Showing posts with label same-sex marriage. Show all posts
Showing posts with label same-sex marriage. Show all posts

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Marriage Equality finally arrives in Australia



Wednesday, 15 November 2017

How the NSW North Coast voted in the national same-sex marriage postal survey


Across Australia 12,691,234 registered voters responded to the Australian Marriage Law Postal  Survey with 61.6% of respondents answering YES and 38.4% answering NO to the question “Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry?

In NSW, 81.3% (2,147,973) of eligible females and 77.5% (1,947,546) of eligible males responded to the survey.

By NSW North Coast federal electorate:

Richmond – 67.9% of survey respondents answered YES and 32.1% answered NO
Page -  59.7% of survey respondents answered YES and 40.3% answered NO
Cowper – 60% of survey respondents answered YES and 40% answered NO

For a full breakdown of survey results go to https://marriagesurvey.abs.gov.au/results/

On 15 November 2017 the far-right of both Coalition parties are going to attempt to scuttle genuine marriage equality in Australia


“Liberal senator James Paterson’s private members bill to “protect religious freedoms” would enshrine exceptionalism discriminating against gays. Gays would be allowed to marry, but anyone and everyone who wanted to deny them service would be legally allowed to do so. We don’t tolerate such discrimination based on race or ethnicity.” [Professor of Politics, University of Western Australia, Peter van Onselen writing in The Australian, 13 November 2017]


It comes as no surprise that this bill is being sponsored by that chinless wonder, former Institute of Public Affairs member and Liberal Senator for Victoria James William Paterson (pictured left).


The Australian, 13 November 2017:

A conservative-backed same-sex marriage bill enshrining wide-reaching shield laws for celebrants, businesses, educators, charities and parents opposed to gay marriage will be taken to the Coalition partyroom in a looming showdown over freedom of speech and religious protections.

The 34-page bill, obtained by The Australian and to be released today by conservative Victorian Liberal senator James Paterson, would override state and territory anti-discrimination and freedom-of-speech laws to extend protections beyond religious affiliation to anyone who holds a “conscientious belief” in traditional marriage.

Significantly, the bill also ­includes a “safe schools” clause to confer rights to parents who want to remove their children from classes if they believe the values being taught do not accord with a traditional view of marriage.

In what will become a potentially critical test of Malcolm Turnbull’s leadership, the bill will be taken to the Liberals’ partyroom when it next meets in two weeks and presented as an alternative model to that favoured by moderates and sponsored by ­Liberal ­senator Dean Smith, which offers only limited protection.

However, it is believed there are plans to table the bill in the Senate as early as Wednesday if needed following a likely Yes ­result in the gay marriage postal plebiscite.

The release of the draft Marriage Amendment (Definition and Protection of Freedoms) bill 2017 will blindside moderate Liberal MPs who last week were demanding the release of any proposed conservative-backed model.

The bill is expected to receive qualified support today from the majority of the conservative bloc and will present a challenge to moderate MPs, with Senator ­Paterson being an open supporter of gay marriage.

Some conservative MPs, however, are likely to argue that the bill does not go far enough with new polling revealing overwhelming public support for laws to protect freedom of speech, religion and parental rights.

The bill requires not only amendments to the Marriage Act but an amendment to the federal Sex Discrimination Act. It would also override prevailing state and territory anti-discrimination laws that offer no protection for people with a traditional view of marriage.

The protections to shield proponents of traditional marriage from civil law suits, however, will be limited to only those goods and services directly related to the solemnisation of a same-sex marriage or the provision of a wedding. This includes goods and ser­vices provided by florists, bakers, hotels or function centres but only so far as they relate to a same-sex ­wedding.

Senator Paterson, who sat with Senator Smith on the Senate committee ­inquiry into same-sex ­marriage, said the bill better reflected the recommendations on preserving human rights and the protections of a diversity of views.

“If the parliament opts for a narrower bill with fewer protections, I fear we will see some Australians seek to impose their values on others, with court cases and other legal mechanisms. No one should want to see the messy court cases that have occurred after same-sex marriage was legalised in other countries,” Senator Paterson said

The potential clash with Liberal moderates was foreshadowed yesterday with North Sydney MP Trent Zimmerman telling Sky News the debate over religious freedoms was a separate issue to same-sex marriage.

“If Australians vote for marriage equality and then ... the parliament for any reason delays or seeks to obfuscate or seeks to thwart the wishes of the Australian people, then I think the view of our parliament, the view of this process will be significantly diminished,” he said. “We should have it resolved before Christmas, I don’t think Australians will tolerate delay.”

“What we’ve seen during this debate is the conflation of a whole range of issues which frankly have nothing to do with the Marriage Act. And they can be debated. Protecting religious freedoms is something that Liberals feel very strongly about. But they shouldn’t be confused with this bill which is designed to deliver marriage equality.”

While the bill being proposed by conservatives gives effect to changing the definition of marriage to include same-sex couples, it proposes more than 80 amendments covering six key protection provisions that Senator Paterson insists would ensure Australia’s obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

The most contested amendment is likely to arise from a new definition of “conscientious objection” which offers protection to anyone from being forced to participate in a same-sex wedding “against their sincerely held ­beliefs”.

Anti-detriment laws would also be applied to prevent government agencies taking adverse action against a person who holds a ­traditional marriage belief and ­extend that shield protection to professions that are licensed, such as doctors and lawyers. Businesses and individuals would, however, not be included, preserving freedom of association.

Charities that held a belief in traditional marriage could not be stripped of their charitable status, as has occurred in other countries, while Christian schools and institutions would be protected in teaching traditional marriage.

Most critical to the case put by MPs, is parents’ rights to choose to remove their children from school classes that conflict with their values, providing a safeguard for parents who object to the controversial Safe Schools program.

The Private Member's Bill:

Friday, 3 November 2017

Abbott's love affair with US 'hate group'


“Alliance Defending Freedom seeks to recover the robust Christendomic theology of the 3rd, 4th, and 5th centuries. This is catholic, universal orthodoxy and it is desperately crucial for cultural renewal. Christians must strive to build glorious cultural cathedrals, rather than shanty tin sheds.” — Blackstone Legal Fellowship website, 2014
In January 2016 sacked former Australian prime minister Tony Abbott addressed a far-right Christian ‘hate group' in New York USA during the parliamentary break, on the subject of family values and marriage.
On 23 October this year the Courier Mail reported:

backbencher and staunch “no” advocate, Tony Abbott has made the decision to return to the US at the end of the month and once again address the Christian right-wing organisation, the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF).

Defined by the Southern Poverty Law Centre (SPLA) in the US as an anti-LGBTI hate group, the ADF not only supports the recriminalisation of homosexuality — in the US and overseas — but according to the SPLC website, it has also “defended state-sanctioned sterilization of trans people abroad; has linked homosexuality to paedophilia and claims that a ‘homosexual agenda’ will destroy Christianity.”

Abbott states he’s “honoured” to be invited to speak to this group again…..

While his first trip to the US to speak to the ADF last year drew raised brows and concerns, this second trip is obviously timed to ensure Abbott will not only have whatever ammunition he needs to water down any consequent legislation arising out of a conscience vote on SSM, but also demonstrate his zealotry towards another cause that, post being PM and regardless of his party’s position, he’s made his own.

This second time around Abbott once again turned to family values and marriage, with the addition of the same-sex marriage postal survey currently underway.

Offering up gems such as these: 

“Romantic love alone can’t always sustain the life-long commitment and the shared sacrifice for the common good that’s at the heart of marriage. We will all lose, in the brave new world of same sex marriage, if commitment is watered down; and if fewer people marry, fewer couples have children, fewer relationships last, and fewer children have stable homes” 
and 
“Campaigns for same sex marriage and the like are a consequence of our civilizational self-doubt and the collapse of cultural self-confidence. The decline of belief has meant a reluctance to assert principles and a fear of giving offence. We find it hard to say “no” to gays who want to marry; just as we’re finding it hard to say “no” to Muslims who want several wives. We’re reluctant to let Christian parents take their children out of sex education classes; but once the local imam gets involved, I suspect, our cultural diffidence and our double standards might start to run the other way. Here in America, organisations like the Alliance Defending Freedom are a sign that Western civilisation still has its friends. The organisation in Australia, as yet largely informal, as yet basically ad hoc, as yet nameless, that has sprung into being to defend marriage shows that, in my country too, there remain embers of respect for our traditions.

Thursday, 2 November 2017

Saturday, 21 October 2017

Horse's Rear of the Year


Anthony John ‘Tony’ Abbott
Liberal Member for Warringah & sacked former Australian Prime Minister
On the subject of the 2017 Same Sex Marriage national voluntary survey

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Australian Bureau of Statistics has carriage of the national voluntary same-sex marriage postal survey - a visual answer to the question "What could possibly go wrong?"


Images of just some instances highlighting predictable issues concerning the Turnbull Government’s national same-sex marriage voluntary postal survey……..
















But wait, there’s more…….




There were 16.0 million electors on the Commonwealth Electoral Roll as of 30 August 2017,

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics by 29 September 2017 only est. 9.2 million of these people had returned a completed voluntary same-sex marriage postal survey form.

Another 13.6 million completed and returned forms would see a survey response rate no politician would dare argue with if he or she hoped to keep their seat at the next federal election.

If over 90 per cent of enrolled electors could turn out to vote for a national song in 1977, surely just as many could get their finger out in 2017 and answer one simple question: "Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry?"

The same-sex marriage survey closes in 30 days time at 6pm local time on Tuesday, 7 November 2017. Survey forms received by the Australian Bureau of Statistics after this will not be counted in official results.

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Tweet of the Week



Saturday, 30 September 2017

Quotes of the Week


“A Trump adviser says that after a tumultuous seven months in office, it had finally dawned on the president: "People really f@&@ing hate me." For someone who has spent his life lapping up adulation, however fake, it was a harsh realization. This is a man with an especially acute need for affirmation.” [Co-founder of Axios & Politico Mike Allen writing on Axios, 9 September 2017]

“Step 1: talk about freedom. Step 2: talk about the children. Step 3: mention the 260 genders that will result from a Yes vote.” [Journalist Charlie Lewis writing in Crikey about the Turnbull Government’s voluntary same-sex marriage postal survey, 11 September 2017]

“It is almost impossible to dislodge the idea that an expensively-suited conservative man is a competent leader.” [Author and sessional academic at Western Sydney University School of Law Ingrid Matthews writing in Independent Australia, 14 September 2017]

“Malcolm Turnbull was angry. Then Scott Morrison was angry. Barnaby Joyce was next to be angry. Josh Frydenberg then became very angry. And in his final answer for the week Malcolm Turnbull spoke about love. Truly. And in keeping to the theme, as he spoke about love, he became very angry.”  [Labor MP for Watson Tony Burke blogging about the House of Representatives, 15 September 2017]

“I can’t help wondering whether a woman in power is automatically seen as illegitimate, so electorates, media and opponents are quick to accept rumour and innuendo as fact.” [Jane Caro writing in The Saturday Paper, 16 September 2017]

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

"Dear neighbours, Writing to you like this is taking me well out of my comfort zone but the government has made it necessary because of the postal survey. I am writing to seek your approval for my partner and I to marry."


The Daily Examiner, Letter to the Editor, 15 September 2017:

Same-sex plea

Here is the text of a letter I will be sending to all my immediate neighbours: 

“Dear neighbours, Writing to you like this is taking me well out of my comfort zone but the government has made it necessary because of the postal survey. I am writing to seek your approval for my partner and I to marry.

Some of you may know us or know of us. We have lived in Yamba for two years now and settled well into the community. You may know Dean from when he worked at the cafe in town, or at the bottle shop. You may have seen me working with Landcare or at the museum, and I’ve been pretty active opposing the installation of traffic lights at Treelands Drive. Maybe you’ve seen us together doing the shopping at Coles, enjoying the beach or sharing a drink with friends at the Pacific of a Friday afternoon.

In other words, we are ordinary people going about our lives in an ordinary way, and striving to put back in to the community when we can.

All we ask now is that our relationship be granted the same respect (including legal rights but not just that) that others are able to take for granted when they marry.

This is not make-believe, we are not just playing house, we have been together for 15 years and cannot imagine not being together. We have been together through good times and bad, holidays, illness, family celebrations like weddings, the arrival of new nieces and nephews, and we have supported each other through tough times too like the loss of loved ones.

We would dearly love to declare and celebrate our relationship very publicly with our family and friends.

We have no other agenda. No scheme to infiltrate schools and indoctrinate children. I was a teacher for 24 years and wouldn’t dream of supporting anything I thought could be harmful to them. We don’t seek to restrict anyone’s religious freedom. I am more than happy to respect the beliefs of others, I just don’t want them imposed on me.

The postal survey must seem a terrible waste of time and money to most of you.

I agree. It is not how I would have preferred to see this question resolved. But it is here and while it might seem of little import to most of you, and will have no direct effect on most of you, to Dean and I it is critically important. The thought that it might not be approved is to be honest a bit scary and pretty hurtful.

We respectfully ask you to consider what I have said and return your postal ballot with a YES response.

Graeme East, Yamba

Sunday, 24 September 2017

"My daughter doesn't need my permission to get married. But she needs yours."


The Daily Examiner, Letter to the Editor, 15 September 2017:

Marriage certification

Those of us who thought, like the old song, that “love and marriage go together like a horse and carriage” have had a lot of confusing information thrown at us recently about same-sex couples and the way their non-marriages give them all the same rights as married people. My wife and I were surprised, therefore, to attend the Roads and Maritime Service Centre last week to change our car registration, where we were asked to produce our marriage certificate.

This led me to wonder what other equal rights might not be there, particularly when my daughter, currently unable to marry her long-time partner, gets to our age.

Will she be asked for a marriage certificate if her not legally recognised wife is in hospital, or worse? Australia Post apparently charges hundreds of dollars for a name change, but not if you can provide a – you guessed it – marriage certificate.

Those who oppose same sex marriage are resting their hopes on the oldies like me.

But if you think we are going to support discrimination against our own kids and grandkids, you are about to be very disappointed.

My daughter doesn’t need my permission to get married. But she needs yours. Please join me in voting YES.

Desmond Bellamy, Byron Bay

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Marriage Equality and levels of community support


The Guardian, 21 August 2017:

A majority of Australians favour changing the law to allow same-sex couples to marry and over 80% of respondents also plan to vote in the looming postal survey, according to the latest Guardian Essential poll.

The latest weekly survey of 1,817 voters found that 57% of the sample favours a change to the law to allow marriage equality, with 32% against and 11% saying they don’t know.

People most supportive of the change are Labor voters (71%), Greens voters (69%), women (65%) and voters aged between 18-34 (65%).

Asked about the likelihood of voting in the non-compulsory postal ballot, 63% said they would definitely vote, 18% said they would probably vote, 4% said they would probably not vote and 6% said they would definitely not vote – with 9% unsure.

Yes voters are more likely to participate than no voters. Seventy-four per cent of those in favour of same-sex marriage will definitely vote compared with 58% of those opposed.

Close to 90% of respondents (88%) said they were enrolled to vote at their current address, while 7% said they weren’t and 5% were unsure. Supporters of same-sex marriage are a bit more likely to be enrolled than those who are opposed (92% compared with 86%).

The ballot itself remains deeply contentious, with 49% of the sample disapproving of it and 39% approving. The postal ballot has become more unpopular since marriage equality advocates confirmed they would challenge it in the high court.

NOTE:

Challenges to the voluntary postal survey were dismissed by the High Court of Australia on 7 September 2017.

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Is the self-inflicted reputational loss suffered by the Australian Bureau of Statistics having a negative impact on the same-sex marriage voluntary postal survey?


 “An Australian Marriage Law Survey Form will be sent by post to every eligible Australian. It will be sent to the address on the Commonwealth Electoral Roll.” [www.abs.gov.au, 8 September 2017]
A reader recently contacted North Coast Voices stating that:

“Two weeks ago I rang the ABS to ask whether I could send my marked postal survey back to them in a plain envelope because as I said to them, I don't trust them. They told me that my survey form would not be counted. I also spoke to my Federal Parliamentarian about this.”

I suspect that this question has been asked a number of times by concerned citizens.

Which raises a question - Is the self-inflicted reputational loss suffered by the Australian Bureau of Statistics in 2016 having a negative impact on the same-sex marriage voluntary postal survey?

The Bureau declares that survey respondents will have their privacy protected and that no-one will be able to identify an individual with their response on the survey form.

However, these survey forms come with a barcode which apparently identifies Commonwealth Electoral Roll eligibility of the recipient and the electoral division in which an individual lives.

So a plain envelope return of the survey form will not hide the survey respondent's identity.

The Bureau has anticipated widespread mistrust in its ability to conduct this national survey without a monumental blunder à la Census 2016. 

Accoding to its website a survey response will be considered invalid if; The printed barcode on the form is missing or altered.
It seems the only individuals with some form of privacy protection are those who are registered as ‘silent voters’ on the electoral roll - they at least will allegedly have their residential address hidden from the ABS and survey forms mailed out by the Australian Electoral Commission in an AEC envelope.

Monday, 4 September 2017

Mocking ACL's Lyle Shelton and parodying anti-same sex marriage advertising is about to reach peak viral


Here are the latest in my timeline – enjoy!

So you held out a hope that the Turnbull Government's use of the SSM postal survey results would be straightforward?


The forthcoming Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey will contain one clearly worded question: “Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry?”

This question can be answered “Yes” or “No” by those Australian citizens on the Commonwealth Electoral Roll who choose to participate.

The Turnbull Government has stated that a simple majority survey result will mean that legislation legalising same-sex marriage will be introduced in the federal parliament.

However, the vote of government senators and MPs will not be bound by the results of this survey – their vote on this legislation is a ‘free’ vote.

Almost sounds kosher, doesn’t it?

Ah, but this is a government full of far-right warriors determined to protect a ‘superior’ white Christian culture which has only ever really existed in their own minds and the minds of their fellow travellers.

So the Australian Bureau of Statistics website carries this information concerning the postal survey:


Readers will notice that survey results will be broken down by age and gender and, more importantly, by state or territory and federal electorates.

Call me cynical, but these demographic groupings will allow both the Turnbull Cabinet and all government senators and MPs to decide if survey participation in their own Liberal and National Party seats was either high enough or low enough for them to risk voting against same-sex marriage legislation and yet still have a chance of retaining their Senate or House of Representatives seats (as well as those generous parliamentary incomes & entitlements) in 2018.

So for those living in the federal electorates of Aston, Banks, Barker, Bennelong, Berowra, Bonner, Boothby, Bowman, Bradfield, Brisbane, Calare, Canning, Capricornia, Casey, Chisholm, Cook, Corangamite, Cowper, Curtin, Dawson, Deakin, Dickson, Dunkley, Durack, Fadden, Fairfax, Farrer, Fisher, Flinders, Flynn, Forde, Forrest, Gilmore, Gippsland, Goldstein, Grey, Groom, Hasluck, Higgins, Hinkler, Hughes, Hume, Kooyong, La Trobe, Leichardt, Lyne, Mackellar, Mallee, Maranoa, McMillan, McPherson, Menzies, Mitchell, Moncrieff, Moore, Murray, New England, North Sydney, O’Connor, Page, Parkes, Pearce, Petrie, Reid, Riverina, Robertson, Ryan, Stirling, Stuart, Swan, Tangney, Wannon, Warringah, Wentworth, Wide Bay, and Wright – your “Yes” or “No”  is probably going to count much more to these 76 Coalition MPs than those of everyone else.

Because the likes of Tony Abbott MP for Warringah, Kevin Andrews MP for Menzies and Andrew Hastie MP for Canning are only going to be swayed by what they perceive as their own self-interest.

For them it has never been about an individual's dignity, human rights or equality.

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

The anti-same sex marriage lobby and below-the-radar bedfellows


There is not much transparency in the same-sex marriage debate ahead of the voluntary postal vote.

Take these websites which appear to have been purpose created in the last twelve months wth the deliberate aim of influencing voters on a specific issue…….

The Big Deal About Marriage at http://www.thebigdealaboutmarriage.com.au and It’s OK To Say NO at http://www.oktosayno.com.au.

These sites are registered by the Trustee for Antidote and Dean Millington according to Whois DOMAINTOOLS.

The Trustee for Antidote is a discretionary services management trust which has been operating since 2005 under the trading name ANTIDOTE Marketing and Dean Millington is a director.


The company does not appear to list any individual or anti same-sex marriage lobby group amongst its predominately pharma & health services clients.

According to Antidote website and Millington amongst these clients/business partners are:

Pfizer
Sanofi
Allergan
Novartis
AstraZeneca
Menarini
Link
Fresenius Kabi
Princeton Health
Princeton Digital
Ergo Advertising
VIVA Communications
PracticeProfiles
PharmEngage
Data Jukebox
DCM Partners
.

I wonder if these companies feel comfortable being (albeit remotely) associated with two anti-gay marriage websites which produce what are essentially simplistic, irrelevant, nonsensical or downright dubious conclusions from sometimes misrepresented data and studies.

For instance Pfizer Australia states on its own website:

Pfizer Australia employs more than 1,700 scientists, chemists, doctors, marketers, machine operators and other professional colleagues. We provide opportunities in a range of fields including medical, research and development, manufacturing, health economics, marketing and sales and regulatory affairs.
Pfizer Australia is committed to the recruitment, advancement and fair treatment of individuals without discrimination based on factors such as race, disability, sex, age, ethnic or national origin, religion, citizenship, family or marital status, political beliefs, sexual preference or other factors included in the Equal Employment Opportunity Legislation. Our Pfizer Values have ensured that this statement is more than a legal obligation. It is a way of life and a business-driven philosophy.

One suspects that this large multinational corporation would perhaps prefer to hold a neutral position on the current same-sex marriage debate in this country.

Given that these linked anti-same sex marriage websites offer site visitors a booklet written by Dr Con Kafataris, a member of the Christian Democratic Party (CDP), who publicly promotes “the case for traditional and Biblical marriage” one might suspect either the doctor or the CDP financed this website.

Either way, at the time of writing this post these websites were careful to make no mention of ownership or funding details.

Monday, 28 August 2017

Legality of Same-Sex Marriage voluntary postal survey to be decided by High Court of Australia on 5 September 2017


On the question of whether the law should be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry…..

On 8 August 2017 the Turnbull Government announced it would proceed with a voluntary postal plebiscite if the Senate again refused to pass the Bill for a compulsory attendance plebiscite.

On 9 August the Finance Minister announced that the Australian Bureau of Statistics would conduct a voluntary postal survey of citizens registered to vote.

On 10 August proceedings were commenced in the High Court challenging the minister’s power to expend monies to conduct this survey.

High Court of Australia, August 2017:


Documents*
10/08/2017 Application for an order to show cause
10/08/2017 Notice of constitutional matter (Plaintiffs)
11/08/2017 Hearing (Single Justice, Sydney v/ link Melbourne)
14/08/2017 Amended Application for an order to show cause
16/08/2017 Appearance (Defendant 4, Submitting)
17/08/2017 Hearing (Single Justice, Brisbane v/link Melbourne & Sydney)
23/08/2017 Written submissions (Plaintiffs)
23/08/2017 Chronology
30/08/2017 Written submissions (Defendants)
01/09/2017 Reply
05/09/2017 Hearing (Full Court, Melbourne)
*The due dates shown for documents on this page are indicative only. 

Related matter:
M106/2017 – Australian Marriage Equality Ltd & Anor v. Minister for Finance Mathias Cormann & Anor

  Documents*
10/08/2017 Writ of summons
10/08/2017 Statement of claim
10/08/2017 Notice of constitutional matter (Plaintiffs)
11/08/2017 Hearing (Single Justice, Sydney v/link Melbourne)
14/08/2017 Amended Statement of claim
16/08/2017 Defence (First Defendant)
16/08/2017 Submitting Appearance (Second Defendant)
17/08/2017 Hearing (Single Justice, Brisbane v/link Melbourne & Sydney)
21/08/2017 Special case
23/08/2017 Written submissions (Plaintiffs)
23/08/2017 Chronology
30/08/2017 Written submissions (First Defendant)
01/09/2017 Reply
05/09/2017 Hearing (Full Court, Melbourne)
*The due dates shown for documents on this page are indicative only.