The government has decided on a postal vote to settle the issue of same-sex marriage. It will be run by the same people who botched the census.
Meanwhile, the Press Gallery has decided Penny Wong should be the next prime minister. The South Australian Senator went postal yesterday, not over the obvious outrage of entrusting the ballot to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Rather the Senator chose to deliver a clearly prepared speech in defence of the children of same-sex couples. The Press Gallery is trying to turn what was a confected and relatively mediocre speech into another Julia Gillard misogyny speech. Wong’s versions hasn’t received nearly as much traction outside Canberra.
Gillard held the prestige of the office and at least seemed to be authentically angry. She was perceived to be aloof by much of the electorate, so decided a show of emotion was in order.
Wong has been lecturing the public on the finer points of her progressive ideology for years. Another lecture is hardly going to cut the mustard. Gillard’s speech was addressed directly to a majority of the population, women. The group Senator Wong was addressing is miniscule.
Beneath the mound of Parliament, Senator Wong is a saint and potential leadership material. The weight of cement, dirt and grass block the opinion of the outside world. Senator Wong is a mediocre politician. The only policy areas she has any experience in are essentially niche issues like foreign affairs, hardly an election winner.
The good Senator is also unacceptable to the socially conservative base Labor needs to win. President Wong is a pipe dream at best, Labor Leader Wong is a possibility that would prove an electoral disaster. Speeches like the one she gave yesterday indicate she is unable to be the leader of a large and diverse political party.
South Australia is facing several other issues which the Senator seems unable to authentically address. The failure of the Murray-Darling Basin plan will directly impact South Australian voters, including “misogynists” and “homophobes”. The broader topic of regional development is important for a state that has struggled to build rural centers beyond Adelaide. Today the Turnbull government is introducing legislation to establish a Regional Investment Corporation. The corporation will administer farm loans and deliver financial assistance to states and territories for water infrastructure projects. Instead of addressing hard policy issues Parliament is awaiting the news the Australian Bureau of Statistics has botched another survey.
The Murray-Darling Basin plan represented a failed set of policies from the outset. The Nationals proved adept in using the leadership change to wring all the water from Malcolm Turnbull they could.
The fact that Senator Wong had nothing of substance to contribute to this ongoing debate yesterday, so crucial to the state she represents, highlights the descent of the Labor Party.
For the next few months the main thing we’re going to be talking about is the same-sex plebiscite-survey. The important issues will have to wait a little longer.
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