Governor-General Quentin Bryce Calls For A Republic And Same-Sex Marriage

The Governor-General, Quentin Bryce, has called for an Australian republic and same-sex marriage in the last of her Boyer Lectures, delivered just four months before she retires from the Vice-Regal role.

Bryce

Bryce’s remarks came at the end of a speech titled “Advance Australia Fair”. She concluded by imagining a nation of care and equality, “where people are free to love and marry whom they choose and where, perhaps, my friends, one day, one young girl or boy may even grow up to be our nation’s first head of state”.

Bryce has been Governor-General since 2008. Appointed by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, she is the first female Governor-General.

  • Listen to Bryce’s speech (29m)

    Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Text of Governor-General Quentin Bryce’s final Boyer Lecture for the ABC.

Advance Australia Fair

My Friends

One of the occasions, that spoke openly, of the diversity of Australian life and talent was the lunch I hosted to honour Her Majesty the Queen during her visit here in 2011.

Some around the table were –

  • a high school principal;
  • the chair of a major public company;
  • a paralympic gold medallist;
  • race horse trainer;
  • the director of a medical research institute;
  • a young female helicopter pilot
  • and a young man in our Army’s SAS,

both rising through the ranks of our military;

  • the founder and director of the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital for women in Ethiopia;
  • a senior laywoman of the Anglican Church;
  • a Sister of Mercy;
  • a farmer;
  • an Australian-Vietnamese author and comedian;
  • the CEO of a Women’s Resource Centre in the Kimberley in far north-west Australia.

All of them passionate about their work, fine advocates of its value to society, and modest narrators of their own stories of achievement.

I felt privileged to be among them, and to share in their generosity of spirit and intellect. They exemplified, the quality and breadth of contribution I see all around our country. [Read more…]


President Barack Obama’s Second Inaugural Address

Barack Obama has been ceremonially sworn in for his second term as the 44th President of the United States.

Obama and Vice-President Joe Biden were officially sworn in yesterday, in accordance with the requirements of the Constitution. In today’s public ceremony, Supreme Court Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor again swore in Biden and Chief Justice John Roberts again swore in Obama.

Political attention today focussed on Obama’s Second Inaugural Speech.

With frequent invocations of ‘We, The People’, the speech was Obama’s most progressive as president. Amongst other things, he called for action on climate change and equality for gay people.

Capitol

  • Listen to Biden sworn in as Vice-President (2m)

    Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

  • Listen to Obama ceremonially sworn in as President (2m)

    Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

  • Listen to Obama’s Second Inaugural Address (20m)

    Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Text of President Barack Obama’s second inaugural address.

Vice President Biden, Mr. Chief Justice, Members of the United States Congress, distinguished guests, and fellow citizens:

Each time we gather to inaugurate a president, we bear witness to the enduring strength of our Constitution. We affirm the promise of our democracy. We recall that what binds this nation together is not the colors of our skin or the tenets of our faith or the origins of our names. What makes us exceptional — what makes us American — is our allegiance to an idea, articulated in a declaration made more than two centuries ago:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Today we continue a never-ending journey, to bridge the meaning of those words with the realities of our time. For history tells us that while these truths may be self-evident, they have never been self-executing; that while freedom is a gift from God, it must be secured by His people here on Earth. The patriots of 1776 did not fight to replace the tyranny of a king with the privileges of a few or the rule of a mob. They gave to us a Republic, a government of, and by, and for the people, entrusting each generation to keep safe our founding creed.

For more than two hundred years, we have. [Read more…]


Malcolm Turnbull Speech On Same-Sex Marriage

Opposition frontbencher Malcolm Turnbull has spoken in parliament on the Marriage Amendment Bill.

Turnbull made clear that he supported same-sex marriage but was bound by the coalition’s decision to oppose the bill. He said: “In my view, the numbers would not be there even if there were a free vote on the coalition side.” He called on same-sex marriage proponents to support civil unions.

Text of Malcolm Turnbull’s speech on the Marriage Amendment Bill 2012.

Mr TURNBULL (Wentworth) (11:37): Following on from my very good friend the member for Leichhardt, let me return the compliment. He has been a vigorous, persuasive and very effective advocate for the rights of same-sex couples and people of a homosexual orientation, and has done a great deal of work, perhaps made more effective because of his unlikely persona as the crocodile farmer from North Queensland, speaking up for the gay community in the widest sense of the word.

Turning to the Marriage Amendment Bill 2012, as honourable members are aware, the coalition has taken a position as a party, and as a coalition party room, not to allow a free vote on this issue. So, like the member for Leichardt, I will not be voting in favour of this bill. Were, however, a free vote to be permitted I would support legislation which recognised same-sex couples as being described as in a marriage. I want to explain to the House why I would do that and also suggest an alternative.

The arguments that have been put against gay marriage fall into three categories. The first one we can call a taxonomic one. They say a marriage is between a man and a woman. You cannot make a table into a chair simply by calling it a chair. It is a table; it does not matter what name you give it. The weakness with that argument is that the definition of marriage has changed again and again over time. In my estimation, at least one-third of the marriages extant in Australia today would not be recognised by the Catholic Church, or indeed by the Anglican Church, because one of the parties to that marriage has been married before and their former spouses are still living. So the truth is that society has defined and redefined marriage again and again. [Read more…]


Q&A: Wong And Hockey On Gay Marriage

The final question on tonight’s Q&A produced an interesting contrast between Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey and Finance Minister Penny Wong.

  • Listen to the question and responses:

    Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


ALP Conference: Some Votes Are More Equal Than Others

Julia Gillard had a good National Conference over the weekend.

ALPShe won the day on gay marriage, uranium sales to India, internal party reform, and refugees. She has been buoyed by the passage of the carbon tax through parliament. The mining tax should be through the Senate early in the new year. Tony Abbott has lost a number in the House and the Government looks almost certain to make it into 2013.

Gillard is looking prime ministerial at last. Kevin Rudd’s leadership ambitions have been dealt a blow. The year of decision and delivery is ending well. This week may well be the time for a ministerial reshuffle to sharpen the Government further.

Well, that’s the official story. It may even be right in many respects.

If you turned off the relentless babble of commentary pouring forth from the cable news channels over the last three days and simply watched the live feed of the ALP conference, it was difficult not to be impressed at times. [Read more…]