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John Passant

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November 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)



Equal love and the Labor Party

Yesterday my local legislature made same sex civil partnership ceremonies in the Australian Capital Territory legally binding. This is not marriage equality but it is a step in that direction.

The Canberra Labor Party (a minority Government) voted for the Greens’ amendments making same sex civil union ceremonies legally binding. It therefore passed. 

The Liberal Party voted against it.

So why didn’t our Assembly go all the way and legalise gay marriage?

Only the Commonwealth can legislate on marriage. Under the bad old conservative Howard Government marriage was defined as the union between a man and a woman.

The Commonwealth has the power to overturn ACT laws.

The reactionary Howard Liberal Government used those powers in 2006 to overturn a local territory law which had legally binding ceremonies in it.

Fast froward to 2008 and surely under the new progressive Rudd Labor Government things would have changed?

No. That year the Assembly passed the Civil Partnerships Act but removed legally binding ceremonies from the Bill when Federal Labor threatened to overturn the whole Bill if such a provision remained in it.

So the Labor dominated Assembly passed a Civil Partnerships Bill without legally binding ceremonies in it.

Then in October 2008 Canberrans elected a new Assembly with 7 Labor members, 4 Greens and 6 Liberals. Labor is in Government with the support of the Greens.

It was the Greens who drove the change to re-introduce legally binding ceremonies. With the support of local Labor it is now law in the Territory.

But not for long.  Federal Labor will in all likelihood overturn the law. 

They can evidently do this with a stroke of the Governor-General’s pen. So called progressive Governor-General Quentin Bryce will follow Federal Labor’s orders and overrule the legally binding ceremonies law. 

Alternatively they could introduce legislation into the Federal Parliament overturning the ACT’s Civil Partnerships Act in its entirety, including the legally binding ceremonies provisions passed yesterday.

Federal Labor is, as it does on refugees, appealing to the reactionary right among its supporters.

Rather than leading a new discourse on marriage (and refuges) it jumps into bed with the reactionaries, many of whom are not only its voters but in its caucus.

The idea that giving equal status to a same sex loving relationship ‘undermines and mimics marriage’  – the words of labor leftie and Federal Minister for Home Affairs Brendan O’Connor – is nonsensical.

But when you are playing in the pit of irrationality any argument that appeals to your playmates is acceptable. 

As Home Affairs minister the ‘left-wing’ Minister is the same person responsible for keeping refugees (including the 78 asylum seekers on the Oceanic Viking) out of Australia.  ‘Please leave your principles at the door when entering the Ministry.’

There is nothing surprising about this. Labor in office manages capitalism. It is in the interests of capital to divide workers. Race, gender and sexuality are powerful tools in the ongoing containment of working class power.

So while the ACT Assembly has passed an important first step on the road to marriage equality, even that first step is under threat from the reactionary HowRudd Government.

This makes the need for more demonstrations with more people demanding equal love even more important.   The next national demonstration is set for Saturday November 28.  Join us in the fight for equal marriage rights.

The struggle for equal love will be a long and a hard one. It won’t be won within the Labor Party but on the streets and in the workplaces, through demonstrations and campaigns against Labor and their allies, the Liberals.








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