible. Shame this directly contradicted the now former SA Opposition Leader Rob Kerin's argument that SA is an economically-struggling state, and that's all the state Labor party's fault.
Note to Liberal Party: synchronise your state and federal spin doctors better.
The reality is that state Labor governments have been successful in shifting to the Right economically and socially, manipulating a populist "lock-em-all-up" law and order agenda so well-honed by Bob Carr. Their respective Treasurers are also so anally retentive with the purse strings that any apprehension of Labor as economic mismanagers or fear of a repeat of the economic disasters that befell SA and Victoria on Labor's watch are long gone.
But at least with the right-shifting Labor Party we queers still get our state law reforms, even if some of its own members, such as the SA Attorney-General, work so hard to postpone their inevitable enactment. With a huge majority in the Lower House and a combined bloc Labor, 3 Liberal, 1 Democrat, 1 Green and (perhaps) 2 No Pokies vote in favour of the Relationships Bill - and a guarantee this Bill will be re-introduced in their first term - Labor now has no excuses left.
The Murdoch Media Mayhem has wasted
no time dancing
on the "graves
" of the evil pinko commo minor parties
, the most poisonous of which being the "watermelon" Greens. What the MMM won't tell you, however, is that despite the disappointing result of the Greens in Tasmania, their heartland, in the more conservative state of SA the Greens outpolled
Family Fist in the lower house and are likely to get their first member into SA's Upper House as FF is set to give Andrew "we're not a religious party" Evans a playmate.
OK, so the Democrats' vote plunged and a substantial protest third vote against the major parties was up for grabs but an automatic transfer of Democrats voters to the Greens is not, contrary to popular opinion, a given. The Greens have done well in SA and must take up the slack of progressive politics now that the Dems are all but dead.
A mixed bag, all up. Obviously another Family Fister employed in any form of politics is a bad thing but if this were going to happen anywhere, it was South Australia, where they began. Says a lot about the change in the SA political climate from the 70s when the original "third party", the Dems, started as a socially progressive party and became quite successful, compared to today, when a pack of hypocritical, far-right self-righteous Jesus freaks are instead generating from SA as the third party. *sigh*
Quickly: Yay for Frances Bedford, the main internal agitator for queer law reform in SA Labor. Family Fist and its Assemblies of God buddies had promised a campaign to take her out in her marginal seat of Florey, home of the Paradise (think Hillsong) Community Chruch. What happened instead? Bedford scored a 10% swing in her favour.
Boo for Tom Kenyon, the new Labor member for Newland who previously said that were the Relationships Bill to be given a conscience vote, he would vote against it. If you'd like to write to him suggesting he consider joining another party, as this reform has been Labor policy for at least 5 years, his email is Tom.Kenyon@alp.org.au
Oh, and one of the new ALP Upper House members, Ian Hunter, is - or at least was at as 2003 - the boyfriend of my former male boss at Myer. I believe this makes him the first openly gay male MP in SA (remembering Don Dunstan never officially admitted it when he was Premier and Mark Brindal was outed, not out by choice).
Random Thought For the Day
Has it ever been empirically proven that Humpty Dumpty was, in fact, some kind of egg?
Let's look closely at the evidence:Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall;Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.All the king's horses and all the king's menCouldn't put Humpty together again.
At what point are any egg-like qualities referred to, outside of his - or indeed, her - obvious delicate condition? Lots of things might not be able to be put back together again after they fall dramatically off a wall - a Ming vase, a porcelain china doll, an old sandwich toaster.
I think there's something in this for all of us.
Devine Miss M Strikes Again - Again
: The Devine Miss M responds (to an email drawing her attention to this posting):Thanks Sam. nice read. But I think you have misinterpreted me.
Just because one high-fashion inner-urban gay audience hoots and laughs throughout the movie doesn't mean that is the entire gay take on Brokeback, obviously, as evidenced by my gay friend who loved it and all the other rave reviews.
You know, basically I was just reporting the tidbits I pick up about what people are talking about - and lots of people were talking about the reaction at the Academy Twin. As for the woman the next week - hers was one of about four impassioned emails I have received from the ditched wives of closet gays and I thought her message was a good one - don't pretend to be straight if you are gay because you'll hurt more people in the end.
I think if you had read the columns without knowing who the author was - i.e., without your bigot glasses on - you would have come to a very different conclusion about them. Being conservative doesn't mean being an evil bigot.
What do we think? I replied to this, pointing out that while the moral of "don't pretend to be straight if you are gay because you'll hurt more people in the end" is valid, it's often not so simple - indeed, this was the point of my post.
As I said, this about the standard I expect from Devine. But occasionally there are glimpses of sensitivity and open-mindedness in her that are certainly never evident in Albrechsten, Akerman, Henderson, Bolt etc.
Maybe I'm just getting soft in my old age.
(Following a lovely weekend down at Jervis Bay I seem to have returned with only one ear functional. I've had this problem before and I'm hoping I still have the prescribed antibiotics from the first time that will clear the blockage, but for now if you finding me barking "what? What?!" a lot, please be patient.)
For those of you outside the Sydney bio-dome, Miranda Devine is one of the Token Rights, along with Gerard Henderson, Paul Sheehan and Michael Duffy, that the Herald employs to maintain balance in its commentary. I've blogged about her before
. She's not quite as offensive as Tell-Us-About-It Janet
or (shudder) Angela Shanahan but she's definitely in the mould of female commentators quick to sell out the sisterhood in order to plug her neo-con agenda.
Usually I laugh her off with references to Picnic at Hanging Rock or Miranda Fair - the depth of my intellectual wit is bottomless - but I can't let this go by
. Being the second criticism of Brokeback Mountain
in as many weeks I can only assume it's a particularly large bainmarie of her journalistic experience, but it really does read like Miranda at her Blame the Victim worst.
If you can't be bothered to read the columns, the first one basically suggests that gay men are horribly misogynistic because a gay male friend of hers - I'd be fascinated to meet the self-respecting (??) gay man who actually admits to being a friend of Miranda Devine's - said that when he saw BBM at the Academy Twin in Paddo,"in a gut-wrenching scene (where) the wife stumbles on her husband passionately kissing Jake Gyllenhaal's character and almost collapses...Her anguish provoked the most laughter in that Oxford Street audience, my friend says. "It was 'ha ha, sucked in' laughter, like 'gay men prevail'," says my friend, who was shocked by the callous attitude."
In her second column, Devine quotes at length from "a mother of five who lives in a NSW country town and remembers as if it were yesterday the day her husband told her he was gay"
and who "respond(ed) to my column last week about the cynical hooting audience".
This woman's story is particularly tragic and gut-wrenching and Miranda is quick to make an Aussie Battler Hero(ine) out of her, although ABH is a pretty good self-promoter of great sacrifice:"It takes a lot of strength and hidden tears to help your children, firstly to deal with the devastation of trying to work out why Dad would not choose them and to help deal with the sadness, disbelief and hurt left in the wake of their Dad's 'new life'.You deal with your own grief last, as all mothers do in a crisis."
I don't wish to sound unsympathetic to this woman's ordeal, or indeed venture into the victim-blaming zone against which I'm arguing. But it seems to me Miranda's column would be more productive analysing the reasons why men are forced to stay in the closet and go through the motions of marriage and bearing offspring, particularly in rural Australia. BBM, novella and film, do not for a moment condone the mistreatment of wives and any silly queens who allegedly laughed or cheered at those particular scenes do us a great disservice, but they don't speak for all gay men as Devine would seem to imply.
Likewise, closeted men are only too aware of the pain and grief caused to all family members involved if or when they ever do come out. But let's not forget what they're going through
as gay men living outside the capital cities.
None of these choices or decisions are made lightly. Of course there are consequences and of course innocent people suffer. But contrary to what this woman, and Devine by association, might believe, the "gay movement" is not so open and it's still not always an easy thing to be openly gay. We've come a long way from the era in which Jack and Ennis first found love together, yes, but the high rate of rural male suicide and the harsh plight of rural queers are both indicative of how far we still have to go.
National Party MP Adrian Piccoli's words
about a deceased gay male friend of his are equally gut-wrenching as Devine's ABH:
"(My friend) ultimately died of a broken heart - he died because he was sorry to be gay...I felt like a complete moron. In all these years of thinking that being gay was odd or unusual, in actual fact I was perpetuating prejudice that was killing young men - and which still kills young men...
And I haven't just killed him. I have killed many. Killed them at the end of a rope in the back shed or at the barrel of their father's gun or next to an empty bottle of grog..."
Perhaps I'm reading too much homophobia into Devine's columns. I certainly agree with her synopsis of BBM as "a movie that transcends gender and sexuality and shows that people, no matter who or how they love, have hearts that break in exactly the same way. And that's no bad thing to remember." In fact, it's this level of sensitivity evident in Devine's writing that occasionally shines through and makes me wonder if she even believes in half the right to far-right propaganda she espouses, or whether she's merely writing efficiently for a niche market and making lots of money in the process.
But these particular columns are misguided at best and unjust at worst. They trivialise key factors and mistakenly portray a one-sided victim. I rarely have high expectations of Miranda but even I would expect better of her.
Mardi Gras Post-Mortem
Won't go into great detail about Mardi Gras weekend, other than to say it was all fun and games and I didn't lose an eye or any other body part. I decided to volunteer this year since, being a critic of the disastrous MG launch
, I felt I had one of two ways to go: continue being an armchair critic, which anyone can be, or do my tiny, pissy bit to make the remainder of MG less horrendous.
The weather was still and balmy - God must have thrown his bone to Fred Nile the weekend before when the Azure harbour party was eventually washed out, but there wasn't a drop to drink on parade night.
The group of volunteers to which I was assigned consisted of (I presume) heterosexual mums from the Central Coast, who varied from not-at-all to far-too-much in the seriousness with which they took their responsibilities. Basically, I was a Floats door bitch on Elizabeth Street, ushering in trucks and utes as they arrived and refusing entry to those not branded with the Precious Yellow Wristband. I then had to check that all my delegated floats were roadworthy, then walk down the parade with a couple of floats ensuring they didn't bunch up next to each other, break down, go in the wrong direction, bust random bad Dannii moves, etc. I somehow ended up between the "bums for drums" (tribal drummers, not homeless junkies) and the "Queer Revolt", the sort of feral broad-left SUG (socialist until graduation) kiddies that even other feral broad-left SUG kiddies fear. Actually, that's probably a little unfair. They behaved themselves quite well, the van driver was pleasant and co-operative and they seemed to be having too much fun to whinge about how "fuk't" everything is, as is their usual cat-call.
As the parade made its way down Oxford Street three male QR paraders seemingly blended together at their hips were incapable of drawing breath from their 3-way pashing - I imagine they thought they were being hot, cutting edge and shocking, but being so hideously unattractive they failed on all 3 counts.
Say what you will about MG - criticise it as out-of-date, passe, tacky, commercial, sold-out, yadda yadda - but march in it, just once, and tell me you don't have a good time. Tell me the screams and laughter of 500,000 (if you ask the MG organisers) or 37 (if you ask the Salt Shakers
*) people cheering from behind the barricades doesn't warm even the frostiest heart. Tell me the big grins on toddlers perched on their dads' shoulders as they stare in confused awe at all the colourful boys and girls aren't just the tiniest bit cute.
OK, so it's never going to be like its mid-90s hey-day again. It doesn't need to be. Politically, we've come a long way since then, even though we still have a while to go. Socially, there's not much left with which to shock and outrage the brave punters who attend. The cool homo kids today don't need a big parade of old poofs and dykes to validate their sense of self-esteem. And good luck to them. Doesn't mean there isn't a teenager stuck in, I don't know, Parkes, who's seen MG on Pay-per-View or splashed in the tabloids and been reminded there is a world that can understand he's different and won't condemn him to life as a pariah for it. Years ago when I was struggling with my Big Secret I was lucky enough to watch MG at its peak, usually on the ABC (fuck you very much, Senator Richard Alston), and the hope and inspiration it provided me was unquantifiable.
Anyway, the overall mood of 2006 MG was resurgence, a wake-up call to people to get off their arses and stop complaining, otherwise there might just be no parade at all. The 30 year anniversary in 2008 should help with this, too.
After-party was, well, after-party. Yes, I'm that jaded and cynical breed of queen who reckons if you've been to one 10,000+ Hordern party of shirtless muscle maries with their arses hanging out of their leather Gs, you've been to them all. Having said that, the music in the Hordern Pavillion was especially awesome, mixing in the definitive trance anthems at just the right points. Jimmy Somerville still sounds pretty good live, and his plethora of dancing beauties didn't harm his cause.
One disappointment was New Mardi Gras Chair Marcus Bourget - again - using his opportunity to speak to the masses as an invitation to get laid. More foolish than his off-loading of responsibility for the Launch debacle, speaking as he was as though we all loved him now and had forgiven him for his immediate sins of the past. Still, to his credit, he looks all right in nothing but leather straps. Perhaps, like so many Sydney gay men, he should function just by standing mutely and looking pretty.
A new innovation for me at this particular after-party was having a boy to play with - and I don't mean one I met in the course of the night, as is my usual form. This boy - let's call him "Geoff" - has been on the scene for a while now and appears to be working out disturbingly well. It was a bit of a minor headfuck having to be conscious of and sensitive to Geoff's presence, usually because being single at an MG after-party I can skip around at will from friend/friendship group to friend/friendship group without any long-term expectations. But I felt Geoff deserved more of me - not to mention I actually wanted to spend time with him - so after a shaky start I eventually struck a balance between Geoff Time and Friend Time, and (hopefully) neither was left wanting by the time I eventually got over it and went home (at the Nanna time of 6:30am, no less).
As always, my attendance at non-march/party MG events was woeful, managing only appearances at a few short and feature film events and the Kylie exhibit at the Powerhouse. As I've said for the last three years, I will rectify that next year.
I can strongly recommend volunteering. The organisation of volunteers leaves a bit to be desired - I wasn't informed of my group or essentially my duties until on the day - but once you know what you're doing it's a good opportunity to meet some fun people, help keep the crowd in good spirits and get an excellent vantage point for the parade. Plus a half-price ticket for the after-party.
*I must again ask the person who I can only assume is a QP reader, who keeps using my name and email address when forwarding pro-queer online articles (such as success of this year's MG) to Peter Stokes: I know you mean well, but please, I have no interest in corresponding with Stokes. The man is completely incapable of rational, reasoned discussion of anything and I don't want to waste his time or mine, and I don't care for his sanctimonious, self-righteous "replies" to "my" emails when I haven't actually sent him anything. Cheers.
(Quick aside: Anybody with an interest in the upcoming SA election - and, specifically, the fate of the stalled Relationships Bill that will catch SA up to the rest of the country - may have been disturbed to read about a "deal" brokered between Labor and Family Fist in which the latter would offer preferences in exchance for the former offering a conscience, rather than Causcus-binding, vote on the Bill if/when it's re-introduced into parliament after the election. This was reported in both the 'Tiser and the Oz - neither of which ever guarantees authenticity of a story - but has since been strongly denied by both parties. Unfortunately this doesn't lessen the possibility of a Liberal/Family Fist majority in the Upper House, which would likely stall the Bill indefinitely, but it's nice to see Labor maintain at least a pretence of social justice.)
Hands up anybody who has actually seen this movie? Thought so.
I don't want to get into conspiracy theories here - bah, screw it, yes I do. The US Rancid Religious Right has somehow got to the Oscar voters. This can be the only explanation why BBM did not win. The film with the most nominations, winner of all the major pre-Oscar award ceremonies, and a film that people actually saw.
Crash only won two other Oscars. Since when does the Best Picture winner only win 3 Oscars in total?
I don't know what the RRR has done to secure this win, but it's worked. BBM has been denied the Oscar immortality of which it is completely deserving.
This is worse than Marisa Tomei. This is worse than Gwyneth Paltrow. This is just wrong.
Almost, but not quite as wrong, is Reese winning over Felicity. OK, so this doesn't have the Crash shock factor as she was the favourite - and don't get me wrong, I adore Reese Witherspoon (or any way she may be served) - but Oscar has gone safe here. It had the option to go safe back in 2000 and give the statue to Annette Bening (American Beauty) over Hilary Swank (Boys Don't Cry) but it didn't because it acknowledged the incredible complexity of Swank's performance. Why couldn't it afford Huffman the same courtesy? Perhaps Oscar feels its quota of queer/gender-bending performances has been met?
Something wrong in the state of Oscar...
UPDATE: Rye over at Got Gay? articulates this sense of frustation more clearly than I do - perhaps because he didn't shirk away from the word "fuck" in his post's title like I did.
(NB: As far as I'm aware, "hippopotamusal" is not in fact a word. I just thought it would be a good adjectival form of hippopotamus.)
Couple of examples of ALP and Liberal "queer friendlies" in fine form:
ALP glam girl, the member for Adelaide (my former electorate) Kate Ellis, is jumping on the same-sex law reform
band-wagon, pointing out how damn wonderful Labor is on s-s issues and imploring parliament to "do more", in particular by supporting shadow AG Nicola Roxon's new private member's bill to "prohibit discrimination, harassment and incitement to violence on the grounds of sexuality or gender identity".
Wonderful sentiments, but misguided and hypocritical for the following reasons:
Firstly, putting aside Roxon's pre-existing anti-queer form
, her bill, while a good start, goes nowhere near as far in its reforms as Warren Entsch plans to go
with his bill. We can also assume Roxon is only introducing it now so that Labor can maintain its queer cred, as it's becoming increasingly obvious federal Labor's lead ahead of the Coalition for same-sex federal law reform is closing.
As with the RU486 debate, both these Bills will be good litmus tests to see who are the true supporters and opponents of s-s law reform, based on how they vote. Roxon's bill will presumably be Caucus-binding but would then need the support of several additional Libs to have the numbers to become law. Whether Howard instructs the party to block the bill en masse (likely) or allows a conscience vote (unlikely) remains to be seen.
Similarly, Entsch's bill will not be Caucus-binding (otherwise it would be a government and not private member's bill) so would need a bloc ALP vote as well as the support of several Libs (who are obviously more likely to vote for one of their own party's bill than an Opposition's) to get over the line. Again, whether or not Beazley allows a conscience vote remains to be seen.
My thoughts are that both scenarios are unlikely, but the latter has a greater chance than the former.
Secondly, when did Kate Ellis become a mate to the homosexualists? Obviously, like her Liberal predecessor Trish Worth she has to at least have the pretence of queer friendliness when representing the gayest seat in South Australia, but let's not forget Ellis is a protege of the Catholic Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees
union, the most anti-queer faction
of the ALP that unfortunately also comprises its largest voting bloc and has always been the strongest opponent of Labor adopting queer-friendly policies
(NB: In her speech yesterday Ellis invited "members of my own community in the electorate of Adelaide who have strong views on this issue to feel free to contact me because I would like to consult with them as our Attorney-General continues to consult on a national level". I'll certainly be sending a link to this posting as a de facto member of Adelaide and would invite any readers in her electorate to take up her invitation.)
So it seems to me Ellis has popped on the queer-friendly garb not because of any great interest in or passion for justice and equality for s-s couples, but under instruction perhaps from Roxon who's likely feeling the heat from Rainbow Labor and the GLRL.
Over on the other channel:
Call me cynical, biased, whatever – but I have no sympathy for openly gay Victorian MP Andrew Olexander.
If you read the Melbourne fag rag, MCV, you'll know of Olexander’s current whistle-blowing on the homophobia and bigotry of the Victorian Liberal Party to which he claims he was subjected during his time in state politics. Bitter at his failure to win preselection for his upper house seat, Olexander cites these as being major factors in his losing support of the party’s senior figures.
Nothing to do, of course, with the fact that one evening in 2004 he crashed his car after getting behind the wheel with a blood-alcohol level over twice the limit. Or that, when first confronted with this, he lied, claiming he’d fallen asleep at the wheel. Or that he was fraudulently receiving travel allowances to get to and from his electorate in which he claimed to live despite actually having residence several kilometres away.
It’s Olexander’s history of lies and denial of responsibility that so comprehensively shatter his credibility. In 2001, for example, Olexander proudly stated that “we in the Liberal Party value the dignity of individual people … regardless of their … sexuality or any other arbitrary factor about them”. Today, however, he claims that “he was routinely abused and taunted in the parliamentary dining room, in Parliament and at public Liberal functions” consequent to being out.
So, was he lying in 2001 or is he lying now?
This isn't to say that there wouldn't be an element of truth to his allegations. It’s not only the state of Victoria where the Liberal Party treats its queer members so appallingly - in South Australia, certain senior party figures went into overdrive to drive out MP Mark Brindal following revelations of his affair with another man. Parliamentary records and speeches, however, indicate Brindal had a much stronger history of speaking out on queer issues, despite being married and closeted, and he was even brave enough to introduce a private member’s bill allowing for same-sex civil unions in SA.
Olexander, on the other hand, appears to don the queer garb, Ellis-style, only when it suits his agenda of accusing his party of homophobia, rather than admitting it may have been his disgraceful behaviour as en elected representative, and not his sexuality, that ultimately jeopardised his preselection.
There are queer people, in Australia and internationally, suffering genuine victimisation and abuse because of their sexuality – recent assaults around City Gym spring to mind. These are the people for whom our sympathy should be reserved. Perhaps Olexander should have had enough foresight not to join a political party likely to condone and promote internal homophobia, if it’s suddenly such an issue for him now.
These type of fags do us no favours, merely reinforcing the concept of a victim mentality within our community. I mean, what did the guy expect? This notion that deep down the Liberal Party is really a broad church open to queers as much as anybody else is bullshit.
It's no accident that there are hardly any openly gay men in both Labor and Liberal state governments/oppositions and none federally. The heavyweights in both parties don't like them and work overtime to hush them up, except when it may be convenient to trot them out to the queer seats at election time.
No cheers for Ellis and no tears for Olexander here.