BRENDAN NELSON: Well as a matter of principle we believe that no Australian should pay a dollar more in tax or receive a dollar less in social security support, by virtue of their sexuality. Whilst we will steadfastly oppose gay marriage, gay adoption and gay IVF, we will carefully scrutinise the proposals that are being put up by the Government. And if they are affordable and reasonable, we will certainly be providing support to them.
JANE COWAN: How confident are you of winning the formal support of your colleagues on this?
BRENDAN NELSON: Well I’ve already made it very clear from the day of my election as leader, that one of the things that is very important to us as Liberals and National Party MPs, is that we will not under any circumstances support gay marriage, civil unions, gay adoption or gay IVF.
However, we must live in a country where you do not pay a dollar more in tax nor receive a dollar less in support from your country and welfare, by virtue of your sexuality. We will carefully examine the proposals that are being put up by the Government. And if they are affordable and if they are reasonably achievable, then they will enjoy our support.
JANE COWAN: The National senator Barnaby Joyce though, has already said he hasn’t made up his mind on this issue, is there much disquiet within the Party on this?
BRENDAN NELSON: Well I can only say to you again, that as far as I am concerned, as the leader of the Opposition, that we will not under any circumstances support gay marriage, or civil union…
The government too is stopping short of the Marriage Act, perhaps rightly (from a pragmatic point of view) divining that the majority of Australians would not want to go that far — yet. Brendan’s “principles” are interesting: We will carefully examine the proposals that are being put up by the Government. And if they are affordable and if they are reasonably achievable, then they will enjoy our support.
However, the government really is not too different on this one. The ACT’s legislation on gay unions still falls outside what the government is willing to endorse:
Attorney-General Robert McClelland says the Commonwealth remains opposed to ACT moves to allow same sex couples to hold a formal ceremony to recognise their relationships.
Next month the Federal Government will introduce legislation to remove discrimination against same sex couples in 100 Commonwealth laws.
But the changes will not apply to the Marriage Act.
Last year Federal Labor indicated it would allow states and territories to legislate on gay marriages but since then it has continued to oppose the ACT’s Civil Partnerships Bill. Mr McClelland says he would prefer to see a registration scheme for same-sex couples similar to the models adopted in Tasmania and Victoria. — ABC News
In welcoming these changes, and in that I am 100% with him, Arthur writes:
The government’s position is manifestly unjust, and simply nonsensical in the absence of some appeal to religious dogma (which, this being a secular liberal democracy with a secular liberal democratic constitution, it has no business appealing to). Its moves to end discrimination in other areas of Federal law only serves to highlight how unjust and nonsensical its policy of maintaining discrimination against same-sex couples in marriage laws really is.
Which means, I think, that the days of such discrimination are numbered.
One thing though: in Australia it isn’t strictly true that this [is] a secular liberal democracy with a secular liberal democratic constitution. Yes, with some variation, the state school system is famously “free, compulsory and secular”, but that’s about as far as it goes. Australia isn’t France, and the Code Napoleon doesn’t apply here. Nor is it the USA. As Marcellous said:
Nor do I know where this “freedom of religion” thing comes from. Actually, I do know: it’s a US concept. Miranda can’t help that: it comes with the neocon water and she after all was born in the US when her father was working there. As any reasonable neo-con actually ought to know (given their views on human rights) the only freedom of religion in Australia is the freedom from an established religion. The charitable treatment of religion is an indulgence, not a right…
Australia does not constitutionally endorse any belief, not even secularism. Put positively, this means that all may promulgate and practise their particular take on the world, whether they come from faith or scepticism, or from what their granny told them, so long as what they say or do does not tend to the harm of others. People can wear headscarves or Mormon garments or thongs — though wearing nothing is still generally frowned upon in most public places. They can do whatever they like short of cannibalism or human sacrifice, pretty much. They can believe in fairies or the seven day creation, or neither. There is something to be said for that. Such pluralism is messy and the tidy souls among us often despair of it, but we would be silly to throw it away.