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This website is in imminent danger of being shut down. It has been online since 1995, but the personal circumstances of the owner, Malcolm Farnsworth, are such that economies have to be made. Server costs and suchlike have become prohibitive. At the urging of people online, I have agreed to see if Patreon provides a solution. More information is available at the Patreon website. If you are able to contribute even $1.00/month to keep the site running, please click the Patreon button below.


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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. [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.

Turnbull’s speech was delivered in the Federation Chamber.

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. [Read more…]


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…]


House of Representatives Debates Gay Marriage Resolution

An impressive debate began in the House of Representatives tonight on a motion by the Greens member, Adam Bandt, calling on parliamentarians to gauge their constituents’ views on the issue of marriage equality.

Bandt’s motion reads:

That this House:

(1) notes there is:

(a) a growing list of countries that allow same-sex couples to marry including the Netherlands, Belgium, Norway, SPain, Canada and South Africa; and

(b) widespread support for equal marriage in the Australian community; and

(2) calls on all parliamentarians to gauge their constituents’ views on the issue of marriage equality.

Speaking to the motion, Bandt said, “there have been many attempts through history to limit love and all have failed”. The text of his speech is at the end of this page. [Read more…]


Melbourne: Two Kinds Of Politics

It’s Saturday afternoon and I’m standing in front of Melbourne’s State Library. A large crowd has gathered for the Equal Love rally in support of gay marriage.

It’s a motley crowd. Many carry placards, one of which reads, “I can’t believe we’re still protesting this shit”. Others demand amendment of the Marriage Act. There are calls for equal rights and many challenges to the conventional definition of “family”.

My interest is to see how the election candidates fare. In a week’s time, the electorate of Melbourne will have a new member in the House of Representatives. This Federation seat, established in 1901 and represented by the ALP since 1904, may be about to reject the Labor candidate in favour of the Greens. [Read more…]


Tony Abbott On Homosexuality

The Leader of the Opposition, Tony Abbott, has said he is “a bit threatened” by homosexuality.

The Liberal leader spoke in an interview on Channel 9’s Sixty Minutes.

The following day, Abbott was asked about his remarks on the ABC’s Lateline. [Read more…]