Tuesday 17th of July 2018

divided, they stand like old drunks, unable to stop an own goal...


In the eyes of one Cabinet minister, today's special Liberal partyroom meeting on same-sex marriage is an exercise in elevating a fifth order issue into a crisis.

Welcome to another day at the office for the Turnbull Government.

The most likely outcome of the meeting is a reaffirmation of a plebiscite, which could morph into a postal vote. That is fraught with problems, some of which were articulated by Malcolm Turnbull in 1997 when the Howard government opted to use the mail to elect delegates to the Constitutional Convention on the Republic.

Then, Mr Turnbull said, the process was designed to disenfranchise migrants, the young, and Indigenous Australians.

"This postal ballot is going to push to the margins of our political society those people who are already on the margins," he said.

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malcolm: "do we have to really decide sumpthin'"?


Five Liberal MPs released an unprecedented joint statement in support of Dean Smith’s marriage equality bill, attracting overwhelming support from advocates as the Liberal party prepared for a bruising debate in a special party room meeting.

But the outcome of the issue remains in play, as Malcolm Turnbull is under pressure from supporters to allow a free vote and opponents urge him to stick to the policy of a plebiscite.

The prime minister called the meeting to allow discussion after Smith made it clear he was preparing the bill to come before the parliament. The Liberal meeting will not start until 4pm and it follows the National party meeting on Friday, which supported the existing plebiscite policy.

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time to have a free vote in parliament...

After having made a mess of the NBN and of the clean energy policies of this fair country, Malcolm-the-Debonaire is about to go for a convoluted non-binding system of plebiscite through postal back-door entry to nowhere, to satisfy some rabid "freedom" fighters in his "freedom"-loving party who certainly don't want a free vote on the issue of same sex marriage, nor any other issues. Totally idiotic and fascist... 

It's time to have a free vote in parliament. That's what we elect these idiots for: DE-MO-CRA-CY. 

not divided, but stupid in their compromised CONsensus...

'Groundhog day'

Parliament is back after a long winter break filled with constitutional drama and resignations, but some things haven't changed. The Coalition is sticking with its plebiscite on same sex marriage. 

The bill will now go back to the Senate for another vote as early as this week, but it is likely to be dead on arrival. Labor and a majority of the crossbench oppose it and want a vote in Parliament. 

But the Coalition has a card up it's sleeve: a voluntary postal vote. They see that as fulfilling an election commitment and bypassing a hostile Senate. But that option isn't without critics. 

A postal vote will face a legal challenge and a number of Liberal MPs are worried about it's legitimacy. The Coalition may use that to encourage Labor to back the plebiscite proper. 

The Government also hasn't revealed how much a postal vote would cost. It says it has legal advice showing a postal ballot could withstand a legal challenge, but won't release it. 

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a painful postal poll...

From David Marr


Australian politics does only one thing superbly: delay the inevitable.

Whatever the high court decided on Thursday, equal marriage was going to happen. One way or another, this year or next, parliament will vote for a change that’s now accepted across the western world.

All the court did was leave an obstacle in its path.

Don’t doubt this is a great victory for the backers of the vote. The idea came out of Queensland, the brainchild of LNP opponents of change. Peter Dutton had the gall to call it a “cleaner process” than a parliamentary vote.


And it was always a get-around. The postal vote never had the support of parliament. That was the whole point. And the high court has been happy to back the strategy of sidestepping the Senate.

Out on the right there’s a narrative that courts are undemocratic. It’s an American idea born out of rage that the US supreme court has allowed black kids into white schools, women to have abortions, and blokes to marry each other.

How different it is in Australia. How reluctant the high court is to block the strategies of government. This is, after all, the court that has allowed this country to imprison refugees on distant Pacific islands.

We’ve yet to see the reasons for Thursday’s decisions. They may be spellbinding. But finding a way to hold a public vote on equal marriage without parliamentary approval is going to take some fancy footwork.


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Gus: I think that we should dismiss parliament and the government — and hold postal votes on all the issues of the day, including going to war or not. As a non-binding vote, then the monkey in charge of the levers might ignore it altogether or not. Same result. Ipso-facto, we should replace the entire government and all the justice of the high court with one monkey. Save cash and this would be more efficient.