Is the ALP behind a new gay rights group campaigning against full equality?

Brian Greig, on 16 June, speculates in Crikey on how the ALP will try to defuse the marriage equality issue before its December conference:

If anyone thinks Gillard’s office will put up with this any longer they’re dreaming. Her office will inevitably set about creating a new gay marriage group. A nicer one. A tame one. One that will be quiet. One that won’t annoy her. One that can spin a poor conference outcome Labor’s way. One that can be corralled into impotency.

It will urge recruits to work with the ALP’s strategy. It will have maps, polling and arguments designed to show well meaning but naive campaigners that the best chance of success lies in making the campaign go quiet. No more activism. No more embarrassing Gillard. Just lots of fruitless, time-consuming meetings away from media and public attention.

The uninitiated will be told that conservative voters in outer urban seats don’t like the issue being raised, but will begrudgingly support it if it goes through quietly. If you keep banging on about it, they’ll say, you’ll lose support. So, everybody, shush!

This week the Star Observer reports on a “Mystery marriage alliance”:

Concerns have been raised about who is behind a new Australian marriage equality alliance before the group has been formally announced.

The Marriage Alliance was founded six months ago and lists the Australian Coalition for Equality, Queensland Association for Healthy Communities, Gay & Lesbian Equality WA, NSW Gay & Lesbian Rights Lobby, Victorian Gay & Lesbian Rights Lobby, Tasmanian Gay & Lesbian Rights Group (TGLRG), PFLAG Australia and Australian Marriage Equality (AME) as members.

However, the Star Observer has spoken to leadership individuals from Alliance member organisations, some of whom requested anonymity, who are concerned that focus group research and polling was commissioned on their behalf but without their knowledge.

The research, seen by this newspaper, urges taking a non-confrontational approach in the lead-up to the ALP National Conference in December and, although supportive of marriage equality, notes “for those conflicted by the issue or sitting on the fence, the idea of civil unions seem like the easiest and less disruptive path, and a reasonable compromise for both sides … some also think it might be a good first step before same-sex marriage becomes law”.

Groups who organise rallies for marriage equality have not been invited to join the Alliance.

I bet they haven’t.

And yet, if I hadn’t seen that Greig piece a few weeks back, the ruse might have fooled me for a few minutes.

They play a dirty game, the big parties, don’t they?

ELSEWHERE: A South Australian Labor MP has applied for a certificate of no impediment to marriage so he can marry his same-sex partner, challenging the PM to rescind the nasty effort by the Australian government to stop its citizens marrying overseas.

Meanwhile, the increasingly indefensible Gillard tells Sky News that she might not feel compelled to follow a resolution in favour of equality even if one is approved at the Labor conference.

Such bastardry to pointlessly try to placate bigots who’d never vote for her anyway.

10 responses to “Is the ALP behind a new gay rights group campaigning against full equality?

  1. narcoticmusing

    And that dirty game may actually get equal marriage rights… if you know how to play the game you’d know that shouting about it only makes those opposed to it, more opposed. I know you’ll be pissy with my answer, but there is little understanding by equal rights lobbyists of the reality of the political landscape here. Pro-marriage equality people don’t vote based on marriage equality because no one is for it, so these is no choice (and yes, I am aware that some minor parties like the Greens do support this, but again, I am talking about political reality not idealistic fantasy). Anti-marriage equality advocates WILL vote on this issue alone. Ergo, the change risks votes, no change risks nothing (other than perhaps your spine). So silent and dirty might just work.

    I also agree with incremental steps in lieu of doing nothing (albeit I personally advocate for marriage equality in full on the grounds that the state is secular and this is discrimination).

  2. The ALP could pass full marriage equality tomorrow with the Greens. The amendment to the Marriage Act is very simple and straightforward.

    There is no excuse for discrimination just to pander to bigots in marginal constituencies. Those people for whom discriminating against gays is critical don’t vote for or preference Labor anyway.

    (And note that Labor has never actually put an argument against full equality.)

  3. Gillard, the new ‘Iron Lady’:

    “Marriage equality advocates are deeply disappointed that Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, has indicated she may not respect a motion at December’s National Labor Conference in favour of allowing same-sex marriages.”

  4. Zomg. That’s disgraceful.

    She really is indefensible.

  5. uniquerhys

    The Gillard Government is kicking over some serious hornets’ nests on pokies, tobacco, carbon, etc. The very opposite of keeping things quiet. And yet amending the marriage act is harder than any of those? How could smiling happy faces of same-sex couples filling the marriage pages in the papers be a negative at this point? I don’t get her at all.

  6. narcoticmusing

    Yup, ALP and Greens could pass it tomorrow giving LibCo a free ride to the next election on the promise of repealing the amendments. Just like what happened in the US. It isn’t that I don’t agree with marriage equality, I do, I just don’t think any of the advocates understand the political situation. And I find it odd that everyone is shocked when a political party only cares about their own skin.

  7. “Yup, ALP and Greens could pass it tomorrow giving LibCo a free ride to the next election on the promise of repealing the amendments.”

    A free ride? It’s a minority of voters who’d vote against equality, and they don’t vote for her anyway.

    I suppose it’s like the carbon tax – she’s gone and dealt herself into a corner now. If she changes her mind then she’ll be accused of lying, again, and of being in the Greens’ pocket, again.

  8. narcoticmusing

    Fair point J

  9. I think maybe placating unions like the SDA is a moar likely explanation for Gillard’s position than concern over the impact on voting patterns in marginal electorates.

  10. Just saw a report on ABC24 that the NSW Labor conference has voted to refer the gay marriage matter to the federal conference, but not to support it. Cowards. The NSW Right is so toxic to progress on social issues.

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