Cowardly MPs duck decision to legalise gay marriage … “Let the people decide”, but people have already decided, they are in favour!!
… More taxpayer subsidies for rugby league louts … Lots of dosh for prisons too … Charting the submarine fiasco … NSW Greens unredacted … Great Bores continued ….
MPs duck the issue
By calling for a plebiscite on the introduction of universal marriage rights, Canberra politicians have demonstrated how pathetic and spineless they are.
There was a time when elected MPs took decisions on behalf of the voters who elected them. If the electorate wanted a smoking ban and state aid for church schools, the politicians implemented that policy.
There was a debate in parliament, the House divided, the Senate improved the measure and the country moved forward.
By putting gay marriage to a public vote, cowardly politicians have ducked their responsibility. They have ignored the obvious fact that an overwhelming majority of voters – up to 70% – want same sex citizens to have the marriage rights of heterosexuals.
What should be a governmental responsibility is being shuffled off to “the people”. But it is not as simple as that. As everyone knows, a public vote will unleash religious bigots, Vatican medievalists and American rednecks to invade the debate and influence the outcome.
If politicians are so easily intimidated and want to hand moral and political authority to voters, you have to start wondering what the Westminster style of government is all about.
Parliament is now imitating the crass cowardice of political parties that invite “focus groups” to tell them what policies to adopt and which ones to drop.
But you must have noticed that when Washington snaps its fingers, Canberra politicians jump to attention and send young men and women off to war. However, when the public demands a reforming social change like gay marriage rights, they run for cover and call a plebiscite.
Twenty-one countries have adopted same sex marriage: New Zealand, England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Netherlands, Belgium, France, Spain, Portugal, Luxembourg, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Iceland, Finland, Canada, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and South Africa.
If Australia was led by real leaders with real convictions, same sex marriage would already be enshrined in law. Now the political class, enthusiastically supported by dribblers from the media, is trailing shamefully behind the rest of the world.
Stop subsidising rugby league
NSW Sports Minister Stuart Ayres is married to Defence Minister Senator Marise Payne. As state and federal Cabinet ministers they rake in about half a million dollars a year, plus free domestic air and train travel, chauffeur-driven cars, free phones and internet and generous entertainment expenses.
Ayres is a thoroughbred horse-racing owner; it’s a passion he shares with reactionary Liberal broadcaster Alan Jones.
In one of his latest media outings, Ayres travelled to Sydney’s Olympic Park to spend $20 million of taxpayers’ money on a NSW Rugby League Centre of Excellence.
The new centre will “deliver the highest quality training facilities and ensure the future success of rugby league in this State,” he said. “NSW remains the spiritual home of rugby league.”
Oh really? So why has Queensland won State of Origin nine times in the past 10 years? And in the 35 years of the series, Queensland has won 20 times and NSW only 13, with two draws.
Coalition and Labor governments have been chucking tens of millions of dollars at rugby league for 50 years. Rugby League’s registered clubs have been given poker machines, sports betting, KENO and ATMs to finance gambling addiction.
They have created mini-casinos; directors, executive staff and senior players have grown rich on taxpayer subsidies from state governments and local councils.
No one would mind $20 million for a Centre of Excellence for science, music or art. But rugby league? Give me a break.
Why would any sane-minded taxpayer want to subsidise drunken brawling, match-fixing, gambling, misogyny, girlfriend-bashing, racism, alcoholism, drug addiction and all the other atrocious behaviour associated with the loutish elements in rugby league.
Ayres is a political operator. He is buying votes in Western Sydney for the Liberal Party with our money. Rugby League doesn’t deserve the handout and taxpayers shouldn’t be shelling out for these dead beats when music, the arts and sciences which stimulate imagination and creativity are being rubbed out.
Sport is for everyone who wants to take part, young or old, rich or poor. It should not be a money-making enterprise for souped-up athletes, urgers, spivs, money-launderers and rich gamblers. That’s what socialists believe, anyway.
NSW: Still a convict settlement
Premier Mike Baird’s Coalition government in NSW is building prisons at a rate of knots. The July budget allocated a staggering $3.8 billion for an extra 3,000 inmates and now a contract is on offer for the private management of the mega-John Moroney Jail at Windsor in Sydney’s west.
Three private companies from the security industry have been invited to tender but not the public sector:
– Serco Group Pty Ltd;
– GEO Group Australia Pty Ltd;
– SODEXO Australia Pty Ltd.
Jails Minister David Elliott announced the privatisation of John Moroney with a celebratory press release declaring, “Another milestone in prison reform” – which it certainly isn’t!
John Moroney houses minimum security and remand male prisoners as well as the Dillwynia unit for women. The shift to the private sector means that prisoners will be at the tender mercy of untrained and uneducated guards of the kind that currently inflict abuse and punishment on refugees on Manus and Nauru.
Elliott, a former CEO of the Australian Hotels Association, NSW, is an enthusiastic neo-con who supports privatisation as an article of faith in free market capitalism.
Incidentally, a former Serco executive is Gary Sturgess, director-general of the Cabinet Office during Premier Nick Greiner’s privatisation-obsessed Coalition government (1988-1992).
Wouldn’t it be a marvellous coincidence if the successful bidder was Serco? It would be a win-win for Elliott and Sturgess.
An announcement will be made in February with money to start rolling in to the private managers in June.
After the lavish ceremonial launch of HMS Ambush in 2011, the British Royal Navy’s publicity machine went into over-drive.
The $5 billion Astute class nuclear submarine was unofficially named “the hunter-killer sub” and declared the world’s finest underwater weapon of war.
The coke-induced PR flaks claimed Ambush was equipped with sonar equipment “which enables it to hear a ship leaving port in New York from the English Channel”.
Wow! But there was more: “If the submarine was in Winchester [deep in Hampshire] it would be able to track a double decker bus going round Trafalgar Square.”
Truth caught up with these PR lies in July when the Admiralty admitted that the submarine had struck a passing tanker while surfacing during a training exercise in the Mediterranean near Gibraltar.
The conning tower was damaged but not the nuclear-powered engine. Ambush was towed to the RN base on Gibraltar where it is being repaired away from prying cameras.
If this “state of the art” submarine can’t spot a moving tanker in the Med, what use will it be in the North Sea or the English Channel?
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s government is negotiating with a French consortium to build 12 submarines at a cost of $50 billion (as I said last week it will end up costing something like $120 billion).
A gushing PR offensive is due to begin after the contract is signed and we can expect to hear rubbish such as that RAN subs will be able to detect ship movements in California and bus traffic in the Himalayan alps. You will be able to read all about it in Rupert Murdoch’s Australian and on the “Murdochised” ABC, but don’t believe a word of it.
NSW Greens unredacted – Part III of a series
Greens members and supporters have gathered in the backroom of a pub at Mullumdaffa for a pre-election strategy meeting.
“Can someone read the minutes from the previous meeting?”
“No,” men with beards wearing beanies growled. “Let’s get on with the meeting.”
“Can we elect a chairman?”
“No, no chairman. I am opposed to any paternalistic male-dominated power structure,” said Stephanie.
“Okay, Steph, let’s have a female chairwoman.”
“No, no chairwoman either, and my name’s not Stephanie. Please address me by my legally changed name, Zircon. I remind you that having a chairperson imposes a bureaucratic domination on free expression and oppresses free spirits.”
“Okay, let’s start without a chair and no minutes. Who’s first?”
“Can we all stand for a moment’s silence for the live animals who have been killed with incredible violence in foreign abattoirs?”
“No, we are discussing next month’s election.”
“Alright then, can we ask every candidate to sign a commitment to fight for the abolition of live cow and sheep exports?”
“Objection. That would impose a fascist authoritarian discipline on our candidates. They should be free to exercise their conscience.”
“I agree. But let’s ask all candidates to commit to saving whales and koalas too.”
“What about potoroos?”
“She’s right. We should include the potoroo and flying foxes.”
“Fuck the flying foxes. They are a fucking menace.”
“I object to your language. The use of fucking and other expressions of sexual degradation are entirely inappropriate at a Greens meeting.”
“What about fracking?”
“Please, can we move on to the election manifesto?”
“Top of the list should be a commitment to end vaccinations. We should ban the fascist state from inflicting compulsory invasive assaults on babies and children without their consent.”
“Are you serious?”
“Of course I am. Hundreds of children die in Mullumdaffa each year from the lethal side effects of vaccinations. Thousands more suffer from autism. That’s why most of the people living in Mullumdaffa are mad, depressed or both.”
“Fair point. But can we move on? I think we should make a commitment to legalise gay marriage.”
“Why only gay marriage? What about marriage between trans-gender comrades. They should be allowed legal marriage rights too.”
“Okay then. Full marriage rights for everyone in the LGTBI communities.”
“What about education, health and housing for other people?”
“What do you mean by ‘other’ people? This is a fascist expression of the dominant culture used to oppress gender minorities. It is totally unacceptable.”
At this point, the meeting breaks up amid shouts, jeers and abuse.
I whisper to the people next to me: “Anyone who wants to discuss workplace equality, wage equality, free health and education, affordable housing, renewable energy, environmental protection and disarmament – I’ll be in the public bar.”
A dozen of us, mainly women, leave to develop an action plan for the election.
Next week: Pauline Hanson’s One Nation
Great Bores – 10
I’m sorry, call me an angry white old bloke if you want to, but I’m sick of the way the media is criticising our Olympic athletes who did such a fantastic job in Rio and performed brilliantly and I’ve never felt so proud but typically, the so-called media has come along and pissed all over our heroes and heroines. Okay, it was Australia’s lowest finish on the medals table in 24 years and yes, we weren’t placed fifth as predicted and finished in 10th place with 29 medals, the lowest return since Barcelona in 1992, but all that the press can talk about is late nights on the grog by some athletes when they broke the curfew and stayed till dawn – so what? – they were only doing what Aussies do best which is having a bit of fun. I suppose the Australian Olympic Committee will now start lobbying for more funding for the Olympics even though we spent $332 million on Olympic training for Rio. I’m sorry, but someone is taking us for a ride and I wouldn’t give those Olympics bludgers a single cent, so if we want to win more medals we should call for the inclusion of more events that Aussies are good at, like banana throwing.