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Could there ever be a topic that gives as freely as the push for same sex marriage? It certainly is a cause that arouses great passion form its advocates many of whom try very hard to berate, bully and intimidate their interlocutors when they can not convince them that marriage is only about “love”. If the lesson of human history tells us anything it is that marriage is about many things but prime amongst them is the formalising of a pair bond for the purpose of propagating the species.
As someone who does not endorse changes to the marriage act I have been subject to the abuse I mention. As I have previously argued I don’t think that “marriage” is really desired by same sex couples, rather it is social acceptance of their sexuality something that to a large extent they already have in this country. None the less they seek further affirmation in changing the definition of marriage to include their partnerships. It is a project that will fail even though they do seem to have a reasonable level of support among the young people who are led by their romantic loins when considering such things. My own teenage daughter thinks that my position on same sex marriage is “terrible” and “wrong” none the less I see no reason for me to change my position. which brings me to the recent passing of a bill in the ACT “parliament” to create same sex marriage in that jurisdiction. In the first instance I think its entirely relevant to remind readers how small and insignificant the ACT is at a national level. in many ways the ACT assembly is little more than a glorified Town Council it has sway over an area substantially smaller than any of the major cities of this country and a population that is easily exceeded by many of our provincial towns. So to envision it being on par with the other states or even the Northern territory is entirely wrong headed its a minor town council with delusions of grandeur, which trades upon its responsibility to host the national parliament to inflate its importance. in reality it should focus on the same matters as other town councils, namely roads refuse and rates instead we get cavorts like the same sex marriage nonsense. neatly summed up by Paul Kelly in the OZ:
Only a year ago a same-sex marriage bill was defeated in the House of Representatives 98-42. That is not a close vote. Since then Labor, the main same-sex marriage party, has lost a swag of seats and the Coalition, the main traditional marriage party, has gained seats. The September 2010 debate saw the Coalition vote as a bloc against same-sex marriage. Even if Coalition MPs had voted on conscience the bill would have been defeated by a wide margin. This remains the situation.
Why is this? The explanation, contrary to much same-sex propaganda, is that support for its cause is far more equivocal than it admits and, for many people, there is resistance to the nature of the noisy and often intimidatory same-sex campaign. Telling people who are not persuaded to your position that they are prejudiced or bigots does not, ultimately, assist your cause.
Attorney-General George Brandis announced on October 10 that the commonwealth would challenge the validity of the ACT laws. He had advice from the acting Solicitor-General they were invalid. This was no surprise.
The founding fathers enshrined marriage in the Constitution as one of the legislative powers of the national parliament. Moreover, under section 109 a federal law prevails over a state law “to the extent of the inconsistency” between them. The national parliament ignited the marriage provision in 1961 when the attorney-general, Garfield Barwick, promoted the federal marriage law. Until then, states and territories had regulated marriage.
Barwick’s intent was to honour the purpose of the founding fathers and create a national, consistent and uniform law for marriage in Australia. He specified a free vote for MPs. The issue was not treated as a party matter. His design was embraced by ALP deputy leader Gough Whitlam.
The Abbott government has a firm position: the Barwick design. Brandis stands on the shoulders of Barwick and Whitlam. Brandis has signalled the depth of his own views by saying “it has been understood for more than half a century that there is a single commonwealth law governing marriage”.
Indeed, there has been almost no suggestion since 1961 that states retain a residual power in legislating marriage. Lawyers will dispute the matter. But for many people it is hard to imagine a greater inconsistency between federal law defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman and the state-territory push for same-sex marriage.
In his recent Eureka Street posting, Frank Brennan calls the ACT law “a dog’s breakfast” and shows that it has conflicting definitions of marriage. He warns of the risks in the tactics of the same-sex lobby and says any changes to marriage law should come only by free vote in the national parliament.
States and territories know any marriage laws they pass must be tested in the High Court. It is imperative, given lives are being affected, that test come as fast as possible. Brandis rang the ACT Chief Minister, Katy Gallagher, told her he intended to challenge her law and suggested the ACT not operate its law until the High Court resolved the issue. ACT Attorney-General Simon Corbell later told Brandis there would be no delay.
The situation is clear: the ACT government is responsible for each and every consequence if this law fails. It is inconceivable that Whitlam, a Labor icon and human rights champion, would have tolerated this ACT indulgence designed to undermine national marriage laws that, if upheld, would permit states to freelance on marriage (think a populist Queensland premier merrily legislating against a federal same-sex marriage law).
If the High Court eventually upholds the Brandis position in relation to territory and state law, the onus will shift back to where it should belong, the national parliament. At this point Labor should insist that Abbott operate by the Barwick rules and give MPs freedom from party positions on the vote. This is the best means of advancing debate on marriage laws. Yet there is a danger that Labor may commit a huge tactical blunder on this front.
In the end I expect that homosexuality will continue to become far more socially acceptable than it already is. It is certainly something that I look forward to because I steadfastly believe that we should all be able to openly love and openly live with the partners of our choice regardless of their gender. The great irony is that at its heart the ACT bill creates a form of civil union for homosexual couples and when I an others have previously advocated civil unions as an instrument to meet the needs of gay couples the usual suspects have gone into a form of apoplexy that is most undignified and dare I say it, counter-productive to their cause because they then alienate those of us who do want to see our Gay brethren living happy lives even if we hold a more traditional view of what a marriage is and should remain.
- Australia capital backs gay marriage (bbc.co.uk)
- Tony won’t shift on gay marriage : sister (theage.com.au)
- Austrailian Federal Government Seeks to Kill Nations First Same-Sex Marriage Laws (lezgetreal.com)
- Tony Abbott launches legal challenge after Australia’s capital passes gay marriage (independent.co.uk)
- Fed govt will challenge ACT gay marriages (news.theage.com.au)
- ACT prepares to debate gay marriage bill (news.theage.com.au)
You have got to love it when something you write is so quickly proven to be correct. When I wrote my post the other day suggesting that Robert McClelland was the first rat to notice that the SS Labor was taking on water, little did I know that two big names would so soon follow him into the life boats eager to escape being entangled in the Sargasso sea of endless opposition. The question is just how many will jump ship before Sept 14? Quite a few would be my call.
- Robert McClelland ready to swim for it. (iainhall.wordpress.com)
- Farewell to McClelland, a ministerial cipher for the security state (crikey.com.au)
- McClelland to quit politics at next election (abc.net.au)
Although I am not a Christian I do believe in social redemption and when it comes to juveniles who commit crimes I am as ready as anyone to give them a shot at turning around their lives and hopefully becoming worthwhile citizens who make our a better society. However how many times should we be willing to allow juveniles the benefit of anonymity when they have faced the courts? Frankly does anyone think that the chances of someone who has offended often enough to serve five periods of detention before they reach their majority actually turning their behaviour around are very high? Sadly I don’t think that the chances are measurable. to be honest.
So I am entirely unimpressed by the so called “civil liberties” arguments put against the naming of juvenile repeat offenders when they come before the courts. Its time that the bleeding hearts stop thinking that there is no such thing as a “bad” child. There certainly are individuals who begin their criminal careers at an early age and they are destined to a life of crime and that they will be immune to any attempts to “reform” them. Now while I readily admit that these individuals may well come from situations of abuse and social despair but there has to be a point at which society’s need to be protected from their aberrant and abhorrent behaviour out weighs the very small possibility that they may be redeemed.
It may be arbitrary but “three strikes and you will be named” seems to be a place to start. If a young offender commits two crimes that result in periods of detention then their next offence should lose them any right to have their names and images suppressed.
It probably won’t surprise anyone that our learned friend has come out fighting for the right of juveniles to be treated very softly by the courts even when they are clearly repeat offenders
Here’s their latest effort:
Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie wants all juvenile offenders to be publicly named when they attend court, unless a judge orders otherwise.
Currently children can only be identified when a judge deems the case warrants naming.
Wait, what? Does Bleijie not understand that the reason for emphasising rehabilitation over deterrence with young people is that their brains aren’t fully formed and the clear evidence is that deterrence is far less effective than programs to redirect their lives? That giving them a criminal history early on simply prevents them from ever having a hope of doing something else with their lives?
Any realist would not make the mistake of thinking that someone who has established a pattern of repeated offending by the time they are an adolescent is extremely unlikely to be reformable or that they will ever do anything else with their lives. Our learned friend think that even with a chance of them being rehabilitated at an immeasurably low level we should still pretend that they can be “saved” ? Name them and then if they keep their noses clean for a decade then let them “forget” about their record as we do here in Queensland.
Mr Bleijie says most children who appear in court are repeat offenders and naming them could force them to take responsibility for their actions.
“A lot of young repeat offenders who know that the reporters and journalists can’t report names, come out of court smiling and living among their communities and the communities ought to have a right to know,” he said.
“And also if there’s a little bit of community pressure put on these young people, perhaps it will actually deter these young people from committing these crimes in the future.”
Actually, you blithering idiot, that’s exactly the way to turn young, impressionable people into lifelong criminals. Young people committing crimes are more likely to respond to severe censure by defiantly identifying with criminal peers. It takes maturity to learn to evaluate risk properly and it takes maturity to persevere through difficult circumstances.
I think the person who is blithering here is our learned friend if he really thinks that a juvenile who has been repeatedly before the courts and had several spells in juvenile detention has not already become a lifelong criminal. Further the fact that they have repeatedly failed to respond to the modest ” censure” of the juvenile justice system should tell him that his preferred option is not working for those repeat offenders .
Completely destroying a kid’s life if they don’t make decisions like a rational adult is incredibly counterproductive.
How many chances does he want to give these young toe rags? Surely its good sense to draw a line at a certain number of times that these offenders should be treated with leniency when they come before the courts? A clear expectation that they have to show at least some improvement in their behaviour before they are given the metaphorical slap on the wrist for any subsequent offence? our learned friend surely can be so naive that he believes that every one of these repeat offenders can be reformed?
First Robert Clark in Victoria, now Bleijie in Queensland. What is it with right-wing Attorneys-General and a pigheaded bloody-minded determination to stomp about in a field they clearly barely understand, dismantling systems that have been developed for a good reason, refusing to listen to experts and making matters worse?
Ah maybe there is a clue here in his conclusion; its his arrogance that anyone from outside the lawyers club should dare to have an opinion about justice and the role of the law in our society. One does not have to be a lawyer to understand that just because there is a “good reason” for a particular system it does not mean that it actaully works. The idea of treating the so called “children” as if they are redeemable when they have repeatedly demonstrated that they aren’t is leftist driven nonsense of the worst kind. But then what do you expect from our learned friend?
- Qld wants to name and shame young offenders (abc.net.au)
- The victims of crime deserve swift justice (telegraph.co.uk)
- It’s So Juvenile: Court Of Appeals Of Minnesota Finds An Extended-Jurisdiction Juvenile Adjudication Not Covered By Rule 609(d) (lawprofessors.typepad.com)
- When Should Juvenile Offenders Receive Life Sentences? (learning.blogs.nytimes.com)
- Juvenile Offenders Sentenced To Life Can Face Harsher Treatment Than Adults: Report (huffingtonpost.com)