Making sense of the same-sex marriage survey

By August 26, 2017History, Politics, Society

Depending on when the materials arrive, I may or may not be able to take part in this postal survey (it is not a true plebiscite, a vote of the citizens), because of a likely absence from home. There are a number of options if I am there, and indeed for all citizens. One is to support the proposal; one is to oppose it; another is to write back saying what you think of this method of obtaining the opinion of Australians; another is to feed the materials to our worms, who like paper as well as vegetable scraps, or use them for a Spring fire in the domestic fireplace.

The longer this farce has gone on the more helpless I feel. Hasn’t Parliament got more important things to do? (The correct answer is YES.) Why is all this happening? I’m not going to go through the history, and I don’t think it matters much whether you call the issue one of ‘same-sex marriage’ or of ‘marriage equality’.

Let us think of what is involved. I am not a Christian in regular communication with a church, and indeed I am a Christian only in the most tepid sense that I see our general culture as Judaeo-Christian, and support that culture. I would not, for example, be happy to see Sharia law come into our legal system, or accept payback just because some indigenous groups used to practise it. So I’ve read what the most notable ‘No’ campaigners have said, and shrug my shoulders.

I know Penny Wong and Julia Gillard both spoke against same-sex marriage, but what they said at the time was (unless I have missed something important) really a restatement of the legal position, that marriage in Australia is presently between a man and a woman. Senator Seselja and others have said, if I understand them correctly, that a heterosexual relationship is the best environment to bring up children. The real evidence for such a proposition must be scanty. We have no historic data of any consequence, and it is only recently that same-sex couples were able publicly to bring up children.

I can’t see any straightforward reasons that would suggest to the reasonable citizen that the proposal should be opposed in the public interest. Marriage has a great diversity of forms across human societies, and the Australian one has no great significance. It is simply what we are used to, that is all. In colonial Australia couples cohabited with the knowledge and agreement of parents and neighbours, and when a priest or travelling parson came by he solemnised the union. What is so special about it all? If gays want to go through these hoops, why not?

Former High Court Justice Michael Kirby doesn’t like this method for obtaining the views the people, and I am with him on that. He told the ABC’s Radio National about his feelings in a forceful way: It’s just a complete political improvisation and it’s completely unacceptable and it should stop. And I feel as a citizen I’m being treated in a second-class way by interposing an arrangement of this kind between the making of the law in Parliament, which is where it should be done. [Other changes in Australia, he went on to say, had not been made by postal ballot or plebiscite.] It wasn’t done in the case of the advancement of the legal rights, equal rights of the Aboriginal people, it wasn’t done in respect of women’s advancement of legal rights, nor in the demolition of ‘White Australia’.

 Kirby’s central point seems to be that Parliament had rejected twice the bill to provide for a plebiscite (the Government’s position during the election campaign and since). Then for the Government to organise a survey of popular opinion arranged by the Australian Bureau of Statistics is simply disrespectful of Parliament’s decision. I think the less said about this irregular and unscientific polling the better. I’m not going to take any part in it whatsoever. As I understand it, Michael Kirby supports same-sex marriage, but will not advocate for it in the coming process.

My position is simple: I have no horse in the race, and don’t care much one way or the other. Marriage between heterosexual couples is not what all Australians do anyway. About a fifth of all couples in the 25-34 age-group are in de facto relationships, and marriage, let lone church marriage, appears to be on a slow decline. We have de factos in our extended family, as indeed we have lesbian relationships and a TG young person. We all get along well. Although a church marriage was de rigueur in 1958, I was prepared to live in whatever relationship my second and third ladies preferred. Each preferred marriage. So I’ve been married for almost all the last 59 years.

As far as I can ascertain from public opinion polling most Australian don’t care much the issue anyway, but on the whole their attitude seems to be, ‘Why not?’ Those who have thought about the issue might add that given the divorce rate and the growing rate of unsanctioned cohabitation, marriage plainly isn’t what it was cracked up to be. Gay couples at the moment can dissolve a relationship (property matters are controlled by existing law) without having to go to the Family Court. The advantage of having to go there should a gay marriage break down seems small to me.

What we have is one passionate tiny minority against another one, with Parliament and politicians having to deal with the fuss. I don’t agree with Mr Abbott that the issue is much more serious and important than gay marriage. I am no more in favour of political correctness than he is, but the notion that a No vote would ‘help to stop political correctness in its tracks’ is just risible. The small marriage-equality crowd and the no larger Christian Lobby will go on battling this out until there is a lasting outcome. The only lasting outcome I can see is marriage equality, and even then the Christian Lobby will go on arguing against it.

A lot is changing in our society, and ‘marriage’ is a good example. It is not what it was, and I have no real sense of what it will be like in fifty years, let alone a hundred. Many Australians start being sexually active very early, well before the legally sanctioned age of consent at sixteen. A union between a man and a woman, to the exclusion of all others, is a noble ideal, but with 80 to 90 years being the new expected length of life, it is a big ask as well as a noble ideal. As always, the care of children resulting from union and the disposal of property after the breakdown of the union will remain important factors for society and governments as far ahead as I can see.

I still think this survey, which is both non-compulsory and non-binding, is a dreadful way of establishing an outcome. I have no idea how many will participate, and heaven knows what would happen if, say, only fifty per cent vote and the result is evenly split. But I won’t vote against the proposal. I’ll probably abstain, if I am actually able to take part in the survey.







Join the discussion 192 Comments

  • Andy says:

    Don, the only minister of religion I know tells me he has enough troubles getting the hetros into church to marry. The homos are banging on his door for marriage. He is perplexed that should a homo couple seek marriage, what will be his pronouncement at the end – “I now pronounce you man and wife/ husband and husband/ wife and wife/ partner and partner”. He is thinking of leaving the space on the Marriage Certificate blank with “Insert here whatever you are”.

    BTW, I was always a little perplexed (in my case) when the rev pronounced us “man and wife”, when it should have been “husband and wife”.

    Regarding the plebiscite, I think it will follow the usual trend in Australia where the loudest noise gets the governments attention (“The squeaky wheel gets the grease”). The homos will keep banging the drum, until Turnbull simply gives in. However the silent majority (as the classic dark horse) just may emerge in this issue. But they may simply think it is a non- issue.

    • Don Aitkin says:

      About the words, it may be a sign of German origins. In German ‘Mann’ means both ‘man’ and ‘husband’, while ‘Weib’ means both ‘woman’ and ‘wife’. I don’t know the etymology, but the guess is reasonable.

  • Alan Moran says:

    There was an article recently inQuadrant that drew from the literature and appeared to confirm that children brought up in ssm were far less well adjusted, had lower self esteem and performed worse scholastically than those brought up in traditional nuclear family

  • Bryan Roberts says:

    The noisy minority will vote for it, the ethnic groups and churchgoers, against, and as far as I can determine, the rest of Australia couldn’t care less. The only statistic of interest will be how many choose to vote.

  • JimboR says:

    At least it got 100,000 new young voters on the roll… many of whom may not have bothered had it been just for a general election. Some conservatives are a little nervous about what that record enrollment spree might mean for the next general election….

    Peter Phelps, a Liberal member of the NSW Parliament, tweeted: “So an extra 90,000 people to vote against Coalition in a general election following the [High Court] handing down its inevitable s44 ruling? #genius.”

    Same sex couples that want to raise families already are. It’s hard to imagine that letting them tie the knot is somehow going to make them worse parents than they were before they were allowed to marry.

  • Art says:

    Although not really wishing to be associated with the Mr rabbit, I agree with him that it is a multi-dimensional issue. What is the difference between marriage of two older heterosexuals with no intent (and possibly no capability) to produce children and the marriage of homosexuals? If childless heterosexuals choose to marry simply because they cherished the extra layer of commitment (as was the case with my wife and I), why should that societal comfort be be denied to them? Also, when I migrated here in 1970 from the US, I was astonished and appalled by the political power of the Christian churches. So on those two accounts, I would tend to vote yes. This is particularly true given Greg Sheridan’s pathetic defense of God in Saturday’s Australian.

    On the other hand, I am sickened at the growth in power of the doctrinaire left. A positive vote for SSM would strengthen their hand and encourage even more enforced political correctness. A no vote would signify that the polity was fighting back against PC. For that reason, I would vote no. I suspect that were SSM to pass into law, the pressure for polyamory marriage would become strong. I suspect that Cory Bernardi’s fear that if SSM passed, it would be only a matter of time until the law would allow one to marry the family dog is over the top but perhaps not. Imagine if new PC law forbade NZ sheep jokes.

    Of course, then there is the future prospect of marriage between humans and humanoid robots. Ridiculous? look at

    All part of life’s great tapestry I suppose, especially when one becomes increasingly aware of the improbability and transient nature of life.

  • margaret says:

    It’s just pure political games. A small cohort will act on being able to marry then life will go on as usual. Be more frightened of the existing domestic violence and child abuse within legally married heterosexual couples.

  • JMO says:

    First its taboo, then tolerated, then accepted, then made legal, then encouraged, then made compulsory. My wife and I are dead against homosexual marriage ( yes that is the correct biological term) and we will express out view accordingly in the postal survey.

  • whyisitso says:

    First they stole the word “gay”, meaning happy, joyful. Then they pinched the natural colourful phenomenon in the sky called a rainbow. Now they want “marriage”, which will come to mean exclusively ‘LGBTIETC’ partnership. I guess my wife and I will have to invent a new word to describe our 53-year-old relationship.

    • margaret says:

      Boo hoo …

      • JMO says:

        Margaret Have you seen 2 women or worse 2 men cuddling and kissing in public? My wife and I have and we think it is unnatural, disgusting and offensive. I am thinking of a strategy for when we see this awful scene again and will inform you how it goes.

  • margaret says:

    “Depending on when the materials arrive…” Have you heard of having it forwarded? 🙂

    • Don Aitkin says:

      Yes indeed. But since I’ll be on the other side of the continent, and in the deep bush, and nomadic, I think that’s not going to be effective.

      • Bryan Roberts says:

        Don’t worry. My vote’s going in the bin, as I suspect will many more.

      • margaret says:

        For the many bush encounters you have experienced Don, I’m surprised that you don’t have more empathy with indigenous culture.

        Off-topic … off-road.

        Bryan, of course it is, I don’t expect you to become enlightened at this stage.
        Perhaps read Herman Hesse Siddhartha.

        • Bryan Roberts says:

          margaret, I think the whole issue is fatuous. I have a family member in a stable, long term homosexual relationship, who also thinks the issue is completely ridiculous.

          When a significant proportion of heterosexual couples choose to live in relationships outside marriage, what the hell is all the fuss about? Homosexuals have been enjoying wildly promiscuous lifestyles for years -did the heteros demand ‘equal rights’. Gimme a break.

          • margaret says:

            I am compelled to include a quoted passage from this article, as much of the focus and fear, not expressed of course, but underlying, and irrelevant to the actual marriage equality debate seems to be about one particular ‘homosexual’ behaviour, without acknowledgement that it is a sexual behaviour.


            “There is a lot of misinformation on the internet on heterosexual anal intercourse. As a result the Medical Institute is concerned that the public in general, and adolescents and young adults in particular, are not receiving the whole truth about heterosexual anal sex. Therefore, MI would like to encourage sex educators, health providers, counselors, youth workers and parents to include specific information about anal sex in their communication with adolescents and young adults. (Receptive anal sex carries the same risks for both men and women). For women there appears to be a high degree of coercion and emotional distress associated with heterosexual anal intercourse; this aspect should be included in healthy and unhealthy relationship education.
            In summary, the information provided shows receptive anal intercourse to be a very high-risk sexual activity for women as well as men: fecal incontinence, anal cancer, HIV infection, etc. Awareness of these substantial health risks can enable women of all ages to emphatically say no to anal intercourse.”

          • spangled drongo says:

            So what’s your point, marg?:

          • margaret says:

            My point is it has nothing to do with marriage equality. Nothing.

        • Bryan Roberts says:

          Cop a look at a book by a Perth venereologist (I can’t be bothered finding the reference) to get an idea of the impact of HIV spread through the homosexual community. Then rant about Siddhartha and ‘marriage equality’. There was no equality in the spread of HIV, and its impact was deliberately suppressed and distorted by the press to minimise the adverse implications for the homosexual community (sound familiar?)

          I don’t care about their sexual preferences, I don’t care about their morals, but you can’t wash this in a romantic rose glow – it’s horse shit, pure and simple.

          • margaret says:

            Bryan you are the one who is ranting.

          • Bryan Roberts says:

            I strongly suspect I have cause. Millions of dollars spent on a meaningless ‘survey’ of a proposition that will affect a minute fraction of the Australian population, about whom almost nobody cares. If you have a counter argument, margaret, feel free to expound.

          • Bryan Roberts says:

            Let me put it this way, margaret. Exactly how many same sex couples do you know, and how many of them wish to marry. My answer, over 50 years, is one, and none.

          • Bryan Roberts says:

            … and the government can’t afford the NDIS. How many millions are wasted pandering to the romantic fantasies of these people?

          • Bryan Roberts says:

            Come on, margaret. If you think I’m wrong, shape up or ship out.

          • margaret says:

            You’re just spoiling for a fight and I’ve said nothing to encourage that.
            My position is marriage equality is not going to change Australia for the worse.

  • Paul says:

    One’s upbringing and life experiences probably play a big part in one’s view of SSM, especially one built on Christian beliefs. Since my wife and I have reached nearly 61 years of married life together, the box we will tick for the plebiscite is obvious. We have noted that many heterosexual couple have been in no hurry to get married while the others are clamouring and anxious to be able to do so!

  • Michael Dunn says:

    A friend of mine once remarked that the only right one obtained from getting married was the right to get divorced. As a gay man, like many others of my age [60+] I have passed from being a potential criminal to having broadly equal legal rights with my heterosexual friends. The same-sex marriage issue came as a bit of surprise to me, and still more so that ‘Catholic’ countries like Ireland and France approved it. To the doubters, I would say that although same-sex legal de-facto rights are equivalent, they do require proof, whereas a marriage certificate is conclusive evidence of the relationship without further enquiry. Also, various countries e.g. France grant married couples greater rights in inheritance than de-factos, so marriage retains some legal advantage. There is also something to be said for having social reinforcement for enduring, rather than throwaway, relationships. (The religious marriage is another matter which should properly left to the religious to determine for themselves, without external interference.)

    I regret some of your readers evidently find same-sex expressions of affection distasteful, and entertain dystopian fantasies of what might befall us should it be approved here. Frankly, you would think that if two people want to make a public commitment to stick to each other, that is both a conservative value and a social good.

    I would vastly prefer politicians to do what we elect them to do: to reflect on what their constituents need and want, and to make the appropriate choice. That said, if the postal ‘survey’ proves the only way to get the matter settled, then I would ask you, Don, and your readers to consider the issues and use the opportunity to express a view.

  • David says:

    Bryan, your argument against SSM is comprised of a list of irrelevant and incoherent anecdotes drawn from your arid personal life. Hardly very persuasive.

  • Bryan Roberts says:

    margaret, I am not an ‘agent provocateur’. If you see a point in this issue, I am willing to debate it, but so far, nothing substantive has emerged.

    • Bryan Roberts says:

      The amusing aspect of your position is not that Australia would be changed for the better, but that it would not be changed for the worse.

      • margaret says:

        Marriage equality is not going to change Australian society. I think debating is unnecessarily combative. I’ve always preferred discussion.
        The postal survey is completely unnecessary and stirs up immaturity about human relationships.
        The romantic notion of marriage is passe but the reality is that some people still want to ‘tie the knot’ and if those people happen to be in a same sex relationship, they, like any couple should have that right.

  • Don Aitkin says:

    The thread above is getting long, so, to Margaret, who wonders why I am not more empathetic to indigenous culture, I ask: (1) Why do you think there is a single ‘indigenous culture’? There wasn’t in the past, and there isn’t now. And (2) How would one show empathy towards it/them? What sort of behaviour do you have in mind?

    My view is that you do what you can where you are, and I have done that. The indigenous people I know reasonably well are all urban, and mostly professional people. I’ve met painters in Arnhem Land and in Ceduna, and a stockman or two, but only fleetingly.

    There may be some content in your remark, but you could help by setting it out clearly.

    • margaret says:

      Yes sir

    • margaret says:

      FFS … nobody else is called to account on the content of their comment.

    • margaret says:

      1) There is no single indigenous culture, there were/are many. Did I imply otherwise? What comprises the “Australian” culture? How are it’s values determined? If you visit different places in Australia whether they’re indigenous communities or “hey true blue” communities, each one is different but overall you develop an appreciation or antipathy based on many things sometimes as basic as whether the sun is shining that day.
      2) I really don’t know what you mean or why you ask that question. On Thursday I was at the Melbourne Museum. It’s Bunjilaka aboriginal culture centre is a wonderful place to understand and empathise with First Nations. Oh yes, empathise is such a difficult word for those who immediately think ‘fluffy duck’ 🙂
      How many of the commenters here have been to their city’s museum to acquaint themselves with the contribution to Australian culture made by First Nations?

      • margaret says:

        Also on that day I was able to appreciate what I saw whilst managing a high spirited 27 month old toddler. Could you guys do that?

        • brilton says:

          Yes I could. And I did. And with two, in fact. How outrageously sexist of you to go “Look at me, men, I can manage a toddler, I bet you guys can’t!”

          • margaret says:

            You are a doofus brilton but good on you for taking two toddlers to the museum … spare me your outrage, put your wife/partner on.

      • Don Aitkin says:

        Margaret, (1) you used the term ‘Indigenous culture’, so I took your usage to mean that you saw it as one. (2) ‘Empathy’ means the capacity or power of projecting oneself into the mind of another. People use it loosely as a strong form of sympathy.

        R. G. Collingwood, the English historian, saw it as the only way to understand why people acted as they did (his example was Caesar’s decision to cross the Rubicon). Used this way, it is a test for any historian. But when you ask why I don’t empathise with an indigenous community I can’t attach any meaning to it. And if I were wonderfully able to do so, what then? What would I do in consequence? Would I want to change the day for celebrating Australia Day? Would I want a mention of the indigenous people in a Preamble to our Constitution? I don’t think so, in either case. I might understand why some of the community thought it was a good idea, but so what? One has to look at the whole context of any proposal, its costs and its benefits.

        Are you the only person who is asked to explain further what you mean? Not at all. By now you are the commenter with the greatest number of comments to your credit, and a lot of other commenters engage with you. Keep it up.

        • margaret says:

          ” One has to look at the whole context of any proposal, its costs and its benefits.”
          This postal survey loses on both counts then … a pity Howard changed the law without a postal survey … or any indication of his intent … to my knowledge.

        • margaret says:

          Julius Caesar was fond of cross-dressing as well as crossing the Rubicon. If ‘crossing The Rubicon’ has now become an idiom for passing the point of no return is this what motivates the fearful NO voters? All those Romans in the ancient world and their penchant for male love.

      • brilton says:

        OK. You presuppose that everyone lives in a major metropolitan centre and has access to a large museum. Then you do the “How many of the rest of you” thing again. That’s called a “positional good”. An what on earth is a “First Nation”? As far as I’m aware, the first nation established on this continent was in 1901.

    • David says:

      Not harrass them about the whiteness of their skin or the cultural significance of their flag or the appropriateness of their welcome to country ceremonies.

    • Andy says:

      “who wonders why I am not more emphatic to indigenous culture”. DA, did you mean “empathetic” or EMPHATIC !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • Don Aitkin says:

        Oh dear. Many thanks. A few thousand have read this piece but you’re the first to spot the error. I’m fixing it

        • margaret says:

          I spotted it but thought it fitted your attitude.

        • Pearls before swine says:

          DA, no problems. Perhaps a Freudian slip, or a parapraxis. It can happen any time (even to the best of us), and even when you are supervising a blog about homos.

          Don, old army saying: “Don’t let the turkeys get you down”. Keep up the superb work you do.

          • margaret says:

            What would Don do without the thousands like you? I have an old saying too.
            “Nolite te bastardes carborundorum”.

        • margaret says:

          A few THOUSAND! Wow ?

  • Chris Warren says:

    This is all getting a bit crazy.

    What polls indicate:

    As far as I can ascertain from public opinion polling most Australian don’t care much the issue anyway, ?

    In any case, I don’t feel I am harmed if gays have the right to marriage. Marriage is just a joining of anything that matches.

    I see no reason for restricting marriage on any basis other than age or competency.

    If we restrict marriage to just one social group we are no better than religious zealots who ban marriage outside their various sects.

  • Bryan Roberts says:

    “I think debating is unnecessarily combative”

    What is a debate?

  • Bryan Roberts says:

    “the contribution to Australian culture made by First Nations”

    … and exactly what was that? Please be specific.

    • margaret says:

      “Cop a look at a book by a Perth venereologist (I can’t be bothered finding the reference) to get an idea of the impact of HIV spread through the homosexual community.”
      You can’t be bothered finding the reference and I can’t be bothered being specific.

    • Peter Trandafilovic says:

      Bryan, I’m reliably informed the First Nation invented the stick.

  • Mike says:

    Returning to SSM. I think the “yes” will prevail and most of the community are indifferent at worst. The plebiscite would have been best for an emphatic result and the debate laid to rest. Parliament would never resolve it decisively and I think the politicians find it a useful distraction from scrutiny of affairs of state like border protection, climate change and the budget generally

  • Peter Trandafilovic says:

    I’m with Kirby on the ABS process which simply askew’s the plebiscite process. The abandonment of the plebiscite generally reflects the chaotic, shambolic state to which government has descended in this otherwise wonderful country of ours.

    Personally, I don’t know why all this fulmination over a subject most people couldn’t give a rats about. In the grand scheme of things, the petulant rants of activists to overturn the traditional marriage definition to accommodate the lifestyle and “feelings” of a handful of folk just doesn’t cut it. The more the celebrity brigade get up and rant on the subject, the more I switch off. That government and civil order in our country can be side-tracked over such a minor issue is an indictment on the state of our nation, and brings into question the quality and judgement of people holding high office in government and administration. The posturing by corporates of late tends to show how even some business managements have lost the plot.

    That aside, I have lived next door to a couple of blokes who have been in a relationship for over 25 years. One is a retired QC, the other a chef. They couldn’t give a fig about the notion of same sex “marriage”. Their main concerns have always been that people respect them for who they are and treated them as normal people, which is, indeed, the case. They have lived as a de facto couple and enjoy full protection under the law in relation to property and a range of other legal matters common to such relationships. They do not consider themselves to be less protected than a “traditional” married couple. They do not consider it appropriate for homosexuals to raise children in a same sex relationship and strongly believe that children need to be nurtured by their natural female/male parents. I happen to agree with them and will continue to enjoy their company as normal people going about our lives.

    If I get the ABS survey, I’ll vote (you guessed it)…No.

    • margaret says:

      Of course if you are in a same sex relationship and you have high status and standing in ‘society’ as a retired QC does, nothing that mere mortals consider as rightful and conferring legal benefits is of any consequence to your own lofty circumstances.

  • Chris Warren says:

    Why is there such a drive to deny indigenous culture?

    Hasn’t this been the fatal flaw of all Australian institutional academics since the nineteenth century except for a few after WWII – Stanner (1960’s), Reynolds (1970’s), Butlin (1980’s).

    If there is no indigenous culture then there is no culture.

    • spangled drongo says:

      “Why is there such a drive to deny indigenous culture?”

      Dead right, blith.

      Who denies cannibalism and the existence of NQ pygmies?

      “Carl Lumholtz in his report stated, “Among cannibals … On Herbert River expeditions are sometimes undertaken for the special purpose of securing “Talgoro”… The Kalkadoons in their prime were reputedly not fussy, and would exhume bodies to eat, as did the emu-slippered peoples of central Australia. Babies, plump young women, and strong young warriors, including the so-called “half-caste” babies and youths were good eating in many parts of Australia. A “half-caste” born in western Queensland (recorded at Westlands Station on the Thompson River) was permitted to live for about three weeks thereupon it was roasted on the fire and distributed amongst those present, and eaten.”

      At Herberton 1882, he claims one of the Mourilyan Aborigines stated “… piccaninny makes quite a delicious meat… North Queensland rainforest “pygmies” were well known for their cannibalism and “would go out and tease” the tall lanky aboriginals until they were chased back into the rainforest where they ambushed their pursuers.”

    • Don Aitkin says:

      Chris, setting aside that there was not a single ‘culture’ but many different ones, who exactly do you think is ‘denying’ them, and what do you think are their great contributions to contemporary Australia?

      Bill Stanner documented Aboriginal variety in cultures, especially language, Noel Butlin (if that is whom you meant — I don’t think Sid Butlin wrote about Indigenous people at all) thought it was small-pox that laid so many indigenous people low after first contact. What exactly is the point of mentioning them? Henry Reynolds is different, but his main claim to fame is his work on violence between indigenous people and settlers. Again, to what end are you referring to him?

  • spangled drongo says:

    I wonder if the homos would settle for a statue of a pair of them getting hitched so that when the craze becomes unfashionable our grand kids can give it larry dooley?

  • Aert Driessen says:

    Don, I agree with you that the vote is a nonsense and will achieve little in settling the issue by whatever norm. I see the whole issue as unnecessary. As I understand it, ss couples in a de facto relationship already have equal legal rights as married couples. And I have seen no evidence whatsoever of social discrimination against ss couples living in a relationship. I don’t think anyone cares. For me the issue is changing a definition that has been in place for thousands of years that recognises marriage as between a man and a woman. I have heard only two statements by politicians that have impacted on me. One by Tony Abbott that sees this whole issue as an extension of political correctness, the cancer of out society, and the other by Andrew Hastie who said that this change will impact on nearly every institution. When I get my papers I will be returning them the next day with a NO vote and get on with my life whatever the outcome, but probably ponder from time to time why it was necessary.

  • JimboR says:

    The vibe here seems to be so long as you know a gay or straight couple who don’t want to get married then the ban should stay in place. I wonder if we were discussing banning straight marriages would the same test be considered relevant.

    And to all the “I don’t know what all the fuss is about, haven’t we got better things to be considering” folk, I agree. It’s where you proceed from there that counts. “I don’t know what all the fuss is about let’s just lift the ban” seems at least as valid as “I don’t know what all the fuss is about let’s maintain the ban”. I thought conservatives were supposed to favour small government, individual choices, freedom etc. etc.

    And to the folk banging on about same sex couples’ child-raising abilities, I think you’ve turned up to the wrong postal survey. You want the one entitled “Should same sex couples be permitted to raise children”. The concept that there are all these couples (gay or straight) sitting around the dining room table saying “Honey, if only we could marry, think of all the kids we could have” is ummm… quaint. That might have been how it worked 60 years ago when you were considering breeding, but the real world has long ago moved on. Couples of all persuasions are raising kids with or without your approval, some are doing it extremely well and some are doing it tragically badly. The one thing you can be sure of though is that your vote in this postal survey is not going to change that. As my year 9 maths teacher used to say… .”remember to read the question”.

    • spangled drongo says:

      And then there are the more aware, jimb who are saying it’s neither natural nor necessary:

      “The question to be asked in the plebiscite: “Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry?” is at best disingenuous – and at worst dishonest. The answer that many reasonable people would give is – “it depends”. It’s completely consistent for someone to believe that two people who love each other should be able to get married, while at the same time also believing that those who publicly state that marriage can only ever be between a man and a woman should not be guilty of breaking the law for expressing such an opinion.

      If the plebiscite passes, whether it will in fact be unlawful for say a Christian or Muslim school to teach the “traditional” view of marriage is unknown – as yet no politician has wanted to answer. The question is not hypothetical. Last year the Catholic Archbishop of Hobart was alleged to have breached Tasmania’s anti-discrimination laws for distributing a brochure saying marriage was between a man and a woman.”

  • Paul says:

    The comment discussions have drifted away from Don’s original topic, but while on the subject of aborigines, and at the risk of the sort of trouble that Andrew Bolt got into, there are few full blood aborigines, so many of those claiming to be aborigine, deny the existence of the white, or even Asian, part of their heritage, without which they would not be here.

  • spangled drongo says:

    Just because it’s boring doesn’t mean it isn’t true:

    “Children of same-sex couples have more chances of living in dysfunctional families

    A seminal U.S. study of 156 long-term same-sex couples found that the majority were unable to sustain a monogamous relationship for more than a year. In fact, not a single same-sex couple was capable of maintaining fidelity for more than five years. Rather, ‘all couples with a relationship lasting more than five years … incorporated some provision for sexual activity outside of their relationships’.[4] Another reliable study from seven years ago informed that, as a general rule, same-sex partnerships are significantly more prone to dissolution than heterosexual marriage, with the average same-sex relationship lasting only two to three years.[5]

    Another problem with the AMA narrative is the higher levels of violence in same-sex households. The belief that violence comes from patriarchal domination was called into question in the early 1990s, when a significant survey of 1,099 American lesbians revealed that they were more physically abused by their (female) partners than women involved with men in traditional relationships.[6] In the same period, another survey of 350 lesbians who had experienced previous heterosexual relationships found that the rates of verbal, physical, and sexual abuse were significantly higher in their ongoing same-sex relationships than in their prior heterosexual relationships: 56.8% had been sexually victimized by a female, 45% had experienced physical aggression, and 64.5% had experienced physical/emotional aggression.[7]”

  • spangled drongo says:

    The argument is getting more pathetic by the minute:

    ABC’s Joe O’Brien says defenders of traditional marriage have no right to barrack for gay athletes such as Ian Thorpe.

  • Chris Warren says:

    Differences within a culture should not lead to denial of culture.

    It is clear, if some overseas person was to view three pieces of art – one Australian Aboriginal, one Indian, and one European, they would have no problem identifying each as products of each separate culture. The culture that produced European art is a single culture with parts – Indian art reflects the culture in the region of India, and Australian indigenous art is immediately identifiable as Australian art. If someone was to hear a piece of music from each, it would be just as easy to identify European, Indian and Australian.

    So there was Aboriginal culture in the past and there is now.

    Aboriginal culture pre-existed European culture and European settlement subsequently damaged Aboriginal culture, so the question :

    “what do you think are their great contributions to contemporary Australia?” has no clear answer. No doubt the library of Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies could fill in the answer here. But the key to understanding Aboriginal culture today is to recognise the conflict introduced by British settlement and expansion.

    Stanner noted the existence of Aboriginal cultures and Butlin noted the conflict between Aboriginal and settler cultures. Most institutional academics generally overlooked Aboriginal aspects in politics and economics, claiming for example: Aborigines were of no consequence to the nation and that they were not a political problem and are never likely to be one.

    This relegation of Aboriginal presence in Australian civilisation, and denial of the damage done to them and the denial of their rights, is the fatal flaw of Australian cultural hegemony with a few exceptions: Stanner, Butlin and Reynolds and some few others.

  • margaret says:

    Visit the National Museum and the ATSIC library, visit the Melbourne Museum, look and learn. Then decide about Aboriginal Culture(s) contributions to contemporary society and how they may have been thwarted and negated by colonialists and still dismissed today by, yes, … owm.

    “It is often easier to take our attention away from the harsh realities of history. At the National Museum of African American History and Culture, we are committed to bringing history—with all of its pain and its promise—front and center.
    Only when we illuminate the dark corners and tell the unvarnished truth can we learn history’s lessons and bridge the gaps that divide us.”

    – Lonnie G. Bunch, the Smithsonian’s founding director of the National Museum of African American History and Culture concludes his statement on the deaths in Charlottesville.

    • Don Aitkin says:

      Margaret, since you’ve been to these places, you might enlighten Chris about the contributions that we have taken over from indigenous cultures. I’ve been to the National Museum several times, but I must have failed to see what you saw. The Bunch quote says nothing about contributions. It’s about ‘harsh realities’, and about the USA..

      I know we are not allowed to say such things, but the indigenous culture had nothing to offer the new arrivals, and before long the indigenous people took over those aspects of the new culture that we available to them, especially portable foods like wheat flour, the horse and the the rifle. Yes, Burke died because he didn’t listen to the local natives telling him of their foods they had that he could use. But Burke was obstinate and unwilling to listen. It would be true today that a middle-aged white woman, lost in Arnhem Land, might die without realising that there were local foods in front of her. But that is not a comment about cultures, only about individuals.

      • margaret says:

        I certainly would die if I was lost in Arnhem Land, of heat exhaustion and thirst before hunger. I’m of Anglo-Celt ancestry – not designed for life in Arnhem Land.
        Ten Canoes is a good film but unless people are interested in what went before they would not have seen it.
        I haven’t been to the National Museum for years as I no longer live in Canberra.
        I know the Bunch quote is about the USA. I haven’t been to the African American Museum of History and Culture but I have been to the National Museum of the American Indian – our equivalent to First Nations people. It was incredibly interesting.

        What is culture?

        • Don Aitkin says:

          What is culture? To me, the pattern of language, beliefs, behaviour and attitudes characteristic of a tribe or larger group. Behaviour includes aesthetic products, sport, conflict, religion and the like.

          I hope that helps. If not, set out your own definition.

          • margaret says:

            There are two meanings for culture.

            1) the arts and other manifestations of human intellectual achievement regarded collectively.

            2) the ideas, customs, and social behaviour of a particular people or society.

            Surely 1) must encompass globally the whole of humankind according to where in the world they were located originally, not where they went to in order to tap into richer resources and ‘conquer’ those who hadn’t come up with as sophisticated weaponry to defend their own territory.

            Which then means that 2) is as valid and interesting in any society in any geographic area of the world.
            Might is not necessarily right in terms of the validity of a culture.

      • Chris Warren says:

        Technically Don is right. Local tribes had nothing to offer simply because the British just took whatever they wanted.

        Aboriginal land, food, natural resources, females and tools were all stolen.

        In this context it is impossible to honestly ask “what the indigenous culture had to offer new arrivals”. This was not the dynamic of British settlement.

        In fact (strained though it is) – indigenous culture actually offered a great resistance to European culture that could only be overcome, not by European “Enlightenment” culture, but by European military technology – poison, germs, rifles and terror.

        • margaret says:

          Yes, technically, by using the words, “the indigenous culture had nothing to offer the ‘new arrivals’ ” ( 😉 ), Don is right.
          Don you are right.

          • spangled drongo says:

            Well marg, we already knew about [and practiced in the right circumstances]cannibalism.

            The didj is not really patentable.

            We’re still waiting for you and blith to enlighten us on anything new.

            Some cultures are modern and some are stone age.

            We did the stone age a while back.

            Aboriginal culture required to get them up to date has had an easy ride compared to our ancestors.

            They weren’t provided with siddown money for the equivalent of a few millennia.

          • margaret says:

            Right on cue Strangled Bongo! (Thanks Ross for that one).

          • spangled drongo says:

            When that’s the best you and rossie can come up with conjointly, it says it all, hey marg?

        • Don Aitkin says:

          Chris, you say: ‘In this context it is impossible to honestly ask “what the indigenous culture had to offer new arrivals”. This was not the dynamic of British settlement.’

          This is, alas, not only rubbish but irrelevant. The question was about culture: what did indigenous culture have to offer new arrivals. The answer is, nothing. Land, women etc are not culture, and you are making a cocktail party comment. At most the indigenous people knew about the land they (this or that small band) traversed, and what was edible there, where the water was, and so on. The material culture of the British was in every way greatly superior, and was seen to be so. The aesthetic culture, music, dance, art, stories, meant little to the newcomers other than to seekers after knowledge, like Stanner, Elkin and others. It has become a part of modern Australian culture, and to a degree valued, especially by collectors both public and private.

          Given a choice between indigenous food, medicine, technology and habitat, what would you do, Chris? Why do you think no indigenous people today want to live like their ancestors?

          I respect individual people, and aspects of art of all kinds, but not ‘cultures’, for that is too large and encompassing a term. I am not, for example, admiring of cannibalism, infanticide, marriage of young girls to old men, or payback systems of law, whatever culture they come from.

          • Chris Warren says:


            The relationship of people to land and the position of women and the pattern of property rights generally are all representative of culture. You seem to be viewing culture as art. If these are not “material culture” what is.

            Societies with militaristic, empire building and scientific cultures have tended to invade and disrupt other cultures based on subsistence and spiritualism. All for the sake of “growth” a value which they try to embed into our culture even today.

            I see no reason why anyone would ask “what has indigenous culture given Australian culture”, simply because Aboriginal culture is part of Australian culture and there is no role for Aboriginals to give anything. The influence is more a cultural osmosis accompanied by cultural thefts (or appropriations, such as the design of $1 note and tourist trinkets).

            There are plenty of examples of indigenous influencing European culture particularly in geographical names, literature, and sport.

            This has nothing to do with how anyone might choose to live. It is not necessary to carry-on about cannibalism, infanticide, marriage of young girls to old men, or payback systems of law, as these are not acceptable to modern Australians of all types. Presumably you also do not accept the culture of biological war, nuclear war, slavery, witch-burning, heretic burning, trial by combat and religious torture and child abuse.

          • spangled drongo says:

            Your way of life and everything you are, is your culture, blith.

            And if you ever learnt anything from history the one thing that you should understand is that if you can’t defend your culture you are very likely to LOSE it.

            And you tend to have others thrust upon you.

            So societies with stone age cultures simply cannot exist unsupported.

            IOW to retain a stone age culture they have to become a museum piece. Highly taxpayer subsidised. And if they choose that road then they can’t really dictate the terms.

            If they wish to enter the real, modern world then they have to accept reality.

            Who does it remind you of?

          • spangled drongo says:

            However awa providing a museum piece we have stopped them killing each other and provided them with increased SOL, longevity and population.

            Where we have let them down though, is with native hunting rights where they now have to kill dugongs, turtles and other endangered species by 303 out of a 20 foot tinnie powered by a 200 HP outboard towed by a Toyota Landcruiser to distant beaches they couldn’t otherwise access.

            We must do better.

          • Don Aitkin says:

            C’mon Chris, c’mon. Apart from a face on a banknote, some place names, and paintings (plus Bangarra dance), what do you see in modern Australian culture that is profoundly indigenous, and has affected the whole culture? I’m glad you can see that the new arrivals were able to show the indigenous that infanticide and all the rest were not positive aspects of a culture.

            I have explained what I think ‘culture’ is to Margaret, above.

          • margaret says:

            And I have replied to that explanation – not as lucidly as Chris perhaps, but … do you ever think of the aspects of ‘Australian’ culture that also defile women and children in domestic violence?

          • spangled drongo says:

            And while on the subject of museums, here’s something more for blith to hone his ideas of aboriginal culture on:

            “A Museum Makes an Exhibition of Itself

            To be fair, there really is a lot of good stuff on display at the National Museum of Australia, but that value for the taxpayer dollar is hugely diminished by the distortions and sheer bastardry of the institution’s promotion of ‘stolen generation’ myths and slanders of self-sacrificing missionaries.”

            The ‘stolen generation’ has become synonymous with aboriginal culture yet it has never produced a single real case.

            In spite of a legal system that is just itching to get its claws into govt coffers over such a sideboard of fruit [if it existed].



          • margaret says:

            And what about the ‘new cannabilism’ operating in our enlightened western ‘civilization’?
            The blood of the poor sold to treat the rich.

          • spangled drongo says:

            “The blood of the poor sold to treat the rich.”

            How is that ‘new cannabilism’ [sic] Marg?

            I always thought that poor people getting paid for their blood was a good thing.

            I always donated mine.

            And the great culture of the Red Cross is something to be proud of.

  • margaret says:


  • spangled drongo says:

    One interesting thing about stone age culture, homosexual influence couldn’t get much traction.

  • spangled drongo says:

    Where would we be without aboriginal “culture”:

    Aboriginals in SE Australia never had the didgeridoo but “the Taboo belief is particularly strong among many Indigenous groups in the South East of Australia, where it is forbidden and considered “cultural theft” for non-Indigenous women, and especially performers of New Age music regardless of sex, to play or even touch a didgeridoo.”

    Just ask Stan Grant.

  • Chris Warren says:


    Why have you switched to “what is profoundly indigenous”?

    Your original claim was:

    “Why do you think there is a single ‘indigenous culture’? There wasn’t in the past, and there isn’t now.”

    We now know there most certainly was a single indigenous culture with differences and varying regional expressions.

    Your next issue was:

    what do you think are their great contributions to contemporary Australia?

    But we now know that there were many influences and and infusion.

    So now the goal posts are moved yet again.

    Given the mistreatment dealt out, and the associated values of dismissal propagated by the perpetrators, why would aboriginals be able to make any such “great profound contribution”? Why would aboriginals need to make any contribution to Australian culture, when that culture has stolen their land, stolen their children, wiped out their tribes, forced their ancestors into reserves and shot and poisoned any who resisted. And now they are asked:

    what great profound contribution have you made to us?

    So what is the point of the question?

    The real profound contribution of aborigines to Australian culture is yet to come. Stanner, Butlin, Reynolds, Mansell, Coombs, Perkins and others have started making the changes in their spheres, changes that would not arise but for a contribution from aboriginality. Parts of Australian history are starting to reflect aboriginal aspects and, after Mabo, law has been profoundly impacted by aboriginal interests. The only reason the High Court threw out “terra nullius” was due to contributions by aboriginals. You can probably find profound changes respecting aboriginality within schools curricula and post secondary course offerings.

    So the first contribution was to generate settler crime and violence, then a “Great Australian Silence” and now an emerging sense of guilt over past treatment. The contribution was negative – it brought out the worse European culture had to offer.

    So are you looking for an excuse for past injustice by blaming the victims in this case, for (supposedly) not having made some great profound contribution to your culture?

    To even create such a weird benchmark and wave it around like a hyperactive journalist, is a provocation of aboriginality.

    • spangled drongo says:

      The “Great Australian Silence” is never so great as when idiots like blith spout lies of the “stolen generations” and never produce one scrap of evidence.

      The reason the High Court threw out “terra nullius” was due to the fact that Eddie Mabo lived on a tiny Torres Strait island and could show that TSIs totally occupied and remained in those tiny areas. That didn’t apply to the vast continent.

      They now own and control more land per person than the rest of us, get even greater taxpayer benefits than the rest of us and pay considerably less tax than the rest of us.

      And he deludes himself that “The real profound contribution of aborigines to Australian culture is yet to come.”

      Please clarify for us blith, how people who are mostly white, mostly left wing ideological and mostly as misinformed through lack of evidence as you are, can possibly contribute truth and facts, let alone culture?

      That contribution would have even less veracity than their main contribution which is the “welcome to country, well paid whites in war paint” culture.

      As usual, you’re totally full of it, blith.

    • Bryan Roberts says:

      Oh, come on, Chris. Modern Europeans have lived with prehistoric cultures for centuries. When they are asked “what great profound contribution have you made to us?“, the answer is Christianity. Not “well, nothing yet, but wait and see”.

      • Chris Warren says:


        I don’t follow this – too cryptic.

        • Bryan Roberts says:

          Well, Chris, let me put it this way. The existence of an Aboriginal political lobby group is not evidence of a contribution to Australian culture. Nor, except in a very minor way, is Aboriginal art. Music, dance – exhuming some traditional rituals is hardly influencing modern ideas in these genres. Playing the didgeridoo in the concert hall is really no different to Riley Lee playing the shakuhachi. Exactly what is “yet to come”?

          • Chris Warren says:

            OK I suppose if you list all the contributions (or influences) and declare they are not contributions, then; yu may be right.

            Can you spot your fallacy?

        • spangled drongo says:

          Blith knows but he ain’t sayin’.

          All too cryptic for our blith.

          Something along the lines of perpetual welfare dependency and resulting community dysfunction?

          Not really new though, blith.

        • Bryan Roberts says:

          No. Let’s suggest that you spell it it out in detail.

    • Don Aitkin says:

      OK. What do you see in modern Australian culture that is indigenous, and would not be there but for the indigenous people, and affects us all in at least a mildly significant way? And do you have any sense of ‘what is to come’ or is that just arm-waving, like the rest of your contribution?

      • spangled drongo says:

        A little more on aboriginal “culture”:

        Aboriginals, as naked and hairless people, could not live in “scrub” [rainforest] and it was only the outcasts who usually developed into pygmy races because they were forced to live in such places, because of the insufferable parasites awa other extreme privations there. This occurred in other countries too.

        Even living in open forest they had to coat their bodies in ash from the fire each night to repel the milder parasites to be able to get to sleep.

        That is possibly the main reason they developed a “fire management” culture, to wipe out the predominant scrub that was early Australia.

        It required huge, hot, fire-fronts to attack the fire resistant scrub and that’s what they continually did.

        Cook comments on it in his journals.

        But that culture has only caused more and more bushfires. It was a disaster for Eco diversity. It is not the solution.

  • spangled drongo says:

    The modern culture of Homo worship:

    “In California, “the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Long-Term Care Facility Resident’s Bill of Rights” has recently passed their state senate. Under this Bill of Rights:

    misgendering a transgender nursing-home resident could result in a fine of up to $1,000 and a year in prison. It also requires nursing homes to allow residents to enter the bathrooms and showers of their chosen gender.

    That’s right. “Misgendering”, accidentally or deliberately, can see you go to jail. And without passing go.”

  • Peter Trandafilovic says:

    I see the New Age Homosexual Evangelist, Shorten, regards the new ads for the “No” side as offensive and hurtful to homosexuals and their families. Another character, Equality Campaign executive director Tiernan Brady told News Corp Australia that the ‘ad is disgraceful in its dishonesty’.

    Evidently you can say whatever you like if you’re on the “Yes” side, including putting up a fake poster down a Melbourne laneway, grossly offending and openly abusing those who have religious objections. Agnostics like myself who, perhaps, hold the view that homosexuals “marrying” is a complete nonsense, is a beat-up of galactic proportions and is also a monumental waste of government time and taxpayer money – we haven’t yet had the full onslaught of abuse. But I’m sure it’s in train as I type. The silent majority also have yet to cop a dose of invective from the “Yes” camp – just wait for it, it’ll come, just like Christmas….(ooops, forgot, Christmas has been banned by the PC stormtroopers and left lunatics).

    The “Yes” group is a minority whose entire campaign is straight-out of the Marx revolutionary handbook – he’d be so proud of Shorten and the rest of the deceitful characters in his “camp of convenience”. Bill couldn’t give toss about homosexual marriage – it’s just another convenient distraction to stick it up the LNP and draw attention away from his own appalling history of (supposedly) standing up for workers. Then again, compared to that dithering fool, Turnbull, our Shorten is a stand out leader – he must be because he’s still there as Labor’s front man.

    • margaret says:

      It is disgraceful propaganda. My grandson at age 4 loved to wear his sister’s dresses. We went out with him wearing them – so what?!! He’s now obsessed with the Geelong Cats. So what?!!

  • spangled drongo says:

    Noel Pearson gets it up to a point but then doesn’t seem aware that aboriginals were handed some great income earners on a plate but let them fall in a heap very quickly when they realised they always had the siddown subsidy.

    “Our traditional economy was and is a real economy. Central to the traditional economy was the imperative for able bodied people to work. If you did not hunt and gather, you starved …
    Common to the real economy of traditional society and the real economy of
    the market is the demand for economic and social reciprocity. This reciprocity
    is expressed through work, initiative, struggle, enterprise, contribution, effort.
    The key problem with welfare is that it inherently does not demand
    reciprocity. I call it a gammon economy.”

    The free market economy “hunts and gathers” too and aboriginals up until 1967 were beginning to fit in quite well until the bleeding hearts and blitherers took over and ruined what was left of their culture that could pull them into the 21st century.

    They have now suffered 5 decades of misguided stupidity and it won’t be ending anytime soon.

  • spangled drongo says:

    Anthony Dillon spells it out precisely:

    “We are never victims of the past, only ever victims of our view of the past. That is beyond obvious but nevertheless worth bearing in mind the next time blacktivists blame Captain Cook and Lachlan Macquarie for, well, all the many ills that bedevil some Aboriginal communities”

    “Aboriginal people as individuals must decide for themselves whether they will allow the past to be the determining factor in their lives today or if they will focus on what they personally can do to improve their lives. But to have a true choice, they need to know (as so many already do) that they do not have to be governed by the legacy of colonisation. If they only hear the popular message that past experiences (which cannot be changed) are responsible for their current plight, then it is unlikely that they will be able to take up opportunities – however many there are – and move forward. My purpose in writing this article is that Aboriginal people hear an alternative to the dominant message of “You are suffering due to the past.” I am not suggesting that people forget history or their personal pasts, but only that they do not energise them to the point where they dominate the present and define identities –or, to be more precise, psychologically cripple them.”

  • dlb says:

    Perhaps the Left’s honeymoon with Muslims is over?

    From a Muslim spokesman on the ABC:

    “Unfortunately, in the current climate, the right and conservative side has attacked Muslims as terrorists and extremists, and naturally the left side has been allies in defending us for a long period of time,” he said.

    “We are afraid if we come out with our opinion then the left may abandon us for going against their view and we can’t be friendly with the conservatives because they have been bashing us for 15, 20 years every chance they get … and that includes some Christian sects as well.”

  • Chris Warren says:

    And denialists want toclaim that it is all just natural variation …..

    • spangled drongo says:

      When you’re so desperate, blith, that you have to blither before you know the facts, always try some evidence:

      Harvey stalled because it is sandwiched between two high-pressure fronts that push it in opposite directions, and those fronts are stuck.

      “University of Washington atmospheric scientist Cliff Mass said climate change is simply not powerful enough to create off-the-chart events like Harvey’s rainfall.

      “You really can’t pin global warming on something this extreme. It has to be natural variability,” Mass said. “It may juice it up slightly but not create this phenomenal anomaly.”‘

      But you are entertaining, blith dear.

  • spangled drongo says:

    Hey blith, google is your friend:

    Since 1900 the world’s population has more than tripled, global deaths from extreme weather have fallen by 93 per cent and the number of deaths from flooding has fallen by 99 per cent.

  • spangled drongo says:

    United Nations Human Rights Committee:

    In Joslin et al. v New Zealand, the United Nations Human Rights Committee held that “marriage” is a definitional construct which, by the expressed terms of Article 23(2) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), includes only persons of the opposite sex.

  • Chris Warren says:

    Well,well well, Australia just recorded the warmest winter ever.

    So what was the natural variability myth song again?

  • spangled drongo says:

    What does this religious belief remind you of, blith?

    “Hundreds of thousands of Muslims have begun a symbolic ritual of stoning the devil amid tight security near the holy city of Mecca as part of the annual Hajj pilgrimage”

  • Chris Warren says:

    Now that we have had our warmest winter on record, things are not looking too good for the future.

    As the Bureau of Meteorology said:

    “Mean maximum temperatures were the highest on record (+1.90 °C) for Australia as a whole. ”

    Naturally our embarrassed denialists are upset and are trying to hide behind talking about anything BUT maximum temperatures.

    So just read the BoM statement:

    “Mean maximum temperature warmest on record nationally,” and compare it to the rubbish being peddled by rightwing denialsts.

    The BoM went on to give a bit of explanation of how such record heat could occur in the absence of natural causes seem previously.

    The BoM said:

    “…abnormally high maximum temperatures throughout the rest of winter occurred in the absence of Australia’s most important large-scale climate drivers; both the El Niño–Southern Oscillation and the Indian Ocean Dipole were both neutral. Winter climate was however influenced by secondary climate drivers including warmer than average sea surface temperatures to the north and east of Australia, below average rainfall (resulting in lower than average soil moisture, and increased numbers of sunny days), and the long-term increasing trend in global air and ocean temperatures.”

    Global warming is producing the “long-term increasing trend in global air and ocean temperatures.”

    It is good to expose the tricks being used by denialists. They will even delete the word “Maximum” when it conflicts with their dogmas.

    • spangled drongo says:

      What do you call it when people only tell one side of the story?

      I vaguely recall the alarmists regularly accusing the sceptics of this.

      When I was a kid during the war I remember the grocer putting his thumb on the scale for a similar reason.

      It’s bad enough when the gatekeepers don’t allow some record low temperatures through but then when blitherers completely deny record lows and only mention the highs…..

      Not to mention the fakery at the bakery that they also deny:

    • Don Aitkin says:

      Chris, who is this ‘we’ who had the warmest winter on record? The Canberra Times has just told ‘us’ that ‘we’ have had the coldest winter three months if not on record, then for a very long time. What you are pointing to is the variability of weather around our nation, not that there is some absolute truth that we must all share.

  • spangled drongo says:

    For a much better understanding of the fakery at the bakery for the blitherers:

  • spangled drongo says:

    An aspect I hadn’t really thought about:

    • Don Aitkin says:

      Interesting. Her central point seems to be that she was ‘entitled’ to have a real father, but missed out because of the choices made by her two ‘mothers’. I don’t think she argued the point well, but it is an aspect I hadn’t thought about either.

      • margaret says:

        Pathetic snowflake useful idiot … I couldn’t watch a full ten minutes of such whining ‘poor me’ rubbish.

      • margaret says:

        Honestly Don that’s a disingenuous comment from you.

        • margaret says:

          You and Strangled nutjob might have to get a room soon.

          • Don Aitkin says:

            Why? There’ was nothing disingenuous in my intention. SD put up a link. I went to it and made a short comment. As you saw I wasn’t over-impressed with what I heard, but I hadn’t thought of asking children of gay parents what they thought. I do know some, as it happens, but I’ve not asked them, especially not in the current context.

            And do you think that all those who go to these talk-fests always pay for their own fares and accommodation, and that she is an egregious exception?

            Your remark about SD and I needing to get a room together is not at all at an appropriate level. Why are you so incensed? The girl had a point to make. It was a fair point. She didn’t do it very well. But so what?

          • margaret says:

            The ‘girl’ is a twenty-four year old woman.
            I’m not incensed. These stupid red herrings are not about marriage equality.
            I’m waiting for someone other than you or Bongo to comment on the other irrelevant to marriage equality but relevant to sexual proclivities that I made reference to from a medical journal – but I won’t hold my breath because no-one wants to admit that it’s not about MARRIAGE EQUALITY it’s about homophobia.

          • JimboR says:

            Indeed, it’s not like they flew her in from Ireland. She finds herself in her predicament in Australia, today, where same sex marriage is not permitted. If we vote to keep it that way, how will that help her, or others like her? Even with all the empathy in the world, I can’t see how my vote can make any difference to her situation or other future Ms Fontanas currently in the making. She’s rocked up to the wrong survey, she needs to be lobbying for the “Should same sex couples raise children” survey.

          • margaret says:

            With regard to the “slippery slope” – MARRIAGE EQUALITY has nothing to do with this image either, an image for which I emphatically don’t have empathy.


          • margaret says:

            “Doula, surrogate and egg donor, Amey, aged 37 is currently pregnant with a baby for two dads and due at the end of June.
            I met my recipients through Egg Donor Australia while they were looking for a donor.

            … has three children aged 19, 9 and 7 says this pregnancy has been different to her own.
            … the parents have trusted me with their baby and I want to make sure that I give it the best start possible.
            I’ve also had a lot of complications, more than any of us anticipated. Severe morning sickness, low blood pressure a heart murmur; it has put a lot of strain on me, my work and especially my family.
            My family are proud of me but they will be happy to have me back to my normal self in the next couple of months.”
            … etc. etc. etc.

            Is this altruism?

          • spangled drongo says:

            Born into confusion from day one. How essential is that?

          • spangled drongo says:

            But the “adults” had a lovely time.

          • spangled drongo says:

            Mostly at the taxpayers expense.

          • margaret says:

            I think not altruism but narcissism.

          • margaret says:

            It’s surprising to me that people, women included, are so blasé about birth when it is not only ‘natural’ but perilous – the first perilous journey in life. I am concerned for babies and the mothers who bear them and surrogacy disturbs me.

          • spangled drongo says:

            And bugger the kids.

          • margaret says:

            Strangled Bongo you read a lot of absolute DROSS. It’s lowest common denominator stuff and misogyny. Women in their late teens and twenties aren’t as keen as you think they are.
            Having said that, yes, thankfully for the human race both women and their partners often want to have children and sadly sometimes they aren’t fertile. Once this was a disappointment that had to be accepted – now there’s IVF and potentially surrogacy will become completely accepted – if it was a sister having a child for her infertile sibling I consider it an act of love – but I, not having been infertile, find it difficult to yes – empathise – with much of what surrogacy is about.

          • spangled drongo says:

            Marg, unlike you I just don’t deny, as you do, that “lowest common denominator stuff” doesn’t apply to the average woman as can be seen from that link.

            And your “misogyny” is your usual gillardesque messenger leap.

            If you refuse to get that there are plenty of women who are avidly inclined to simply having babies regardless of their partner’s wants or their affordability then you haven’t been paying attention.

            When you add to that any possible reward [and today the taxpayer is handing it out in spades] then the sky is the limit.

          • spangled drongo says:

            More dross, LCD and misogyny, marg.

            Looks like it’s been around awhile:

            The study found immense variability in the duration of the maximum swelling phase (MSP), ranging from just one day to thirty-one days. Additionally, they found high variability in the timing of ovulation relative to the onset of the MSP.


          • margaret says:

            Drongo you really think like a drongo – and possibly at the level of a silverback baboon.

          • margaret says:

            Make that gorilla – like Trump stalking behind Clinton during one of the debates prior to his Peter Principle elevation to POTUS.

          • spangled drongo says:

            you miss the point as usual, marg.

            We’re talking about females and babies.

            And you’re very confused about your primates as well.

          • margaret says:

            You Tarzan, are confusing wanting babies with the natural urge of wanting ‘sexual congress’ … why do you think contraception was in enter by the most advanced primate of all?

          • margaret says:

            … invented

          • spangled drongo says:

            We’ve got a pill for everything, marg. So what?

            Stick to the point which you lost about 5 comments back.

      • margaret says:

        “Ms Fontana, an atheist, had her flights and accommodation in Canberra paid by the Australian Christian Lobby, which wants to retain the existing definition of marriage.”

        Oh my lord.

  • spangled drongo says:

    What a tolerant lot we are becoming:

    “In seeking to ruin the career of a doctor who dares to disagree with its agenda, the same-sex marriage lobby has shown, yet again, that it has no interest in freedom of speech,”

    “GetUp!-backed petition seeks to deregister doctor from No-case ad

    Supporters of the Yes campaign for same-sex marriage have launched a bid to deregister a doctor who appeared in the first television advertisement for the No case in a move that threatens other practitioners.”

    “The petition against Dr Lai is a threat not only to her, but to any others who might try to voice their opinion. The message is loud and clear: agree on same-sex marriage or else.”

    “The latest furore over the same-sex marriage debate comes after a Father’s Day community advertisement was banned from free-to-air television because it was deemed “political”’

    • dlb says:

      Well blow me down! she is not a middle-aged white anglo male.

      And I thought “GetUp” was one of those clinics for erectile dysfunction.

    • margaret says:

      I don’t agree with Getup on this (and some other campaigns), however this doctor does believe that conversion therapy works and therefore I expect she refers her homosexual clientele to suitable practitioners of that therapy.

      • dlb says:

        Yes, and I expect many of the overseas doctors that frequent our health system would probably agree with her.
        Why do we use so many OS trained medical staff, why can’t we train our own school leavers.

      • JimboR says:

        Actually, it wasn’t GetUp’s campaign. It seems it was the work of Lev Lafayette, a self-described Anarcho-socialist. Once GetUp learned of it they pulled it.

        “GetUp does not support a petition targeting Dr Pansy Lai, which was uploaded over the weekend, nor did GetUp endorse or organise it”

        • spangled drongo says:

          “Once GetUp learned of it they pulled it.”

          Not exactly, Jimb. GetUp! would have left it there if they could’ve got away with it:

          “Ms Rugg said GetUp! removed the petition after it received complaints, despite it staying on the website until The Australian wrote a front-page story about the petition on Monday.”

          ‘“It is a website that we own the technology to so we did receive a couple of complaints about the petition which flagged a review process and once we had a look at it we took it down,” she said.’

    • margaret says:

      I watched that – not the sharpest knives in the drawer.

      • spangled drongo says:

        Of course, marg! How could they possibly be?

        Particularly if they have respect for hetero marriage, support childrens’ future and support the “NO” case.

        Try the message next time, hey?

  • spangled drongo says:

    As someone who, with his cheese’n’kisses has just celebrated his 56th wedding anniversary I can relate to Cory Bernardi’s thoughts on marriage:

    “Last weekend I was fortunate enough to be a part of the celebrations for my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary.

    It was a lot of fun to share in a milestone that I suspect too few will achieve in the decades ahead. I say that – not through any sense that the importance of marriage is diminished – rather that too few take the ‘until death do us part’ bit seriously.

    Marriage seems to be going the way of many other things in our society, oriented around short-term benefits rather than long-term outcomes. I call such an approach transactional rather than relationship-based and we see it everywhere.

    In so many aspects of society today, staying power and sticking power seems to be a diminishing commodity. Some would say that’s a good thing as it fosters competitive market forces and stops customers from being taken for granted. That’s true but there is still value in working with others to establish something that offers more than just a one-time benefit. That means you’ll have some good times and bad times but both are more manageable and enjoyable if you know someone is standing firm with you. It also gives you a bit of ‘corporate memory’ to inform your future decisions. Just like in a marriage where you learn from the subtle signals from your partner, knowing the history and background can be an invaluable asset.

    I notice the same in politics. There are the diminishing number of rusted-on major party supporters and there are a growing number of people looking for the transactional benefit rather than the long-term price. It’s a case of ‘do this or you lose me’ as a supporter. It happens to every political movement and yet the temptation to oil the squeaky wheel can lead to a loss of principle, identity and reason for being. That damages political credibility and generally leads to worse political outcomes instead of taking a principled and methodical approach. That’s why the latter is a better way.

    The Australian Conservatives want positive long-term outcomes for our nation and for all Australians. Sometimes that comes at the price of short-term pain. But just like every participant in a golden wedding anniversary knows, the honeymoon doesn’t last forever and you cannot put off some pain forever. Trying to do so just compounds the problem. Eventually, you have to deal with the stark reality of life.

    For our government, it means we have to deal with the intergenerational debt problem, the declining educational outcomes, the wasteful bureaucratic approach that is choking opportunity with red tape and so much more. We can’t pretend to still be enjoying the honeymoon of decades past. We need to now work towards keeping our economy, our society and our culture together.

    Happy Anniversary Mum and Dad.

    Until next week,

    Cory Bernardi

    P.S – A big thank you to the many thousands of you who have signed our petition supporting Dr Pansy Lai. My motion supporting her freedom of conscience and freedom of speech, and criticising the attempt to have her de-registered from the medical profession, passed the Senate yesterday.”
    You can read more about it here <

  • JimboR says:

    So why would someone who’s discovered the great joy marriage can bring, want to prevent some people from sharing in that joy?

    • spangled drongo says:

      Jimb, do you really believe that it is the magic word “marriage” that brings “great joy” to the relationship.

      It is purely and simply the relationship!

      And when that relationship survives through everything life can throw at it, it develops a quality of its own.

      Calling something else the same name doesn’t give it that same quality.

      You surely don’t claim that homosexuals don’t achieve “great joy” because they can’t call it marriage?

    • spangled drongo says:

      “I agree with David Marr.”

      Of course you would, marg.

      But do you think he may be a bit one eyed?:

      “In 2008, Marr was named by Same Same as one of the 25 most influential gay and lesbian Australians for his coverage of the Bill Henson case”.

    • spangled drongo says:

      It takes strange reasoning to conclude that an opinion from someone who speaks for just 1% of the population on a subject that is for the benefit of that same 1% but applies to 100% should be appropriate for that 100%.

    • margaret says:

      “When the right sees a threat to normative expectations of gender and sexuality, we ought to embrace this – and see that a challenge to one link in the chain is indeed a challenge to another. As part of this, we need to make the fight against homophobia and transphobia central and confront these attacks head on. We need to embrace the possibilities for thinking about gender and sexuality more broadly in the debate around marriage equality, and open up space for including the diversity of LGBTQI community in our fairer and kinder world.”

  • spangled drongo says:

    If ex Labor man Paul Kelly gets the SSM “Yes” case so well, how come the majority of Labor voters don’t see the problems:

  • spangled drongo says:

    You reckon this slope isn’t slippery?

    It’s frightening:

  • spangled drongo says:

    Why can’t kids be allowed to learn what is normal:

    “Gender could be stripped from classroom talks about sex and anatomy, with body parts described according to their function rather than being considered “male” or “female”, in a proposal by two academics to make school sex education more inclusive of transgender youth.

    The terms “penis” and “vagina” could be replaced with gender-neutral terms, while reproduction and safe sex could be taught without referring to “sperm and eggs”.

    In a paper published in the Journal of Sex Education, Damien Riggs and Clare Bartholomaeus of Flinders University in South Australia have called for sex education programs in schools to extend beyond the “norm of … a male with a penis and female with a vagina”.

    The report, which points to sex education policy in New Zealand where “gender diversity and identities are explored”, has been seized upon by same-sex marriage opponents who have argued that changing marriage laws would lead to a resurgence of Safe Schools-style programs in schools.”

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