Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Fuck This #2

UPDATE: Bingo - it's all about the ceremonies, after all:

Explaining the Federal Government's decision to block the ACT's latest gay partnerships bill, Mr Ruddock told ABC radio that its first objection was that "it involves a formal ceremony".

Which begs the simple question:

Why. The. Hell. Not?!

What is so upsetting about two men or women announcing their love and commitment to one another before their friends and family? Surely this is exactly what conservatives would want, for the poofs and dykes to stop screwing around and commit to one another in a stable, long-term relationship?

The 'argument' against civil unions crumbles under any kind of scrutiny.

*****************************************************************************

Golly, this really is Deja Vu Week, ain't it? First it was May 2004 all over again, now it's June 2006 all over again.

As if living in Canberra isn't tragic enough, do its residents really deserve the further indignity of a completely neutered elected government?

ACT AG Simon Corbell says (Ruddock & Co) "have in no way sought to engage in any dialogue with us"... and that although the ACT had asked the Commonwealth Government what parts of the original legislation it wanted changed, but the Commonwealth had refused to 'engage in any dialogue'".

He's absolutely right, of course. Last year, The Bulletin's Laurie Oakes exposed how Howard worked overtime to ensure no communication was made from the Commonwealth as to how the original Civil Unions Bill could be "improved" to avoid supposedly "undermining marriage'". There was speculation even Ruddock himself was more willing, at least initially, to be open to the possibility of dialogue and reaching a possible resolution, before Howard swiftly and efficiently shut him up.

This is because Howard has absolutely no desire to see any form of civil union legislation get up, but also wants to be able to lay the blame with the Stanhope government - as though they are the bad guys who insist on putting up flawed legislation without properly consulting the Commonwealth first.

I tend to subscribe to the theory that the reason Howard is so terrified of civil unions is primarily the ceremonial aspect. He doesn't want to run the risk of photos of happy gay couples exchanging vows and commitment statements at their civil ceremony being splashed across the papers, lest it shift the perception in people's minds of poofs and dykes as happy, functional people in likewise relationships instead of the loveless, isolated, tragic sinners it's in his and the RRR's interests to market us as. This is why they can reluctantly support a 'registration' scheme instead - especially with the knowledge that, in the case of Tasmania at least, this option is likely to be (with respect) unpopular and not desired by queer couples, many of whom still perceive, correctly or otherwise, a registration scheme as too similar to registering one's puppy.

We knew this was coming and there's really nothing that can be done now, other than pray (ha! the ironing) the totalitarian madness of a thuggish government practically unconscious on its own power ends at the next federal election - or, as Corbell puts it: "We will simply let it sit in the assembly until after the nextelection … maybe then we'll have a federal government more willing tolet the ACT legislate for its own citizens".

Corbell also claims that ACT residents will punish Howard at the next election for trampling on their Territory's autonomy, but Howard would have already factored this in. The ACT only accounts for two Lower House reps - both Labor, and likely to remain so in a city that's essentially a giant PS office - and two senators, the Liberal of which, Gary Humphries, has already shown his token pretence of ACT solidarity by voting against the original CU Act being overturned. Strategically, this is diabolically clever politics; no serious negative consequences to the Howard government and another sweet opportunity to bash Stanhope, whose outspoken support of progressive civil rights is so affronting to Howard.

In the meantime, send the love in the direction of comicstriphero, squirming for life in the enemy's trenches. Huzah for non-productive protest!

7 Comments:

At 7/2/07 2:59 pm, Blogger Jeremy said...

"It remains the Government's opinion that the Civil Partnerships Bill would still in its amended form be likely to undermine the institution of marriage."

They're just openly flaunting the wacky religious right's talking points now. "Undermine the institution of marriage" indeed. What's that even MEAN? How does letting gay people marry in any way "undermine the institution of marriage"? That doesn't make even a passing amount of sense.

Idiots. Spiteful, mean-spirited, hate-filled, amoral idiots.

Just remember in fifty years when this is all a bad memory and the conservatives of 2057 are trying to defend this government's memory with "well, you know, they weren't bigots, that's just the way people felt back then" - remember that it wasn't anything of the sort. Ruddock's not an idiot. Howard's not an idiot. They know as well as we do how stupid and empty this "undermine the institution of marriage" drivel is.

They're just nasty pieces of work, bent on delaying the inevitable just to make the present generation of gay people suffer.

Indefensible.

 
At 7/2/07 8:45 pm, Anonymous Ross said...

On the other hand, you've expressed the opposing points in this particular issue in terms of the emotional (Left must have ceremonies, it feels good) versus the practical (the Right not objecting to registrations). If it's rooted in 'head or heart', then there'll never be a meeting!

Perhaps what you see as pandering to bigotry is really Howard and Rudd seeing through Stanhope's move for what it is; - government by advocacy for the few, rather than by democracy for the majority; so much social engineering by those who essentially haven't no idea how things will turn out in years to come. There's a clue in why none of the larger states are going down the ACT's path. The day I see more than a few hundred people turn out for a pro-same-sex union rally is when I'll admit there's a popular will for it that must be addressed by legislation.

I'm interested to know what you think is totalitarian madness and thuggish government. Is it because the Commonwealth uses the Constitution's specific mechanism to override State laws where they conflict? The purpose is to maintain a unified federation. In reality, it would be more 'totalitarian' if a state pushed through its own legislation in defiance of the Constitution.

 
At 7/2/07 10:56 pm, Blogger Arthur_Vandelay said...

Perhaps what you see as pandering to bigotry is really Howard and Rudd seeing through Stanhope's move for what it is; - government by advocacy for the few, rather than by democracy for the majority; so much social engineering by those who essentially haven't no idea how things will turn out in years to come.

And this very same argument could have been wielded against interracial marriage, universal suffrage, the decriminalisation of homosexuality, etc. etc. Surely you can do better than ad populum reasoning?

We live in a liberal democracy so as to protect individuals and minorities from the whims of the "democratic majority" which can--believe it or not--sometimes be wrong.

 
At 8/2/07 1:19 am, Blogger Chris said...

Dear Mr Penguin.

While I agree that this is an incredibly relevant topic of discussion and truly worthy of focused debate...

Living in Canberra really isn't that tragic.

It's actually kinda cool knowing that Canberrans are recognised as the most unfriendly, bitchy and surly citizens in this country.

Our democratically elected Assembly is completely impotent.

You need not pity us, because with this kind of baggage... we wouldn't even brake if you crossed the street.

 
At 8/2/07 8:56 am, Blogger Sam said...

'government by advocacy for the few, rather than by democracy for the majority'

The Stanhope government has been democratically elected - twice - by a comfortable margin. I don't get where what they're trying to do is not democracy for the majority.

'(the Right not objecting to registrations)'

Don't be naive. The Australian Christian Lobby, AFA and other assorted right-wing nuts were the most vociferous opponents of Tasmania's partnership registration scheme. They only now pretended to support registration because it was politically convenient.

'The day I see more than a few hundred people turn out for a pro-same-sex union rally is when I'll admit there's a popular will for it that must be addressed by legislation.'

Personally, I don't believe legislation should be dictated by how many people march in a street for it. As you can personally testify to, rallies do not have the presence they had 30 years ago - doesn't mean civil unions are unpopular.

In fact, legitimate survey after legitimate survey show a clear majority of voters are comfortable with some form of civil union for long-term same-sex couples, so long as the 'M' word isn't used.

'Is it because the Commonwealth uses the Constitution's specific mechanism to override State laws where they conflict?'

No, what's thuggish is the documented evidence that Howard has deliberately made it impossible for the Stanhope government to know how it can draft legislation without 'conflicting' with marriage. If they were serious about the harmonious operation of the Constitution, they'd sit down and actually work out a solution, no be deliberately silent and obstructive.

 
At 8/2/07 6:29 pm, Blogger Tammy said...

Just wanted to say hi and it's nice to read someone who feel's as i do about these issues, i posted a few comments on the News.com debate about gay adoption, i think my comments were one the second last page under 'Greg from Wollongong' just found your blog and i'm enjoying it, Greg.

 
At 9/2/07 9:57 am, Anonymous Bazza said...

Thousands of marchers on the street will not change this governments thinking. The anti Iraq war marches is a point in question.

 

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