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John Passant

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June 2015



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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)



Same sex marriage and the short Parliament

The Liberal and National Parties treated gays and lesbians, and those millions of Australians who have illusions in bourgeois democracy, with contempt on Monday morning. They boycotted Bill Shorten’s introduction of a Bill to amend the Marriage Act to allow same sex marriage.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten introduces the bill.


They used the excuse that Shorten was trying to monopolise the push for change. Now remember, this is from the Liberal Party which binds its members to vote against marriage equality. Abbott has said that at some unspecified future date giving its members a conscience vote. (I will leave aside the obvious rejoinder that we don’t allow conscience votes on laws aimed at addressing other forms of discrimination like race and gender so why single out equal love?)

Abbott has prevaricated about the issue of a conscience vote precisely because he doesn’t want a vote on the issue. It would expose him and his party for the homophobes they are. But let’s be clear. The same attitudes are strong within Labor too. One third of Labor’s elected members boycotted Shorten’s bill too. r.

Shorten has upset the apple cart of do nothingness. Of course it is a cynical move on Labor’s part. This is the same party (and with some of the same personnel) who in 2004 voted for Howard’s amendment limiting marriage to being between a man and women. This is the same party whose leader and Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, came out against same sex marriage when in government. By introducing the Bill now Shorten had hoped he could avoid debating the push by his deputy Tanya Plibersek at Labor’s national conference in late July to mandate that Federal politicians vote for same sex marriage.

If Labor thought same sex marriage was a vote loser they would not be standing on principle now. After all they have abandoned all principle on asylum seekers because they think the working class wants to see governments brutalise refugees. The Irish referendum and 62% vote in favour of equal love has helped change their mind. So too have the years of campaigning by same sex marriage advocates and activists, a decade long campaign that has helped win majority support for equal love. Polls consistently show upwards of 70% of voters support same sex marriage.

The latest Morgan Federal election poll shows that Labor’s vote has gone up to a very very comfortable election win. They say:

The ‘Budget Bounce’ for the Coalition Government has proved short-lived with the ALP 53% (up 2% since May 16/17, 2015) regaining a clear advantage over the L-NP 47% (down 2%) on a two-party preferred basis after Opposition Leader Bill Shorten promised to introduce a private member’s bill to Parliament to allow for a redefinition of marriage under Australian law.

So Shorten might be on an electoral winner. However my cynicism shouldn’t detract from the fact that this was an historic day for equal love in Australia. Tony Abbott and his dwindling gang of homophobes are in a corner. So they will obfuscate; they will drag the chain; the will slow things down – all to avoid a vote.

Their latest comedic lines are that the government is concentrating on its Budget. One hopes a government is capable of doing more than one thing at a time. In any event that concentration on the budget doesn’t seem to exclude bringing forward a vote on stripping dual citizens fighting for ISIS of Australian citizenship. The homophobes are trying to derail a vote through inaction.

However the momentum is against the enemies of love. Ordinary working people want equality, and perhaps, if Ireland is any guide, they support it even more than the middle classes and ruling class.

The homophobes hope they can manoeuvre away from a vote on same sex marriage or that if there is one they can win a majority against equal love. That is why they are stalling. Shorten’s Bill has cut the Gordian knot and put same sex marriage on the politicians’ agenda for resolution this year.

Given the level of public support for same sex marriage I believe Tony ‘Canute’ Abbott cannot now turn back the tide of a vote nor the tide of a successful vote for same sex marriage before the end of the year. We can smell victory. Let’s make it a reality. Increase the pressure on the Parliament now to win equality by the end of the year.



Comment from paul walter
Time June 1, 2015 at 9:39 pm

Don’t forget, it is not just gays the soc cons hate. There are also footballers, orientals, the unemployed, asylum seekers, black people, women, animals and children. And they are making special laws up lately to make sure ALL of the unworthy do not escape the final reckoning (solution?).

Comment from peter piper
Time June 2, 2015 at 8:38 am

what do you say to your muslim and aborigine friends who mostly detest the thought of homosexual activity? Are you calling all muslims ‘homophobes’?? Didn’t think dont have the balls or moral courage
mmm, can hear the wheels of cognisant dissonance grinding from here!!

Comment from John
Time June 2, 2015 at 9:12 am

Ho hum. Another false ‘gotcha’ from the chief reactionary. Á few points. I tell them they are wrong. I explain that they are oppressed and should join with other oppressed people in fighting against their oppressors. I call the leaders of their organisations who push homophobia homophobes. You might find this surprising but as Ireland shows a religious society can support equal love. In part this is because modern capitalism seems to undermine religion and its hold over people. Second once the arguments are put to some religious people they see the rationality of what you are arguing. Third, many working class religious people will be part of the working class democratic revolution and so we need to learn ways to talk to them which disagrees with them but doesn’t reject them. This is different to what approach we take to their leaders who push homophobia.

And of course there are differences within each group that mean we can use the arguments others within their groups put. For example Uncle Jack.

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