One year since the Democrats’ (and Howard’s) end, a long overdue reform arrives

There has been a mountain of articles, opinion pieces and blog posts about the one year anniversary of the election of the Rudd government, and the end of the Howard government.  I think the jury is still very much out on how substantive the Rudd government will turn out to be, although I have to note and praise a few of the reforms in the immigration area – particularly the scrapping of Temporary Protection Visas, which should be a permanent reform.

Many people are probably taking more enjoyment out of marking the anniversary of the end of the Howard government, than the rise of Kevin Rudd. I’d probably count myself among those, although I am probably one of the few people in the country whose thoughts have dwelt more on the fact that it marks a year since the final deathknell for the Democrats was delivered at a national level. 

Perhaps it was apt that the episode of the Howard Years which screened on the anniversary detailed the event and the mindset which did more than anything else to bring that about.  The thrill of being allowed into the ‘inner sanctum’ of the Cabinet room during the GST negotiations and having senior government staff run around late at night trying to fulfil a request for a herbal teabag obviously went to a few peoples’ heads. Talk about being played for a sucker.

However, despite the Democrats being no more, much of the legacy of reform lives on.  It was also apt, in a much more positive way, that this was also the day when the Senate finally passed legislation removing discrimination against same sex couples in a wide area of federal law, including superannuation, taxation, health, social security and employment.

It is a real tribute especially to the late former Senator, Sid Spindler, who first introduced legislation that would have achieved this back in 1995, and initiated a Senate inquiry into the issue.  Recognition should also go to former WA Democrat Senator Brian Grieg, who pursued this with dogged determination during his six years in the Senate until 2004.

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36 Comments

  1. I dont think I am a Howard hater,but who I cannot stand is the the magical deliverer of balance,from the Sydney Institute.I am unconvinced completely now,that any statement about Hicks will be fair from Henderson,about Hicks,Taliban or people opposed ,in any way to our participation in Afghanistan,Get Up bores me too tears on some matters,but,Henderson has rolled out his label of them as Leftists,which isn’t their record,in their assessments of Party platforms at the last election.So if you felt,like many Americans felt,George took a few things too far,or more refined and detailed opinion of that,re Gitmo,as it is called,Henderson is the lone soldier on duty.Get a mugshot of him,and raise it as the flag before it is too late.And sing ,like the Three Stooges…. God Save Our Queen.For only Truth that is residual is the Henderson!

  2. Your normal set of posters maybe still affected by weather and personal problems besetting Queenslanders Andrew!I cannot even be sure that you,personally haven’t been,seeing there is no report about a couple of occasions here.If ,we,Australians, are living through historical times and difficult ones at that,Nicole Kidman takes the cake,today for finding the Australian accent unacceptable,and wants child to have an American one.She,I reckon is representative of the confidence of ALP types and others,who attempt to make Australia a launching pad for their own interests and then hide in and under the bushels when it is tough overseas.What can Rudd say now,seeing he has been a copy of Howard,that wont rub the wrong way in the electorates as backflips occur from issues economic and American and State based patheticness.Whilst now there is time to compare the track that Rudd has left,with the final struggles of Howard as humans and policy setters in terms of their basic objectives and integrity.Aboriginal Australia now are insisting on work for the dole schemes,as the confidence,in the mining industry dissolves somewhat.Next year will be a 19 year low for Chinese expansion,according to the SMH Online.What is missing in the building up of expectations and then the deflating of such,is basic honesty,that doesn’t evolve around competitive oppurtunism,but builds it anyway.Whilst working for the Dole new machinery understandings and know how,for all well paid positions re mines is entirely possible,with a patient work force ready for the long long time.Rudd Forester Murdoch tried selling the rush,time to penalise this insult.

  3. Andrew:

    That’s the story of the Democrats.
    Lets face it, if we had wanted to vote for a morally and socially bankrupt political party we would have voted for the extreme – “ The Greens’.

    There is no more socially destructive party then the greens and if the Democrats were trying to emulate them then they came a poor last.

    The current government may not have the experience but its marketing skill are second to none. Kevin has just released his new website for all you excited web bloggers. Nows the time to cash in on some of his bargins, while he’s still popular.

    <a href = http://www.ruddshop.com Kevin’s first birthday bash

    Enjoy and don’t spend too much

    Tony

  4. Tony:

    I don’t think all of the Greens’ policies are bad. I think Bob Brown has more respect for the needs of the poor than some of the other parties.

    Which social policies are you mainly objecting to?

    I think a lot of young people voted for the Greens, mainly because of the fear of dying.

    I don’t think Queensland’s Labor government would be doing much to help Rudd, but I think the LNP is also a poor alternative.

    It will be interesting to see what workers think after Workchoices leglislation is rehashed through the parliament.

    If Labor doesn’t come to the party, the unions may be looking for someone else to support, and Rudd may be spending a very short time in the limelight of the PM position.

    I still think the Democrats could crawl out of the quagmire with a few policy changes and a charismatic leader who promotes common sense and logic, and more importantly, is into more of a “buy back” than a “sell out” of the nation’s assets, enterprises and industries.

    As for John Howard … good riddance … and now we have Malcolm Turnbull doing a very boring job of back-pedalling and back-stabbing the new government – also doing a very bad job of pretending he isn’t a bully.

  5. Hi yourself Lorikeet.

    lorikeet says: don’t think Queensland’s Labor government would be doing much to help Rudd, but I think the LNP is also a poor alternative.

    The Queensland ALP is now on the ropes and would need a miracle to remain in Government. As for the LNP I cant see the marriage working in the long term. They look good to be winners in this round and Anna Bligh will learn the hard lesson of not to takeing the public for granted as she has on so many occasions. Lets face it she managed to ram through a couple of very controversal bills and has already had to take a back step on the recycled water issue.

    Federally
    Lorikeet says: still think the Democrats could crawl out of the quagmire with a few policy changes and a charismatic leader who promotes common sense and logic, and more importantly, is into more of a “buy back” than a “sell out” of the nation’s assets, enterprises and industries.

    The Democrats would have to actively change their position and return to the centre of which they have strayed away from over the past decade. Supporting and championing far left social ideology is now not the place for the Democrats and this may be too hard for the rank and file to accept.

    I’m happy were I am at the moment and I think many like yourself will be turning to minor partys in droves in the next election. Kevin Rudd could be a one term prime Minister (Especially with NSW ALP going so bad).

    The ALP’s push for the anti constitutional 4 year fixed term may see the Rudd government strike it very difficult to retain government with such an under performing NSW State government forced to remain in power until 2011. The NSW factor alone could bring them down.

    I believe that Malcolm Turnbull is not the answere for the coalition which makes me think it will be a good election for the minors.

    Nice chatting to you again.

    Tony

  6. Andrew, I’m intrigued that your post seems to indicate that you see no future for the Democrats in the national political landscape. You seem to be showing surprisingly little faith in a party and a set of policies which you played a very central part in shaping for a long time. Are you really that uninterested in the future of the Democrats?

  7. Tony:

    Lots of my friends used to be Democrats’ voters, including myself. I think there is plenty of scope for the old voters to return and plenty of new voters to emerge.

    I think the DLP also has a good chance of picking up some of the more conservative voters.

    Last night on TV, I saw Tim Costello urging people to support World Vision in its aim to prevent people in poorer nations from starving.

    Next thing, we were shown a report on 5 star hotel accommodation for dogs and cats!

    Why people allow other human beings to starve while they pamper their pets is beyond me.

    I support a certain amount of leftist ideology, but not all.

    Now I’m waiting to see who will get the big broadband job in Australia. One of the companies is Canadian. I think the rest are Australian.

    If people want their voices heard on the closure of the Royal Children’s Hospital in Brisbane, here is the website:

    http://www.smarthospitals.com.au

    For a copy of the Pensioner Petition:

    http://www.peterdutton.com.au

  8. Simon

    I don’t think I’ve made any secret of my belief that I can’t see any political future of significance for the Democrats. I think it’s better to be realistic about that for the sake of people who are looking at where best to direct their energies to make a positive difference.

    It’s not a lack of faith in the policies of the party or its membership, it’s a recognition of the reality that the potential for rebuilding any meaningful level of voter support is virtually nil. I can understand why people are reluctant to let it die, but my view is that it’s better to recognise the enormously significant and positive record and legacy of the party – of which the passage of the same sex anti-discrimination laws is just one – without having the party limp on ineffectively for years into the future. I don’t wish ill to anyone who wants to try to keep it going, but I think it is better to be honest in my views about how low I think the prospects are of making a positive difference by doing so.

  9. lorikeet:

    Lorikeet says: If people want their voices heard on the closure of the Royal Children’s Hospital in Brisbane, here is the website:

    Thanks Lorikeet I will certainly follow up with that partition as well as bring it to our members notice. The Royal Childrens hospital is obviosuly close to my heart as I was born there.

    I have fond memories of visiting there as a child as well. Coming from a big family and having a love for football helped me to be a regular visitor there.

    Lorikeet says: Why people allow other human beings to starve while they pamper their pets is beyond me.

    Thats right. We have a member who every weekend (at his own cost) buys meat and salads and has a barbeque for the homeless and less fortunate out your way. He’s being doing since he was 18 and he is now in his mid 30’s. So there are still some great people out there. Just getting harder to find in this world of forever progressively thinking, self centred, new age thinking society we have become.

    Tony

  10. Andrew,

    I share your belief that the chance of a meaningful resurgence is next to nil. The reason I’m finding it difficult to let it go is because the Democrats as a party is a clear leader when assessing how well political parties in the Australian landscape match my personal ideology. There simply isn’t anything else that matches as well. I wish their was.

  11. Andrew:

    That’s sad, but I guess we will have to take your word for it.

    Tony:

    I’d also like to see both State and Federal governments stop giving out non-means tested money to those who don’t need it, particularly at times when Australia’s economic position is shaky or uncertain.

    In the meantime, we have the Moreton Bay Regional Council thinking it’s doing ratepayers a huge favour by removing branches from huge gum trees from the footpaths and roads, even though it’s their responsibility. They expect that people will pay for disposal themselves if they can.

    We pay higher rates than Brisbane, but there is never any regular kerbside cleanup of green waste or other unwanted items.

    We still have a terrible bus service devised by someone in Queensland Transport without any common sense.

    Things seem to be getting very desperate for welfare agencies. The recent storms haven’t helped one bit, so I’m glad your member is able to continue with the barbeques.

  12. Lorikeet:

    Lorikeet says: We pay higher rates than Brisbane, but there is never any regular kerbside cleanup of green waste or other unwanted items.

    We still have a terrible bus service devised by someone in Queensland Transport without any common sense.

    This has become an all to common complaint amoungst many people caught up in the super council mergers. It may have looked good on paper but the feedback we’re getting is terrible.

    Higher rates & fees, less services….and if your not sitting on top of a council office …..forget it. Have a thought for the ESK shire council that runs from the warrego to Kilkivan. (No hope of any basic service and no local member to express your displeasure. This will be the norm as people move to a more centralised system). Which of course we are against.

    I have always believed that public transport should be in most cases the responsibiltiy of the state government. That way profitable services can subsidise the non profitable runs over a larger area. Councils may not have the variety of runs to do that so the public is forced to pay more for less.

    The old fashion council worker that was so common in our younger days, has now virtually disappeared and councils have to rely on contractors. Regular maintenance is gone and when disaster strikes they want to throw the burden on to the ratepayer so the user pays again and again.

    Tony

  13. Lorikeet and Tony are both pointing out as Queenslanders where maybe The Democrats could do some good in an organizational sense.And with unemployment and or need for extra income,even a Democrat Ex-Senator could probably try to see,if it was possible to set up a co-operative of workers,part sponsored,part paid by contract,but paid by charity or promotion.Whilst out there to clean up Green waste may find buyer of green waste.Good exercise for a Ex-Senator too,if he wanted to lead by example.And be seen doing so.Bet you,that ,people would say”,lets get Andrew back into Parliament!?”Co-operative workers could also work for anyone who needs them,besides council type work,if a large number of members exist with various skills..including design.Have you tried that Andrew!

  14. Andrew,
    Great article this is one bill that needed to be passed by the senate. It has been done now. Thats great. On the issue of Rudd the jury is still out really. He isnt as bad as Howard but he isnt much better. The Howard years on the ABC really exposed Howard and how he weilded his government and how they blindly seemed to follow him with his warped ideas and right wing idealogy. It was seriously disturbing. As far as Im now concerned he needs to be tried in the hague for war crimes against the illegal war victims in Iraq.

  15. Simon

    I understand the difficulty in letting it go. It was something I gave a lot of thought to myself around this time last year. Obviously people can still put their energies into trying to revive the Democrats should they wish, I just don’t think that is likely to bear much fruit or be very productive. And whilst the Democrats did a lot of good, they weren’t perfect either. People should learn from those mistakes as they consider where to best direct their energies now. Hopefully other political parties and movements can also learn from the Democrats’ mistakes, as well as take on board some of the processes and policies where the Democrats lead the way.

    Censor This – I gave my thoughts on that in the original post above, which was referring to the way some of those negotiating the GST got starry eyed and snowed by the government. Perhaps I will amend my post slightly to make it more explicit.

  16. Well, I like the Greens. In fact, for the past few elections, I’ve given my primary vote to them. I agree with most of their policies, and dispute that they are ‘morally and socially’ inadequate/ bankrupt etc. In NSW, if it wasn’t for the Greens hard work, we’d never have heard of the relationship between big developers and both major parties. If I voted for the Conservatives my arm would fall off! Don’t like the Labor Govt, and the Opposition would not behave any better in govt. They have a track record too, and haven’t put forward any alternatives – they just whine, whine whine! They’ll probably win the next election, as the Labor Govt goes from one fiasco to the next! They’ll lose the election rather than the Libs winning it! I’d like a govt made up of Greens and Independents. There’s some good people around the state – decent people!

  17. Andrew, I was horrified when I saw Meg Lees on the Howard years. It seeme like she takes no responsibility for her action sreally. She was gloating that she assisted in the biggest tax reform ever. She will be remembered by me and my time in the Democrats as the one that drove the party onto the road to destruction after Cheryl left. Thats why I was banned from contacting her office in Adeleaide and in Canberra. Not listening to the Grass roots members was the biggest mistake the Democrats ever did. If you take away your base you have nothing.

  18. Daniel:

    I think there were a couple of good things about the GST. Try this one for starters.

    To me, it seemed like a good way to finally squeeze some tax out of the very well heeled.

  19. Lorikeet;
    I do like you but.. What makes you think that the well-heeled aren’t already paying a LOT of tax? I still can’t see how a “fair” society makes the wealthy pay an increasingly greater percentage of their income. I am not supporting tax cheats, don’t misunderstand me there. And I am not saying the rich do it tough (except for the market crash-ouch) But really, someone earning $180K/yr (not me but I wish!) is in the highest tax bracket and already pays $58K in tax and gets nothing more for the trouble! Any extra dollars they earn are taxed at 45%. So you earn a dollar but take home 55 cents? What a scheme sign me up! Start talking in the millions and that tax bill sounds like extortion. Hmmmm how would you feel?. This is hardly fair, regardless of what you think they can “afford to pay” it is still more than average earners in both sum and percentage. Assuming they spend at least half of what is left on everyday expenses thats another $6100 direct to the state government. If they buy a Landcruiser with the remainder they will add another $2k stamp duty and another $900 luxury car tax. You can also bet their land rates are higher and insurance bills are huge. What amazes me is that some of these “fatcats” have anything left to give to charity… which a lot do! If I had played the game of life a little smarter and was in such a well-heeled position I would have a hard time agreeing with your proposition and ask you how your financial contribution to society compares. You know, if you buy in bulk you all expect a discount. Maybe tax should be the same. We should be thankful (if a little envious) that there are wealthy among us. They start businesses, pay more tax than us, provide jobs and spend money in our stores and businesses. If they all moved to Switzerland tomorrow our society and Government would perish faster than Global Warming could ever manage.

  20. Andrew, Thank you for all the work you have done on GLBTI rights over the years. It’s fantastic that it has finally passed.

  21. ONE YEAR SINCE DEMOCRATS

    Steve Beck:

    How would I feel if I was on a $180,000+ income? Pretty good, I think. I could go back to sponsoring starving children in a much bigger way.

    Never make the mistake of feeling sorry for the rich. You have to have money to make money. You also have to have money to save money.
    When you own a street full of houses, you are taking in plenty of extra money for doing almost nothing – also exploiting the poor with high rents.

    These days, if you buy some things in bulk, e.g. the “economy” size at the supermarket, you end up paying more. That’s why unit pricing ought to be a plus for those who aren’t good at Maths.

    Middle income earners and the rich are in a position to take advantage of bulk purchases, while those who are desperately poor have to buy only small amounts when they absolutely need them – possibly even missing out on discounts and specials.

    I’m starting to become a little bit more impressed with Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard. We are certainly getting more full-time nurses at the nursing home, and they have had a pay rise. Much higher paid agency nurses (when we see them now) are looking a bit forlorn. Many will probably have to take permanent jobs somewhere.

    It also seems as though we might be about to get a better distribution of taxation dollars which should improve the public school system.

    I noticed the Catholic, Montessori and Independent sectors did not object to disclosing school income. Those objecting were from private schools which were clearly very well heeled (huge fees and donations being paid by parents).

    Steve Fielding (Family First) has again shown himself to be a Liberal supporter. I would like to see the back of him at the next election.

  22. I am not sure why the notion of being on topic such a difficult one, but in any case I will mention for the benefit of all readers that in future I will be far more likely to just delete comments that are completely off topic. I am interested in peoples’ views and feedback on the topic at hand, not on whatever pops into their head.

    The internet has plenty of chat rooms for people that just want to shoot the breeze.

  23. It’s interesting, isn’t it that this issue (rights for same sex couples) raised such a furore in USA but (although resisted by many influential people) there wasn’t the money put into a campaign about it that there was in overturning of the marriage part of California’s same sex legislation. I believe the LDS (Mormons) put huge sums into defeating it there, plus, (just like the Republic referendum here) the wording played a huge part in the outcome, they say. (I gather the wording was such that you voted “No” to keep the existing law, which was FOR same sex marriages.)

    I wonder if we will see further liberalisation on this matter after/if Rudd wins a second term, or whether his conservative beliefs really are that conservative, and not just a ploy to make hte ALP look less frightening. I don’t mean that I think he is insincere in his beliefs, but I have been surprised that he is so intolerant of other views.

    Anyway, good on Sid Spindler – a man whose contribution to Australian society is pretty much unsung, sadly, not that I know an awful lot about him myself. I do know he set up a foundation to help Aboriginal students. I do remember with sadness the role Ms Kernot played at the end of Spindler’s political life – what a dreadful pity it all was.

  24. Same sex legislation passed. This is among so many good things done by the Democrats over 30 years!
    It is tragic that it seems the Party has no future. I remain a member in the unlikely event that it can be revived, but an inactive one (for the first time) as the task of rebuilding looks unrealistic. Still, find an Obama equivalent, a red-hot support team and a shirtload of money and who knows?
    As for the GST, despite my reservations at the time I think it’s worked out quite good for the country, but a disaster for the Democrats. If we’d given it a miss, instead of tearing itself apart the Democrats would have still been around doing good in the Senate, and Australia would have muddled along ok without this tax reform.
    The price was too high and Australia is paying for it by the lack of a really good political party in Parliament.
    Whatever the future holds for the Democrats, at least for 30 years (and that’s a helluva long time for a small party that was pronounced “doomed” by pundits many times) it did fantastic things at Federal and State level. This was a party worth voting for with enthusiasm, and parliamentarians who gave the lie to the cynical saying “it doesn’t matter who you vote for, a politician always gets in”.
    Yes Andrew, one year later I too thought of the results of that election with truly mixed feelings.

  25. Dolphins:

    On the only occasion I’ve seen Kevin Rudd discussing homosexuality since the 2007 election, he said he would look after them in all practical ways (income support etc), but wouldn’t legalise homosexual marriage or adoption.

    This is a position commonly held by religious people, and one which I also support.

  26. I was pleased to hear of the legislation to overule the hideous discrimination experienced by gays and lesbians. It’s long overdue, and has been warmly embraced by those who are living without equality or justice. I don’t have a problem with same sex marriage, and I’m rather bemused by those who do. If gays or lesbians who love and are committed to each other want a public and legal recognition, why are the “religious” and others frightened of it? Actually, I secretly smile and wonder why same sex couples want to embrace the concept of ‘marriage’? As though it’s been a huge success? In fact, a couple of hundred yrs ago, a man and a woman only married for financial reasons; there weren’t religious clergy in this country to marry people for some time, and, women would not have entertained the idea of marriage unless and until they were financially independent. The other reason hetrosexual couples married, was for the ongoing purpose of continuing the family name?

    Penalizing people of the same sex for loving each other should be against any future Bill of Rights or its equivalent. I find the nonsense about gays and raising kids to be offensive. The overwhelming majority of pedophiles are males, and many of them are ‘hetrosexual’. Homosexuality and raising kids is not putting kids at risk – it’s a stupid, outdated, hateful and divisive fact in our lives, and should be repudiated. Of the kids, girls and women who are sexually abused, most of the perpetrators are known to the victims, and aren’t homosexuals.

    Homosexuality is not a human failure; it’s not a disease or illness that has to be overcome – it just happens, and is as natural to those gays & lesbians as being hetrosexual is to me. All humans have the right to love and be loved; to have a family, and be recognized via the law/s of the land, and respected like everyone else. I think the CHURCH/es are a bunch of hypocrites. The utterances from the Pope around Christmas time was ignorant, hateful and repugnant

  27. Naomi Cartledge

    Naomi Says: As though it’s been a huge success? In fact, a couple of hundred yrs ago, a man and a woman only married for financial reasons; there weren’t religious clergy in this country to marry people for some time, and, women would not have entertained the idea of marriage unless and until they were financially independent.

    You certainly do have a poor outlook on life Naomi… Dont you ?
    I thought most people a couple of hundred years ago (like today) married because they were in love and wanted to share their life together. (and as part of that life raise a family)

    Naomi Says: Homosexuality and raising kids is not putting kids at risk – it’s a stupid, outdated, hateful and divisive fact in our lives, and should be repudiated

    The one thing I have learnt over the years is the children are very cruel to their peers. Its hard enough growing up in a traditional two parent family without the added presure and confusion of having two mums or two dads to explain and take ridicule for. The next thing is they will be wanting to legalise adoption for homosexuals, and a host of other services adding real pressure on society and these kids.

    Naomi says: All humans have the right to love and be loved; to have a family, and be recognized via the law/s of the land, and respected like everyone else

    I agree totally and would be against any laws that failed to protect a homosexual’s ability to live as normal a life as possible.

    In the same manner I would defend the sanctity of marriage ( that being between a man and a woman) as the core of our society and would fight to maintain the very basis of our traditional Judeo christian Society in regards to this union.

    As responsible adults, we at the very least owe this to the next generation.

    Tony

  28. Naomi:

    I don’t go to church, but I think Christian churches espouse a much better set of values than the secular world.

    As far as legislation is concerned, I don’t believe in legalising anything that is not of any real benefit to society. That would include abortion, euthanasia and homosexuality – all of which you seem to support.

    I work on the tenet that anything that is legalised is encouraged. There is no benefit to society in actively encouraging any of these things.

  29. Naomi:

    “Of the kids, girls and women who are sexually abused, most of the perpetrators are known to the victims, and aren’t homosexuals.”

    I have 4 questions for you.

    Why is the word “boys” missing from the sentence?

    What would you call a man who inflicts paedophilia on a male child?

    Isn’t THAT also an act of homosexuality?

    Or do you think that kind of person could be a lascivious any-o-sexual?

  30. LORIKEET

    I did use the word “kids”. Of course boys are also sexually abused. Sorry, my mistake.

    A bastard!Still a paedophile! I think you’re just using semantics. The important aspect is the sexual abuse.

    Strictly speaking, yes, but again it’s a sexual abuse of a child, which is the most important aspect. I’ve also read, where boys are chosen in some cases as they can’t get pregnant. So that makes the lines blurred somewhat. You’d have to ask the perpetrators what their choice is and why?Does availability of the victim make a difference? Do the abusers choose the same sex because that was their experience? Some perpetrators abuse both sexes, how is that explained? There are people with more experience on this issue than I, ask them these questions, including the last one!

    My point was, that although men abuse boys, the over-riding numbers who are abused from children to the grave are girls/women, and mostly by hetrosexual males. 50 or more are raped each day in this country. Whether it’s child sexual abuse, adults, during war etc the perpetrators are almost always male! Fact!

    A man who had a 30 yr sharing relationship with his male partner will be entitled to apply for the veteran’s pension in July. He’s been fighting for about 10 yrs, including going to the UN, who ruled that he was being discriminated against, but Howard refused to change his bigoted stand, although it’s OK for gays or lesbians to fight in wars and die, then or in later yrs. I applaud this long overdue righting of an unjust wrong. I also recall the attempt by Howard & his number 1 ‘head kicker’ Heffernan, when they allegedly tried to blacken the name of Justice Michael Kirby in Parlt. There’s another example of the actions of self confessed christians? Justice Kirby has been in a relationship for about the same number of years, perhaps more, with the same male partner,and contributed much to the country,including speaking out against discrimination. Good for him!

  31. Naomi

    Naomi Says: A man who had a 30 yr sharing relationship with his male partner will be entitled to apply for the veteran’s pension in July. He’s been fighting for about 10 yrs, including going to the UN, who ruled that he was being discriminated against, but Howard refused to change his bigoted stand, although it’s OK for gays or lesbians to fight in wars and die, then or in later yrs

    For many years homosexuals were not allowed into the forces. I’m not sure of the stand taken these days. (Who knows the way standards are dropping could be anything). This is another reason against the acceptance of homosexual marriages. Once homosexual marraiges are accepted it will open the door to a whole range of social, legal and moral issues, as well as abuse of the social security system. (Anyone can claim a host of benefits saying they were the defacto of their mate).

    This is one area that people really need to take a backward step and really think for once about the concequences.

    Naomi. Not all people share you’re very negative opinion of traditional married life.

    Tony

  32. Naomi:

    “Some perpetrators abuse both sexes, how is that explained?”

    I’d say they were ANY-o-sexuals, wouldn’t you?

    When I was counselling people out of destructive cults, the only victims of sexual abuse I ever encountered were males. None of them had told anyone about the abuse before they were sent to me for counselling.

    I think we will need to agree to disagree on the matter of legalisation of homosexuality.

  33. TONY – “(Anyone can claim a host of benefits saying they were the defacto of their mate). Not if there was a legal documentation. In the case of the ones I quoted, there’d be plenty of people who’d be able to corroborate such a claim; friends, family etc. The UN, after a dragged out case agreed that the man involved’s claim was a valid one, and he had been treated with discrimination – just because they were a same sex couple. That has now changed. I find it somewhat confusing, that on the one hand you believe, that all people have the right to love, happiness etc, but then conflict yourself by removing same sex couples from this. Do you believe that people choose to be gay, or are born with sexual orientation present, like hetrosexuals? I believe they are born gay. Gays and lesbians are able to join the services, publicly? They were always in the services, police force etc, but just kept it secret;it’s also acceptable in the US now too, I believe!

    LORIKEET – Don’t you beieve that girls are sexually abused. I’m surprised that you didn’t come across any girls. There was the very public issue raised during World Youth Week, about the 2 sisters raped by the priest as little girls of 6? One committed suicide only in recent past. There’s many forms of sexual abuse – from being molested to rape? I know of many women who were abused as chn and older? I’ve read of a lot more! There are young women who were forced into multiple pregnancies at a young age, by cult leaders. There’s at least 1 book at A & R or the equivalent. There’s several at my local library – from Ireland, New Zealand, US and Australia written by female survivors, and at least 2 springs to mind of men. Girls forced into prostitution by their fathers? I read the cover of that book only a week or so ago. I’ve learned of a woman who’s been assaulted twice – once by a priest as a young person, another hit from behind and raped, as a young woman by ??. I don’t know how you could miss these awful realities.

  34. TONY – The numbers of people abusing the social security system are miniscule in comparison to the people (usually rich ones) who don’t pay their taxes – the difference is between several million dollars, and billions of dollars?

    Adele Horin – SMH – Dec 15-16 ’07.”If tax cheats were hounded as assiduously as welfare cheats, Aust.would be better off.But under the old regime, welfare cheats-so-called were pursued to the ends of the Earth, while tax cheats slid under the radar.Millions of dollars were poured into detecting welfare fraud,while in the last yrs of the Howard gov,one third as much was spent tracking down tax cheats according to budget papers”.
    “Centrelink reviews identified $390 million in debt,while the Tax Office reviews identified $5.14 BILLION (my emphasis)plus $1.6 million in penalties and interest owed. The average security debt was less than $1000 – average tax debt many times greater”.
    Government would recoup far more from tax cheats that from welfare cheats. You may recall a couple of yrs ago, where millionaires were found to be in receipt of family benefits? Slightly one sided don’t you think?
    Moreover, “a matter can fraud-a crime -simply because Centrelink doesn’t detect the overpayments quickly enough, and they have mounted up.”
    I’ve heard recipients recount stories of going to great lengths to inform of changed circumstances, told it was OK, and then find they owed over $1000 dollars – with no comeback! I always suggest ‘written proof’?But not everyone can attend Cent.offices in person.distance/transport/disability etc?
    I don’t need to take “a backward step” at 63? I think there’s been enough of being “backward” re human rights – it’s time for change. As for marriage, I think the stats speak for themselves. If people want to marry, good stuff! If not, OK too! I don’t agree with a lot of religious attitudes of male supremacy in marriage or anywhere else for that matter? Clergy included? I find a lot of it smacks of hypocrisy!

  35. Naomi

    Naomi Says: You may recall a couple of yrs ago, where millionaires were found to be in receipt of family benefits? Slightly one sided don’t you think?

    I’m against anyone who cheats the system. So why open up a another huge loop hole.

    Naomi Says: I don’t agree with a lot of religious attitudes of male supremacy in marriage or anywhere else for that matter? Clergy included

    What church were you married in ….. A mosque ?

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