Short Read: Rainbows and Accountability

FINAL SCORE: YES – 61% NO – 38%

TURNOUT: 79.5%

Here we are – and this is the situation we are in. Our leaders have done their campaigning and everyone who wanted to be anyone has been featured in the campaign for either a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’.

The ‘yes’ vote we have seen this morning reflects what the aggregate opinion polls and media predictions have said about our national attitudes to a touchy issue. The good news is that the ‘yes’ result is at least a validation that honest people still respond to our national political polls – unlike in the US when the exit polls got it so wrong in 2016 when you-know-who got into the White House.

The LGBT+ community will say that the campaigning never stops – and so be it if they wish to think that. They have their own reasons for being right about that, and that is not the point of this write-up. The ‘yes’ vote, however, is their first big win on the way to being legally accepted in our national laws. We are (after all) the last English-speaking (majority) nation in the Western world to accept same sex marriage legally.

[And actually if it were not for John Howard, we could have been the first by consequence.]

However, a ‘yes’ vote that costs the taxpayers $122 million is not the end of the line. And that’s probably the real bad news for voters. Two alternate versions of the gay marriage bill for Parliament are now circulating. One is the conventional bill – that redefines the entire marriage act altogether by saying that the service is a “union of two people”. North Sydney MP Trent Zimmerman said of that version that the bill would “strengthen Australian family life.”

That’s the conventional version – the one backed by several Liberal MPs, Labor and the Greens (albeit with amendments of their own).

The other is the one that’s attracting far more attention and frustration. Backed by Matt Canavan (the Australian-Italian) and the Church, it was created by Victorian Member of Parliament James Paterson. It’s summarised as follows:

Screen Shot 2017-11-14 at 4.10.23 pm.png

(Credit: Huffington Post)

….or is more available in its social-media friendly form:


Yes – that’s right. We’re ADDING that clause rather than rewriting it to what it should be. Thankfully, Turnbull ministers (so far) have rejected Mr Paterson’s amendments to the bill. The PM – true to his calibre and decision making abilities – just said of Mr Paterson’s bill that “it will require amendments”. Luckily, he arrives back in the country from talks in Asia just in time to hear the result of his $122 million splurge.

Far more interesting now is how the aftermath will tear up this already fragile Government. Already, Newspoll swings demonstrate that if an election were held based on the most recent results, Federal Labor would gain 20 seats – or a swing of 4 and some percent.

The best thing Mr Turnbull and the Liberal Party – both in front of the camera and in the war room – can do is to sort this issue out efficiently. While even getting to the survey leaves a sour taste in many young and undecided voters’ mouths, at least there will be a quick ending to this never-ending issue. I’m personally disappointed that this is our nation’s biggest issue – because it makes our politics a joke. But I’ll be happier to see a swift end to this – for the nation’s sake and for the Government’s sake.

Let’s see how much of this debate voters take into account at QLD later this month and at NSW and Federal Elections in 2019. If it sticks like glue, you can bet the 2019 campaign is over before it started.

I leave you with this exchange:

Screen Shot 2017-11-14 at 4.18.48 pm.png

(Bevan is the Canberra Bureau Chief for Fairfax Media – and probably reflects what most of us are thinking about James Paterson’s bill in raw form.)

Additional Resources: Huffington Post, The Australian

Feature Image: Shutterstock

(C) Hans Lee Media 2017.

Follow Hans online:

Twitter: @ThatHansLee

Instagram: @monotravels

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