What part of “equality, fairness and justice for all Australians” does the ALP not understand?

An email from ALP Senator John Faulkner’s office was waiting for me when I fired up the computer after our weekend away:

Thank you for your recent correspondence regarding recognition of same-sex relationships.

Consistent with the Labor Party’s long history of support for equality, fairness and justice for all Australians, the Australian Labor Party adopted the following platform commitment at its 2007 National Conference:

Equality, fairness and justice for gay Australians.

Nah, just kidding!

[Labor legislation will] not implement arrangements that mimic marriage or undermine existing laws that define marriage as being between a man and a woman.

How is that equality? Hang on, is Labor admitting that it does not believe in equality for gay people for some unspecified reason that it will at some point outline to us?

Labor supports the enactment of legislation prohibiting discrimination on the basis of a person’s sexual orientation or gender status, and the removal of such discrimination from Commonwealth legislation.

So why are you still supporting Howard’s amendments to the Marriage Act that directly discriminate “on the basis of a person’s sexual orientation or gender status”?


Last among “equals”.

Says Faulkner’s office:

Labor believes that people are entitled to respect, equality, dignity and the opportunity to participate in a society free of hatred or harassment and receive the protection of the law regardless of their sexuality or gender identity.

But it “will not implement arrangements that mimic marriage or undermine existing laws that define marriage as being between a man and a woman”.

What is this, 1984-style doublethink? We don’t believe in discrimination but we believe in discrimination! We believe in equality for you but we don’t think you should be equal with us? It is disturbingly reminiscent of Orwell’s construction:

The power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them….To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just so long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality and all the while to take account of the reality which one denies — all this is indispensably necessary. Even in using the word doublethink it is necessary to exercise doublethink. For by using the word one admits that one is tampering with reality; by a fresh act of doublethink one erases this knowledge; and so on indefinitely, with the lie always one leap ahead of the truth.

And John – baldly asserting that there is no contradiction does not make it so:

These reforms are to be implemented nationally and are consistent with Labor’s commitment to maintaining the definition of marriage as currently set out in the Marriage Act.

They are not in any way consistent with your claim that gay people are entitled to “equality”.

Apparently the ALP thinks it can get away with mouthing platitudes about how it believes in equality for gay people out of one side of its metaphorical gob while, out of the other, promising the bigots that it doesn’t really.

How dumb do they think we are?

ELSEWHERE: Excellent article on the issue by Adele Horin over the weekend. (Via AU.)

UPDATE: The Marriage Equality campaign urges you to use this web form urgently to let the PM know your thoughts on the issue before he makes any more of a git of himself about it this week.

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35 responses to “What part of “equality, fairness and justice for all Australians” does the ALP not understand?

  1. “All Australians are equal, but some Australians are more equal than others.”

    I got a similar letter from my local member (they’re all using the same script). I know they are politicians, and I know politicians cannot lie straight in bed, but how they perpetuate this doublespeak and not spontaneously combust, I just don’t know.

  2. As for Adele Horin’s article, once again the lazy buggers at the NTimes had comments switched off for all articles over a weekend (there move into interaction with the public leaves a whole lot to be desired – they need to study The Paunch’s website operation).

  3. Thanks so much for the link – never one to keep quiet when I can be mouthing off, here’s my two cents in case anyone’s looking for ideas (go on, tell the PM what to do… it’s fun!)

    Dear Mr Rudd,

    I understand that marriage equality across genders and sexual orientations is a hot topic at the moment, and that you’ll be putting forward a response soon. I just wanted to use this opportunity to let you know how important this is to many families with young children across Australia.

    My husband and I will be teaching our two young children about relationships and what it means to be married, and indeed to be Australian, over the coming years, and it is central to our understanding of both of these ideals that marriage become a rite of passage that marks a loving, committed family – not one that is used to discriminate against and marginalise a whole section of our community.

    Please don’t let us down by standing for your own religious background, but stand for ALL Australians and allow equal participation in the civic life of this uniquely egalitarian country by extending the definition of marriage to all, regardless of gender or sexual orientation.

    We, your supporters, have trusted you to stand for truth and fairness in matters as diverse as the war in Iraq and Aboriginal reconciliation, and we look to your leadership in this matter also. As in the Apology to Aboriginal Australians, it takes nothing from us who have so much privilege, and gives so much to those who have been excluded.

    Kind regards etc etc.

  4. Yes, I’ve emailed Holiness the PM via the link too.

    I’m a Greens voter but always 2nd preference the ALP statewise and federally. This is a make-or- break issue for me as to whether the ALP will receive those preferences in the future. The current federal ALP is certainly not the government I was expecting.

  5. Before the 2007 election there were some Labor Party stooges at the local Pride festival trying to drum up votes for Rudd. I asked them what exactly Labor and Rudd were going to do for the gay community, and all they could say is “uhhh, I’m sure they’ll do something.” The leaflet they handed out was equally unconvincing.

    It was sad to see them so blindly following a man who hates us. Sure, there was WorkChoices, but the pretence of caring about equality was laughable.

    And then they overrode ACT law a couple of months later.

    History is not on our side.

  6. I thought the latter part of this blog post by Rodney Croome on the possible overriding (or not) of the ACT legislation had an interesting point:

    “… these trends will meet at one point: a political movement that supports marriage-like civil unions instead of equality in marriage.

    This is why it is a mistake to confuse a victory over prejudice with a victory for equality. It’s just as likely that defeating opposition to ACT civil union ceremonies will take the LGBT community away from full equality instead of towards it.

    We should all celebrate if the ACT is allowed its preferred civil union model, but within that victory will lie the seeds of a much greater defeat on same-sex marriage.

    It will be job of those who genuinely support equality to make sure these seeds never germinate.”

    http://www.rodneycroome.id.au/other?id=P3083

  7. This is what happens when the ALP marginalises its left wing.

    It eventually drops off …

  8. my letter (i’d like to have fine-tuned it a little, but meh):

    “Dear Mr. Prime Minister,

    I am deeply ashamed of Australia’s stance on gay marriage.

    Why, when your government promotes equality for all, is a large percentage of our community not allowed to marry the person that they love, because of their sexual orientation?

    If this was a law against inter-racial marriages, or inter-faith marriages we would be the laughing stock of the world, showing that we were no better than the people who decided that a generation of aborigines were better off with white parents, a decision made entirely based on the colour of someone’s skin, and not the quality of their person.

    To deny a man or woman the right to marry based entirely on their sexual preference is not equality, it is vilification.

    Their is no logical reason to oppose gay marriage.

    Some argue that a child needs a mother and a father, and if this is the case why are single parents not outlawed? Many families only have one parent, as a result of divorce, death, and military service among other reasons. Why would having 2 parents of the same gender be a disadvantage, compared with a single parent family?

    Some argue that a marriage is about having children, and the reason it must be between a man and a woman is a biological necessity for having children. If this is the case, why are infertile people allowed to marry? They too are unable to reproduce, and marriage is not a legal requirement before having children, anyway.

    There is no economic, social, environmental or political reason to deny the LGBT community the right to commit to the person they love, just as everybody else can.

    A person’s religious beliefs are the only reason this is an issue. This is a secular country, where religious freedom is an important foundation. But why should the beliefs of a minority be forced upon another minority? This is simply unacceptable.

    Marriage promotes stability, both economic and social. It promotes community, and social engagement. Married couples will tend to plan for the future, support each other and the health benefits of a stable, long-term relationship are well established, with better life expectancy and lower rates of heart disease.

    My children will grow up in a country where this will be an embarrassing relic of a community whose government was grasping at political straws in the hopes of not offending a very vocal minority, and I want to be able to say to them I did something. I voiced my disgust at the double standards being forced upon a minority, for no reason other than who they loved.

    Please allow the LGBT community the same rights as every other man and woman in Australia, and once again I will be proud of this great country. “

  9. Thanks for the credit Jeremy….I like being called AU. 🙂

    This issue makes my blood boil. I am getting mad just thinking about the gutless wonders in the ALP. I truly feel sorry for people in Rainbow Labor. But maybe they’ll finally either get the ALP to see sense or leave and join a party which gives a shit – the Greens

  10. Betty Bowers explains ‘traditional’ marriage:

  11. That is pure gold Daphon!

  12. If you want gay marriage – Vote Green.

    If you want to maintain the status quo – Vote Labor or Liberal.

  13. Good letters.

    And for once, Turtle is quite right.

  14. The ALP will be the govt that changes the marriage act, Turtle, with the support of the Greens.

    Rudd just needs to grow some cojones (on this and other issues). Perhaps in the next parliamentary term …

  15. No your wrong Daphon. While Rudd is leader of the ALP – marriage is safe.

  16. “marriage is safe.”

    From what?

  17. Pingback: We’ll visit, but only if you can put on a record-breaking heatwave for us « An Onymous Lefty

  18. Stuff that! Say yes to polygomous gay marraige!!

  19. To what? What’s polygamy got to do with it?

  20. Gays want to be able to marry?

    Forgive them…for they know not what they do to themselves.

    Give them a few years of “marriage” and they will be begging for it to be outlawed again.

    (I say that having never married, never intending to marry and based merely on my own prejudices about marriage”

  21. I do fully support same sex marriage rights though.

  22. “No your (sic) wrong Daphon. While Rudd is leader of the ALP – marriage is safe.

    Safe from what? Did you watch the video Turtle?

  23. I just wish the politicians, those on the left mainly, would just come out and say “We don’t want to rock the boat on this issue in case it might offend the Bible bashers, truckers in blue singlets, wharfies, brickies labourers, and other machismo types because, we need their votes.

    Just forget the fact that Fred the local butcher would probably like to have sex with Steve the sparky, but he is a paragon of virtue, and a pillar of society.What would his local Rotary club say?They would be mortified knowing old Fred would like to experiment.Not to mention his pre selection for the Labor/Liberal party would be shot to bits.

    Not only that, he might just like it, society will be rooned I tell ya rooned..

    The conservatives at least have an excuse, they’re dumb and ignorant.In fact, if they still had their way they would be burning homo sexual’s at the stake.

  24. Well, why discriminate against people who want multiple sex partners? Kill many birds with a couple of stones I say.

  25. Because there’s no practical way anyone’s shown of government regulating those relationships?

    Because it’s an entirely different issue we’re not talking about here?

    Because your shameless efforts to drag the discussion off-topic are both transparent and pathetic?

  26. Lovely as it is for people to advocate on the behalf of me and my people, my long-standing view is that, so long as my partner and I receive recognition equivalent to that afforded to heterosexual de facto couples, I am reasonably pleased.

    I contend that our relationships are distinct from man/woman relationships and the law may as well leave that reality as it is.
    My partner and I may be very devoted to each other (and we are – he is quite wonderful in just about every respect) but that does not, in and of itself, necessitate marriage.

  27. Since you apparently don’t personally want to get married, the gay people who do are no more “your people” than they are mine.

    For you to presume to speak for them, and declare that they don’t “need” to get married just because you don’t want to, is incredibly arrogant.

    You “contend” that gay relationships are “distinct” from man/woman relationships – in what meaningful way? A specific gay relationship is unique and special, of course, in the same way that a specific individual heterosexual relationship is unique and special.

    Why should you be prevented from marrying by the government if you wanted to, merely because of your gender?

    As a gay man, why does it not incense you that the government deliberately takes away a right you’d possess if you were straight? Whether you want to exercise it or not?

  28. No your wrong Daphon. While Rudd is leader of the ALP – marriage is safe.

    Just to clarify – Turtle means that his marriage will be safe. As we have established many times over on this blog Turtle firmly believes that marriage will become more difficult for him if gays are allowed to marry.

    There’s no rational basis for his beliefs – he doesn’t even appear capable of explaining them to himself – but that’s the beauty of being a bigot. No explanation is necessary.

  29. Nice editorial in The Age this morning:

    “It is time to end legal discrimination against gays and lesbians.

    SPAIN has done it. So have Belgium, Canada, the Netherlands, Norway and South Africa. All these nations have legalised same-sex marriage, without evident undermining of heterosexual marriage and the family relationships based upon it. And in Britain, Sweden, Switzerland, France, Germany and New Zealand, where the law allows same-sex civil unions or registered partnerships, there hasn’t been any shredding of the social fabric, either. Yet Australia, which likes to see itself as a tolerant, pluralist society, has not been able to go as far as deeply Catholic Spain in removing remaining forms of institutionalised discrimination against gay and lesbian people.”

    http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/editorial/whatever-the-gender-all-marriages-should-be-equal-20091123-ixhy.html

  30. “Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has given the strongest hint yet that ACT civil unions legislation will be scuttled by the Federal Government.”

    http://www.canberratimes.com.au/news/local/news/general/rudd-hints-civil-unions-bill-will-be-overturned/1684603.aspx

  31. Gary: “I just wish the politicians, those on the left mainly, would just come out and say “We don’t want to rock the boat on this issue in case it might offend the Bible bashers, truckers in blue singlets, wharfies, brickies labourers, and other machismo types because, we need their votes.”

    Dont jump to stereotypes so quickly Gary. There certainly are some fuckwit machismo types as you describe but they are a minority.
    I believe for example that the MUA and CFMEU are firmly behind marriage equality.
    And back in ’73 when Jeremy Fischer was expelled from Maq Uni’s residential building for being openly gay it was the BLF that applied a “pink ban” to the Uni.

  32. I was just looking through the objectives of the ALP as a result of the ‘Police state’ post and found these:

    k. social justice and equality for individuals, the family and all social units, and the elimination of exploitation in the home;

    p. elimination of discrimination and exploitation on the grounds of class, race, sex, sexuality, religion, political affiliation, national origin, citizenship, age, disability, regional location, economic or household status;

    Just goes to show what a load shite things like this (and mission statements etc.) are.

    http://www.alp.org.au/platform/chapter_12.php

  33. Jeremy, I no more speak for ‘my people’ than you do – such is the nature of the beast. I continue to contend that male/male relationships are different to male/female relationships, despite your apparent difficulty with that. As far as why I take such a view, um, well, we’re both men. My partner is not my wife, I am not his husband, the roles are different. Now, while people can create such roles in their own (gay) relationships, I do not believe that this requires them getting married.

  34. “I continue to contend that male/male relationships are different to male/female relationships”

    In what way?

    “My partner is not my wife, I am not his husband, the roles are different.”

    In what way?

    “Now, while people can create such roles in their own (gay) relationships, I do not believe that this requires them getting married.”

    Who’s saying anyone’s “required” to get gay married? You’re denying those who wish to the opportunity, not protecting those who don’t.

    No-one’s proposing making it compulsory.

  35. Exactly right Jeremy. Those who do feel that marriage is appropriate for their relationship should be able to marry. Those that don’t shouldn’t.

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