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AUSTRALIAN DEMOCRACY…

Tim Benson

With the risk of voicing the opinion of an undergraduate political science student, I feel the need to rant about the Abbott Government’s proposal to have a national referendum about same sex marriage. Why do we need to do this? Does same sex marriage require constitutional change? Absolutely not. Then why have a national referendum? Is it something that our Federal Parliament has no power over? Nope, there is the Marriage Act 1961. Is there a history of the Federal Parliament defining what marriage is? Yes, in 2004 the Howard Government amended the Marriage Act to define marriage as: Marriage means the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life. So the precedent is there, set in place by, current Prime Minister, Tony Abbott’s mentor. Let’s call a ‘fig a fig and a trough a trough’. Prime Minister Abbott is playing politics with this issue. He doesn’t support same sex marriage and is setting in place a process that is delaying and stalling the democratic process of letting the parliament decide.

Rant part 2: When I became aware that Australian Border Force was intending to take to the streets in Melbourne to check random stranger’s immigration status, I thought this must be a joke, so I rang the Australian Border Force Media Unit and discovered that it was their media release and it wasn’t a joke. The Australian response to this was totally appropriate: shock, opposition and protest. The response was swift from the Victorian Police and the joint operation was canned before it began. I don’t buy for one second the lame response from Australian Border Force that the outrage was due to a poorly worded media release from a junior communications officer. Are they suggesting that if the wording was softer then this sort of activity would be deemed acceptable by the Australian people? We do not want immigration police in this country. What is the difference between immigration police in Australia pulling people off the street for visa violations and religious police pulling people off the streets of Tehran for wearing their headscarf too high on the forehead? Nothing, they both drive fear in the community. This incident should not be swept under the carpet. We need to know what this new paramilitary force is doing in our name. That junior communications officer should be promoted.

Tim Benson, Publisher
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