Archive for the ‘Politics: Queensland’ Category

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An Historic Week for LGBT Rights, Nationwide

In Politics: Genral,Politics: Marriage Equality,Politics: Queensland,Politics: Rallies & Protests on December 3, 2011 by mjwill91

The last week has been a fairly monumental week for LGBT rights, nationwide. Earlier this week we saw the Queensland Legislative Assembly pass the Civil Partnerships Bill 2011, a bill allowing for and recognising the validity of same sex relationships. We also saw today the Australian Labor Party officially changing it’s position on same sex marriage, adding it to their party platform.

In a sitting of the Legislative Assembly than ran late into the night, the views of numerous MPs from both sides of the political divide were heard, along with the views of their constituents. The bill passed at 11:10PM with 47 votes (46 Labor MPs and Independent MP Peter Wellington) to 40.

Premier Bligh & Dep. Premier Fraser address a pro-equality rally outside the QLD Legislative Assembly. Photo: Daniel Hurst

Deputy Premier Andrew Fraser said that the Civil Partnerships Bill struck a blow against the discrimination that same sex couples had faced in the path, calling it a “momentous occasion for civil rights in this state”, as Queensland moved into line with Victoria, Tasmania, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory.

In a move considered surprising given his previous vocal support for marriage equality, the non-sitting, de facto leader of the Liberal National Party & former Lord Mayor of Brisbane; Campbell Newman did not allow Liberal National Members a conscience vote on the issue, which raises the question, “what does our alternative Premier actually believe?” or better yet “can we trust what Campbell Newman says?”.

For a little bit of added poignancy, the Civil Partnerships Bill 2011 passed the Legislative Assembly exactly 21 years to the day that Queensland decriminalised homosexuality – how far we’ve come in such a short stretch of time.

Of course, that isn’t the end of the changes that we’ve seen over the last week, with the Federal Labor Party officially changing it’s position on same sex marriage today at the Labor National Conference- unfortunately, as I predicted several months ago, the Prime Minister has, while allowing the party platform to change, has essentially scuppered the debate by allowing it to go to a conscience vote, doomed to fail on the floor of our Parliament.

Senator Wong & ACT Dep. Chief Minister Barr receive pro-Marriage equality petition from GetUp!'s Simon Sheik // Picture: Renee Nowytarger

In October I suggested that the Prime Minister might circumvent the National Conference alltogether, allowing a conscience vote to get shot down before we got to today, effectively “washing her hands” of the issue before it could go to a vote. Well, I wasn’t exactly correct there, but I wasn’t too far off.

By allowing a conscience vote, Julia Gillard; puppet of the right faction, will have her own views on marriage equality unchallenged. A conscience vote in the House of Representatives will not pass… even if Tony Abbott allows a conscience vote (which he won’t, regardless of the Liberal Party being a “broad church”) any amendment to the Marriage Act will not pass.

So. The Prime Minister & the Labor Party can bask in the glory of being a “progressive party”, without being progressive at all. Brilliant… and completely expected as well.

So now we wait. Stephen Jones, ALP MP will be putting up a private members bill at the start of the next sitting period of Parliament – which means another month or so before marriage equality is shot down in flames in the Parliament.

Don’t get me wrong. Today has been a monumental day in the history of LGBT rights in Australia. It’s just, I don’t think any of us should expect anything to come out of it any time soon.

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The Push For Marriage Equality In Australia

In Politics: Genral,Politics: Marriage Equality,Politics: Queensland on June 25, 2011 by mjwill91

Same sex marriage is to the opening decades of the 21st century as civil rights was to the 1960s and the suffrage movement was to the 1920s- an issue which many people in the community see as not being an issue at all, and yet despite this, is something which the “higher ups” and the lobby groups don’t want to touch with a 10ft pole. The push for the legalisation and recognition of same sex marriage in Australia has never been stronger than it is now, with every state branch of the Australian Labor Party (sans New South Wales) passing motions in support of amending the Marriage Act to allow for same sex marriage.

Bligh at the QLD State Labor Conference

Premier of Queensland and National President of the Australia Labor Party Anna Bligh said of the move by QLD State Labor to support same sex marriage last week,

I was very pleased to see marriage equality supported by the Labor conference, It’s an issue of basic human rights and fairness [and] legal recognition for pairings based on love is perfectly reasonable regardless of gender” 

Despite this, we have at the federal level a woman, who to all outwardly appearances seemed to be a liberal (note the use of the lowercase “L”), socially progressive and secular leader, but who in reality is actually at the very least a closet-quasi-conservative and at the worst, someone whom actively deceived her way into power by pretending to stand for social progression, or alternatively- she might well be a liberal, socially progressive and secular leader, simply held to ransom by the powerful Catholic dominated far-right faction of the party, too weak willed, too insipid to actually make a stand and take a risk for something that is ultimately in the best interests of a egalitarian society.

So what is all the fuss about? Well- it comes back to this: some people believe that because a several thousand year old manuscript of dubious quality makes a passing comment about the sanctity of marriage in ancient Judea and that the institution was between a man and a woman only, that means that is the way it must stay forever. Some see marriage as something more than it actually is, some see it as a divine covenant with/ or promise between us and “God”. In reality- it isn’t anything like that. Marriage isn’t divine. Marriage isn’t a promise to God. Marriage is a legal contract between two people that creates and recognises kinship. Marriage isn’t presided over by a divine Judeo-Christian arbiter, it’s controlled by the Marriage Act 1961 (Cth), an Act of the Parliament of Australia which governs and defines legal marriage in Australia, made possible by section 51 (xxi) of the Australian Constitution which determines that it is to be dealt with on a federal level.

So, there is nothing mystical, magical or divine about marriage in this country. It’s a legal contract, controlled by Commonwealth legislation and the argument that same sex marriage is an affront to God is invalid when you consider that fact. God doesn’t factor into the equation at all. Therefore, any and all discrimination re: same sex marriage on the grounds of it infringing on the rights of religious groups and organisations is also totally moot.

The Empire State Building goes Rainbow for Pride Week

The move by the US State of New York to allow same sex marriage is not only a step in the right direction in a country which to be fair is a societal backwater and a mire of inequity but also a clear challenge to the current Australian Government. The Marriage Equality Act passed by the New York State Senate was made all the more remarkable by the fact it passed in a Republican controlled Senate with the help of Republican senators crossing the floor to vote with Democrats senators. If marriage equality legislation can pass through an ideologically hostile Senate in the US, how come our current socially progressive (self-professed but dubiously), left-wing government can’t seem to find the backbone it need to do what is right? If put to a vote, marriage equality legislation would pass through the House of Representatives with at least a two vote majority (based on it NOT being a conscience vote and every ALP candidate voting for it, and everything LibNat voting against it- with Bandt and Wilkie supporting it- Katter not supporting it) and would breeze through soon to be Green Senate.

According to an Australian Marriage Equality commissioned Newspoll taken last month, 3 in 4 Australians over the age of 18 believe that the legalisation and recognisation of same sex marriage by an Australian federal government is inevitable, and an earlier Galaxy Poll suggested that 62% of Australians of voting age and higher believe that gay and lesbian couples should be allowed to marry.

However, despite the numerous calls from the community and the increasing societal support of the issue, our federal government refuses to move on the issue, or even discuss it until at least until the National Conference in December. Now there are several reasons that they are doing this, the first being that same sex marriage legislation is the ace-up-their-sleeve, which they intend to pull out if the primary vote somehow get even more pathetically dismal that it is now. Frankly, politically that isn’t a silly move, morally though- using it as a tool to win votes and possibly another term is ethically dubious to say the least.

JG deep in thought, probably wondering how she can further alienate the voter base...

When asked today whether or not Australia is falling behind on the issue of marriage equality at a press conference this morning in Western Australia (which coincidentally passed a motion in support of marriage equality today) she replied,

“We’ll make our own decisions on this country based on what’s right for Australia, my views in this area are well know” 

It might be “extrapolating” what she said a bit, but seeing as she doesn’t support same sex marriage (her views are well know, if not appreciated- we don’t elect the Prime Minister for their personal opinions, hell- we don’t directly elect them at all) and in her answer she said she’s doing “what’s right for Australia” then would it be a stretch to suggest that not only does Gillard not support same sex marriage, but she actually thinks that the perpetuation of an utterly discriminatory policy is in the country’s best interests….hmm…

In the end though, Gillard’s personal views on the issue mean nothing. In all likelihood she won’t be Prime Minister for too many more years, and despite the nasty conservative surprise that we’ll get when/if/when she get’s dumped in 2013, the fact is that it’ll allow for some of the “rising stars” in the ALPs ranks will be able to rise to positions of greater prominence in the party and maybe, just maybe- they won’t be as beholden to the Archdiocese that is the ALP factional far right.

– Matt. @mjwill90

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Can-Do-Campbell Announces Shift to State Politics

In Politics: Genral,Politics: Queensland on March 22, 2011 by mjwill91

After a good week of speculation we finally got confirmation of what we all suspected, that Can-Do-Campbell our current Lord Mayor is going to capitalise on his current flood-elevated popularity to help sort out the state opposition leadership crisis.

Not the most photogenic political leader...

Without sounding totally arrogant, I had this pegged about two months ago, during the middle of the flood/ TC Yasi crisis. Anna Bligh’s (once an inevitable unPremier) and Campbell Newman’s (once considered totally blunderous) current standing given their handing of the Jan/Feb crisis was the death-knell of political non-person John Paul Langbroek, possibly the worst performing politician during the crisis (Gillard included).

Newman on Coronation Drive during flood crisis.

BrisbaneTimes.com.au reports that a Liberal National insider earlier this morning stated that Cr Newman would be running in a Labor-held seat in metropolitan Brisbane, with the proviso that he would be heir apparent of the LNP and therefore Premier of Queensland following the next state election.

An MP that wanted to remain unnamed apparently stated that this strategy was ‘high-risk’ but, ‘not as high-risk as leaving Mr Langbroek to contest the next poll’.

So, at 10:30 am Brisbane time (best time) this morning Campbell gathered the media outside of the iconic Suncorp Stadium (Lang Park) to announce his future.

‘For some time now, i’ve been deeply concerned at the direction that Queensland is heading in’, Newman started with. He went on to mention coal infrastructure issues, the Labor abandonment of the rural sector, increasing water prices in the South East and increased traffic congestion.

‘I’ve thought long and hard over the last three or so months, and after a lot of soul searching I intend to nominate for the state seat of Ashgrove’. He continued by saying ‘If I am successful in preselection, I will resign the Lord Mayoralty’. Campbell went =on to announce his intention to challenge John-Paul Langbroek for leadership of the Queensland Liberal National Party, as he feels that he is ‘the one to lead the team forward’.

‘I’m willing to sacrifice what I’ve done in Brisbane, in order to protect the state’.

So, the question now is, “who’ll get to wear that sweet mayoral bling next?’

– Matt. @mjwill90