Monthly Archives: February 2010

A list of senators who just voted for discrimination to continue

Here’s a list of Australian senators who believe in discriminating against gay people:

Abetz, Eric (Tasmania).
Back, Chris J (WA).
Barnett, Guy (Tasmania).
Bernardi, Cory (SA).
Bilyk, Catryna L (Tasmania).
Bishop, T Mark (WA).
Boswell, Ronald L.D (Queensland).
Brown, Carol L (Tasmania).
Bushby, David C (Tasmania).
Cameron, Doug N (NSW).
Cash, Michaelia C (WA).
Colbeck, Richard (Tasmania).
Collins, Jacinta (Victoria).
Cormann, Mathias H.P (WA).
Crossin, Patricia M (NT).
Eggleston, Alan (WA).
Farrell, Don E (SA).
Feeney, David (Victoria).
Ferguson, Alan B (SA).
Fielding, Steve (Victoria).
Fierravanti-Wells, Concetta (NSW).
Fisher, Mary Jo (SA).
Forshaw, Michael G (NSW).
Furner, Mark L (Queensland).
Hogg, John J (Queensland).
Humphries, Gary (ACT).
Hurley, Annette (SA).
Hutchins, Steve P (NSW).
Johnston, David (WA).
Lundy, Kate A (ACT).
Marshall, Gavin (Victoria).
Mason, Brett J (Queensland).
McLucas, Jan E (Queensland).
Minchin, Nick H (SA).
Moore, Claire (Queensland).
O’Brien, Kerry W.K (Tasmania).
Parry, Stephen (Tasmania).
Polley, Helen (Tasmania).
Ronaldson, Michael (Victoria).
Sherry, Nick J (Tasmania).
Stephens, Ursula (NSW).
Sterle, Glenn (WA).
Troeth, Judith M (Victoria).
Wortley, Dana (SA).
Xenophon, Nick (SA).

These are the people who yesterday voted against the Marriage Equality Bill, a bill which did no more than remove the parts of federal legislation that continue to discriminate against gay people. A third of Senators declined to vote at all – moral cowardice, but at least not overt bigotry.

Every one of the people on the above list should be remembered for this repulsive act. In thirty years, when we look back at this bizarre episode in our history – the same way as we look back at those who opposed giving indigenous Australians the vote, or equal opportunity legislation for women – let’s not forget the contribution made yesterday by everyone on that list.

The most ironic thing was the speeches given in opposition just before the vote, where members tried to justify their support of discrimination. Senator Sherry tried to use the ALP’s record on other discrimination as an excuse. Which is daft, but dwarfed by Senator Brandis’ bizarre attempt to redefine “discrimination”:

I fail to see this issue as being an issue about discrimination. What Senator Hanson-Young failed to acknowledge in her contribution is that there are certain customs and practices in any society that are unique to certain types of relationships, and to acknowledge that is not to discriminate against people. In our society the limitation of marriage to people of opposite sex is not to discriminate against people who wish to belong to samesex relationships; it is merely to acknowledge the undoubted social reality and custom in Australia that marriage is a unique institution which has only ever been regarded as being between a man and a woman. I am astonished that there could be outrage at discrimination against gay couples by not extending to them the definition of a custom—that is, marriage—which has never, ever in any society, in the whole of human history, been regarded as other than a relationship

I think he’s saying that because they’ve been traditionally discriminated against, it’s not discrimination to discriminate against them now. Weird.

Senator Fielding spouted his party’s general nonsense about how gay marriage somehow “undermines the family”, but was mercifully spared from having to try to explain that by a severe time limit. And Senator Boswell endorsed the remarks by some idiotic constituent who thought that gay marriage “would make the commitment we have made appear to be of little significance. Consequently we would regard it as an insulting, invasive and unacceptable violation of our rights to now have our commitment massively devalued”.

That’s the quality of debate offered in Parliament on this fundamental issue of equal rights by the people determined to refuse them.

The Greens will reintroduce this bill after the next election. I hope they reintroduce it every year until it passes – and that we remember those who insist on adding their names to the roll of shame.

UPDATE: I’ve updated the list with senators’ states – I’ll be remembering to put those senators on that list below those not on the list when voting later that year. I may well put the Liberal senators who abstained (from Victoria, Fifield, Kroger, Ryan) ahead of the Labor senators (from Victoria, Collins*) who voted no on this Bill. And obviously the Greens ahead of all of them.

How pathetic is it that only five senators stood up for equality in 2010?

*Collins is also the senator for whom the ALP made the deal with Family First in 2004 that got Fielding “elected”. A double loss for Australia.

I’ve sent her the following letter (by post): Continue reading

Perhaps they should own the word “snow”

Stephen Colbert fights to even vaguely mention that sporting event that’s going on at the moment. You know, the:

Quadrennial cold-weather athletics competition

It’s ridiculous what governments let the IOC get away with – and the public dollars they hand over to help it. I wouldn’t be surprised if all the words above are somehow, against all reason and precedent, trademarked by the time of the next one. Where’s the balance? The IOC stomps in, with all its vast reserves of cash, gets the host city to pay for everything, pass legislation enabling it to sell off anything even vaguely related to this supposedly special public event they privately own and have been rorting ever since they won the lottery and found themselves on the committee – and everyone else is supposed to just sit back and enjoy the feats of their athletes on whose backs the whole rotten edifice is constructed whilst complacently ignoring just how much they’ve been had.

I fully agree there should be an international sporting competition run for the aims of sportsmanship, peace and international co-operation the Olympics was founded to – and disingenuously claims it still does – further.

But it should have nothing to do with those profiteering crooks in the IOC.

UPDATE:

The following link via Darryl Mason – check out this obscenity:

Moves to safeguard company trademarks and stamp out ambush marketing, to preserve the monopoly of official advertisers and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) logo, are raising concerns among civil liberty groups.

Police will have powers to enter private homes and seize posters, and will be able to stop people carrying non-sponsor items to sporting events.

“I think there will be lots of people doing things completely innocently who are going to be caught by this, and some people will be prosecuted, while others will be so angry about it that they will start complaining about civil liberties issues,” Chadwick said.

“I think what it will potentially do is to prompt a debate about the commercial nature of the Games. Do big sponsors have too much influence over the Games?”

Gangsters, spivs, crooks. How much more can they get away with?

Facebook-wielding mobs

Wondering what a torch-wielding mob looks like? Check out these facebook hate-pages dedicated to venting against the apparently intellectually disabled man accused of the murder of an eight-year old Queensland girl named Trinity Bates.

Because it’s Facebook, you can actually see the faces of ordinary Australians as they devise all sorts of brutal punishments to be enacted on this man whether he’s found guilty or not. Chemical castration, prison rape, immolation, physically ripping him apart – you couldn’t tell by looking at them just how violent their imaginations really are. You might say “it’s harmless – these people are just being tough over the internet” – but there’s also every chance that some REAL nutter is reading these sorts of comments and will be inspired by the belief that others are with him into actually carrying something out.

Anyone who thinks we’ve moved on from pitchforks, here’s a wake-up call.

Protest priorities

According to The Age, 10,000 protesters turned out yesterday to object to something or other the state ALP’s done that’s allegedly “killing live music” in the city. (I believe it’s a diabolical CONE OF SILENCE that descends every night at 1am.) Apparently, a lot of progressive people were there – along with some opportunistic Liberal Party MPs whose participation apparently wasn’t enough to make anyone think twice.

And disturbingly, that’s quite a few more than attended the last rally for marriage equality in November.

Which leads me to ask – what kind of progressive person is more interested in campaigning for easier liquor licensing laws to help pubs than they are in fighting government discrimination against an oppressed minority?

I shall call him… mini-me.

Seriously, what does Ms Deveny expect people to do?

Why do (don’t go there) most children(don’t go there) still end up with (don’t go there, don’t go there, don’t go there!) their father’s surname?

Probably because no-one’s come up with a functional alternative.

Unless every child is to have a different family name (which kind of defeats the point of having a “family name” in the first place), then how do you resolve this? You’ve got to pick one of them, don’t you? Hyphenated names become ridiculously unwieldy after one generation. Using the mother’s name is just as problematic as using the father’s name – only with the added factor of causing confusion to the many, many entities in society that insist on traditional naming conventions.

Believe me, using a naming convention that contradicts the “standard” is a real annoyance for the person affected. Corporate databases are lazily-designed by people who assume the way they were named is the way everyone is named. If you choose to make your child’s given name anything other than their first name, for example, you’re condemning them to years of pointless and frustrating conflict with every institution they come across. (Yes, my first name is “Walter” but my given name is “Jeremy”. No, not everyone is known by their first name! I don’t care what your computer says!)

I just want to know what family name Catherine suggests parents give their children instead.

Never fails

Is it my money or my civil liberties you’re after this time, Kev?

Australia under threat from enemy within: Rudd

Don’t worry, you know I’m a total sucker for scare campaigns. Whatever you need, as long as you tell me vaguely and non-bindingly that it’ll make me slightly safer, you can have it.

If something doesn’t happen, then it just proves you needed whatever it was. If something does, then it just proves you need MORE of whatever it was. I understand.

ACTA – parasites working in secret (seriously) with governments to further change copyright laws in their favour

At a time when it is becoming increasingly obvious that the copyright lobby that claims to serve creators actually serves no-one but its parasitical self – check out this story in The Australian today about how the Copyright Agency Limited gives itself more of what it takes than it gives to authors – there’s only one thing that can be said about any politician or government that signs us up to a corrupt corporate undemocratic anti-creativity treaty like ACTA – they represent corporate interests, not those of the public. Consider the details that were leaked – (they had to be leaked: we’re not entitled to know about this stuff until its too late, in the mindset of the people behind ACTA) today:

To avoid being sued by a record company or Hollywood studio for illegally distributing copyright-protected content, the ISP would have to prove that it took action to prevent the copyright abuse, according to the text, and in a footnote gives an example of the sort of policy ISPs would need to adopt to avoid being sued by content owners:

“An example of such a policy is providing for the termination in appropriate circumstances of subscriptions and accounts in the service provider’s system or network of repeat offenders,” the text states.

Just like France – and they are not stopping there.

Of course ACTA will be extreme and unbalanced – only one side of the issue is represented. Politicians, who are supposed to be representing the public, get loudly and continually lobbied by the corporate copyright industry, until they can no longer remember why copyright terms shouldn’t be indefinite, why copyright infringement shouldn’t be considered one of the most serious crimes, why there should be fair use provisions or, in summary, why the public shouldn’t just give the IP barons everything they demand. One side of the argument has vast reserves of money – remember, every time you buy a DVD or a CD from a member of these multinationals you are contributing to their warchest – and the other just has common sense and a commitment to fairness on its side. You can guess which is heard more by the politicians.

The Minister representing Australia in this travesty is Simon Crean. I’ve sent him some questions. Feel free to let him know your views, too.

(Via LGWS.)