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John Passant

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August 2009



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My interview Razor Sharp 18 February
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp on Tuesday 18 February. (0)

My interview Razor Sharp 11 February 2014
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp this morning. The Royal Commission, car industry and age of entitlement get a lot of the coverage. (0)

Razor Sharp 4 February 2014
Me on 4 February 2014 on Razor Sharp with Sharon Firebrace. (0)

Time for a House Un-Australian Activities Committee?
Tony Abbott thinks the Australian Broadcasting Corporation is Un-Australian. I am looking forward to his government setting up the House Un-Australian Activities Committee. (1)

Make Gina Rinehart work for her dole

Sick kids and paying upfront


Save Medicare

Demonstrate in defence of Medicare at Sydney Town Hall 1 pm Saturday 4 January (0)

Me on Razor Sharp this morning
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace this morning for Razor Sharp. It happens every Tuesday. (0)

I am not surprised
I think we are being unfair to this Abbott ‘no surprises’ Government. I am not surprised. (0)

Send Barnaby to Indonesia
It is a pity that Barnaby Joyce, a man of tact, diplomacy, nuance and subtlety, isn’t going to Indonesia to fix things up. I know I am disappointed that Barnaby is missing out on this great opportunity, and I am sure the Indonesians feel the same way. [Sarcasm alert.] (0)



Protests for same-sex marriage rights across Australia

This article, by Liam Byrne, first appeared in this month’s Socialist Alternative.  Liam is National Queer officer in the National Union of Students.

The August 1 national day of protest for same-sex marriage was a resounding success.

During the course of the day 5,000 people marched in Melbourne, 1,500 in Sydney, and 500 in Brisbane. There were also rallies in Canberra, Hobart, Adelaide, Lismore, and elsewhere, far eclipsing previous years rallies for same-sex marriage rights in terms of numbers and energy.

Several factors meant there was particular heat to the issue this year. 2009 is the fifth year anniversary of the ban on same-sex marriage, which increased the moral impetus to come out and protest.

But an even greater reason was the sense of betrayal and unfairness from the Rudd Labor Government. Rudd amended 84 discriminatory laws against gay and lesbian people in 2008, and has paraded around as if this was equality. But at the ALP national conference which the rally was held to coincide with, Rudd and Labor refused to even debate the introduction of same-sex marriage rights, and instead have expected gay and lesbian people to be happy with a relationship registry.

Resoundingly, the gay and lesbian community have rejected any such idea that we can have equality before marriage, and this was expressed in the turn out and mood of the August 1 rallies.

In Melbourne Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young announced Labor’s back down, to a collective boo from the crowd. Many felt deeply let down by a government they had some hopes in, and have found to be just as bigoted and beholden to the powerful in society as the Liberal Party.

Everywhere the rallies were boisterous and loud. Adding to the emotion of the day were mass illegal weddings, in which approximately 200 same-sex couples were “illegally wed” across the country.

Protestors in Melbourne braved the bad weather and on the main were prepared to sit through a ninety minute program of speeches and entertainment before marching from Federation Square to the relationship registry on Spring Street.

Once the rally got marching, it was an impressive sight, with the start of the rally having to stop marching half-way up Collins street, as we were told that there were still hundreds of people in Federation square waiting to march out but who hadn’t been able to because the numbers were so many.

Right throughout the march there were groups chanting at the top of their lungs, borrowing some chants from the campaign for marriage rights in the US, including “gay, straight, Black or white, marriage is a civil right”.

As we were basking in the sight of thousands of people taking ownership over the streets of Melbourne, one member of the Equal Love team turned to me with joy and excitement and said: “it’s like something out of Milk“.

This mood was reflected by the diversity of the crowd. A number of families brought along their children. There were also elderly people, and a large number of young gay and lesbians and their friends who had not been to protests before.

Wielding home-made signs with slogans such as “I’m Gay, Get Over It’, many had come through Face book, or by seeing one of the posters the campaign has been putting up, or grabbing a leaflet in the city, and dragging along their social network of friends and families to attend the rally.

This meant that many of the people there, particularly those of high school and university age, had come from outside of the city, and had no connections to the mainstream gay and lesbian community groups.

Most of the mobilising work for the rallies was done by Socialist Alternative, the National Union of Students, and the broader Equal Love group.

If the community groups had really thrown their weight behind the demonstration, and not just lent their name to it, then this fantastic demonstration may have been even more of a success.

A key aim of the demonstration was to force a debate on the issue of same-sex marriage, an issue that was resoundingly achieved. All year voice after voice has been added to the calls for marriage equality, and the support just keeps getting bigger.

Rudd didn’t want to debate marriage as part of Labor’s stage managed national conference, and unfortunately, the left of the party were only too happy to oblige him.

By our actions on August 1 we forced Labor to acknowledge the issue, and we raised the murmurings of dissent that are rippling through society into a collective roar.




Comment from Les Percy
Time August 5, 2009 at 12:42 pm

One of the problems with Gay marriage is that it is anti-evolutionary and will lead to the extinction of the species if adopted by all.

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