Modia Minotaur

Trawling the airwaves to spare you the agony!

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

An Uncivil Disunion

I expressed concerns recently that the Commonwealth's latest demonstration of rampant power was manifesting itself in its strongarming of the Territories. These fears were confirmed yesterday when, for the first time ever, the Federal Cabinet unilaterally moved to disallow Civil Unions legislation passed by the ACT.

This is not the first time territorial legislation has been disallowed (the last time was during the euthanasia debate, which raged in both the ACT and the NT). However, it is the first time a law has been overturned at the behest of the Cabinet, rather than following a full parliamentary vote. As ACT Chief Minister Jon Stanhope said on this morning's AM, the Civil Unions Bill was a clear election policy of the ACT government, and he now has a mandate to his electors that he cannot fulfil.

So much for sending Australian soldiers to fight for democracy in the Middle East when you're not even willing to uphold it in your own country.

The legislation was amended before its passage to ensure it did not clash with Commonwealth legislation defining marriage as a legal act between a man and a woman - specifically, it was noted that a civil union is not a marriage. Philip Ruddock and John Howard disagree. So, by their own reasoning, in order to not be entirely hypocritical, they must immediately disallow all Commonwealth and territorial legislation granting any rights whatsoever to de facto couples - gay or straight.

Also on AM, the Prime Minister claimed the overturning of the bill is neither homophobic nor undemocratic. Sorry John - it's both, and what's more (and I won't get into it too deeply here, except to point to the current chaos in East Timor as evidence of what happens under a dodgy constitution), the involvement of the Governor General in the decision - like another such notorious decision involving a certain MP, a political intervention by a figure who is explicitly not supposed to be political - asks some pretty deep questions about our own constitution that have not needed to been asked since 1975.

Nope - not happy John.


At 7:18 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you are gay and you want to get married that's easy.

You can "Marry" somebody who is of the opposite sex!

That is what marriage is about!

IF you want to live and have sex with your same sex partner then good for you!

But that isn't a marraige!

It's a same sex union.

At 12:06 pm, Blogger Minotaur said...

And that's exactly what the ACT's legislation was designed to do - recognise civil unions as a separate legal state to marriage. As I said before (and David Marr also said on Insiders this week) - if they're really serious about enshrining the notion of gay unions not having any value whatsoever, the Federal Government should rescind all laws they have passed granting similar or the same rights to gay couples. Anything else is obviously political.

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