Flat White

Labor’s going postal on its base

11 August 2017

10:34 AM

11 August 2017

10:34 AM

After a week of riotous fun our federal parliamentarians have headed home to their electorates, but Bill Shorten thought he’d have a crack at playing the heroic orator following Senator Wong’s failure to win the “Rainbow Warrior” cup before they left. His speech in parliament yesterday went about as well as every other piece of oratory delivered by the Labor leader. Despite his efforts on AM this morning, the opposition will have to wait for Parliament to resume on Monday for another round of speechmaking on whether or not the upcoming postal vote is a “survey” or a “plebiscite”.

This distinction isn’t mere spin at this stage, it is important for the Turnbull government to portray the survey as anything other than a formal vote.

The Governor-General is the only official with the legal authority to call a legally binding formal vote. This authority extends to elections, by-election, referendums and plebiscites. Compulsory formal votes are run by the Australian Electoral Commission in order to comply with Australian electoral law.

A postal survey run by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the people who brought us the census, is more likely to survive a legal challenge – although the AEC has also had its fair share of bungles in recent years. Indeed, its website appears to have crashed yesterday preventing voters from updating their details so they receive the ballot papers.


The survey won’t have polling stations or the other accoutrements of a formal vote. It is being cast as a voluntary statistical survey to inform, but not bind, government MPs.  The voting public can see the falsehoods in these arguments at one-hundred paces. However, the High Court is at least likely to let the survey-plebiscite pass on the above technicalities, even without the required blessing of the Senate and Governor-General.

Even if their legal challenge succeeds the same-sex marriage lobby will have left a bad taste in the mouths of much of the electorate. The Australian people, including many supporters of same-sex marriage, will already have been appalled by the tone of the debate. Shorten and his band of hysterical hipsters have moved from condescension to open contempt when it comes to their own voters. The Labor Left and Greens clearly think most of the country can’t be trusted with toothpaste let alone a letter opener.

This whole affair is likely to be a vast and unnecessary distraction from policy. However, it is also looking like it just might unmask the government’s opponents. The Labor Party’s definition of egalitarianism seems to be immigrants cooking strange and spicy but delicious food but shutting up about religion on command.

This condescension was on full display yesterday when concerns were expressed about the Indigenous community’s ability to participate. No one seems to have informed the Labor Party that the first Indigenous MP was a conservative. Indigenous people remain one of the most Christian and socially conservative groups in the country. There was even a campaign by some Indigenous elders against the last same-sex Parliamentary vote.

Which is really why Bill Shorten doesn’t want a vote or serious debate on anything. His working class constituency is at odds with the upper middle class who dominate the workers party. Labor’s Indigenous and multicultural constituencies are now at odds with the same-sex lobby. Should this debate expose the contempt Shorten & Co. hold for much of the electorate, then the $122,000,000 will have been well spent.

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