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

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. 

Thursday, 17 August 2017

And so the vileness begins


HuffPost, 10 August 2017:

"In less than 48 hours the Prime Minister has gone from promising to call out extreme voices to guaranteeing their view. He calls that strong leadership. Strong leaders do not need to say I am a strong leader. They prove it with their actions."
Shorten's stunning rebuke of the Government's policy comes after reports the postal vote may be susceptible to voter fraud and that people living overseas or in rural or remote areas may find it difficult to get their vote counted.
Labor and the Greens have been leading the charge against the plebiscite in the parliament, and the day after his senior colleague Penny Wong delivered a scathing rebuke to the voluntary postal vote, Shorten himself rose in the House of Representatives to deal a stinging speech of his own.
Shorten directed his anger squarely at the PM during an impassioned plea for Australians to vote "yes".
While Turnbull has repeatedly said he is a supporter of marriage equality, he's also repeatedly stuck with his predecessor Tony Abbott's policy of a plebiscite on the reform.
He's maintained that position despite multiple LGBTQ advocates and mental health experts (hereherehere and here) demonstrating that a plebiscite would be accompanied by a harmful public debate which may further marginalise the gay community.

It is not hard to find the predicted vileness. Within hours of Malcolm Turnbull’s announcement and Tony Abbott’s anti-marriage equality presser it was popping up on the Internet on social media, in chatrooms and online forums.

I am not going to link to examples as some of those Neanderthal comments are explicit and all are distressing in their ignorance or open hate.

For some politically insane reason Turnbull & Co don’t seem to think they will be publicly called out over their actions.

In this belief they are wrong.

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Are voters really going to trust the Australian Bureau of Statistics with the same-sex marriage plebiscite?


Well here we are. With a federal government so afraid of exercising its constitutional responsibility to make laws concerning marriage and fearful that the High Court might block any move to conduct a compulsory plebiscite without the parliament’s consent.

The Sydney Morning Herald, 8 August 2017:

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann confirmed the government would "ask the Senate to reconsider" the compulsory plebiscite, which was "clearly our preference".

But "if that were to fail, the government believes we have a legal and constitutional way forward" to commission a non-legislated, voluntary postal vote, he said.

And who is going to conduct this voluntary postal vote?

Why that national statistical agency which is intent on collecting, matching and monetising every piece of data it can on each and every Australian. The very agency which gave the nation #CensusFAIL in 2016.

The Sydney Morning Herald, 8 August 2017:

Ask the Australian Bureau of Statistics when it knew about its role in the postal plebiscite, ask if it knew at all, ask whether it has the capacity to conduct the plebiscite, and you'll be told it's saying nothing. It's referring all such questions to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and the Finance Minister Mathias Cormann.

Which is odd, because it's an autonomous agency used to speaking for itself. And the Finance Minister and the Prime Minister aren't the ministers it reports to. It reports to the Treasurer, through the Small Business Minister Michael McCormack. It was McCormack and the head of the ABS, David Kalisch, who kept the public updated during the computer meltdown that came to define the 2016 census.

At a cost of $122 million, the postal plebiscite would become the second-biggest project it's ever undertaken, after the $350 million census…..

Whereas in recent years the ABS has tried to hang on to the names and addresses of those that it surveys and link them to answers (in what many see as an invasion of privacy) each response to the plebiscite will have to be kept secret.

The ABS is, on the face of it, the wrong organisation to be conducting the plebiscite. So why it, rather than the Australian Electoral Commission?

One reason is that only governors-general can call elections, and the High Court is likely to decide that an AEC-conducted plebiscite is much the same as an election. The ABS already has the power to conduct surveys……. 

An ABS 'opinion poll' conducted without the authority of Parliament would be better able to withstand a High Court challenge than the AEC ballot conducted without the authority of Parliament.

On a practical level, the ABS is the worst-placed organisation to conduct such a postal plebiscite. It moves slowly. It needs (more than) five years notice to prepare each census. In recent years it has abandoned the commitment to total privacy that used to define it. And it is trying to move its surveys online.

The wrong organisation to be conducting the plebiscite?

It almost goes without saying that the high level of trust in the Australian Bureau of Statistics fell a few degrees after the 2016 Census debacle and it is likely that public confidence will be somewhat shaky with regard to its ability to run at such short notice what is less a plebiscite and more an unofficial national postal survey.

The ABS has issued this assurance:

The ABS assures Australians that there will be no personal identifiers on the survey form and all materials will be destroyed by the ABS at the end of processing.

However, not everyone will be comforted by this undertaking as so much can go wrong when such a large survey is conducted in such haste.

In 60 days time the ABS intends to have distributed the survey quesion to all registered voters, received the answers back in the post, collated those answers and published the result on 15 November 2017.

It may be that the most attractive thing about the ABS for the Turnbull Government is that its recent history might make some voters think twice about participating in this postal vote and, therefore deliver a participation rate that can be repudiated as not being genuinely representative if most Liberal and Nationals MPs and senators still want to block marriage equality becoming law.

A challenge to this government poll was lodged with the High Court of Australia on 10 August 2017, by lawyers acting on behalf of independent MP Andrew Wilkie, Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) and lesbian parent Felicity Marlowe.

The defendents are listed as the Commonwealth of Australia, Minister for Finance, Treasurer, Australian Statistician and Electoral Commissioner.