Leading article Australia


18 November 2017

9:00 AM

18 November 2017

9:00 AM

The devil is in the detail. And the snakes are in the grass. This week’s cover by Sarah Dudley and Ben Davis accurately reflects the outcome of the same-sex marriage survey, highlighting the religious and cultural threats now unleashed. Our congratulations to the Yes campaign, although we did strongly support the No case. This we did mainly out of our ongoing concern for the long-term ramifications and repercussions of changing the legal definition of marriage, particularly as regards religious freedoms and parental freedoms of speech and educational choices. To quote from our editorial of August 5, when the plebiscite was announced: ‘This magazine supports homosexual couples being allowed to “marry” under whatever terminology or laws the nation deems appropriate, so long as any new legislation does not alter existing freedoms of religion and dissent.’

Yet it is now clear that this is precisely what is happening. The Australian people, particularly parents, have been betrayed by the lazy, cowardly and/or deceitful approach of the government to this issue. And for that the blame rests squarely at the feet of Malcom Turnbull, George Brandis, Mathias Cormann, Christopher Pyne and Peter Dutton. In their craven willingness to seek a swift (and unsatisfactory) quick political fix for short-term popular gain, they caved in to the Left and abandoned their duty to protect the rights and freedoms of those who don’t share the current enthusiasm for non-traditional marriage.

It was John Howard (of course) who was brave and wise enough to bell the cat early on, when he warned midway through the campaign, in a full page advertisement, that the Turnbull government’s failure to spell out the legislation upfront ‘does not bode well for the capacity of the current national parliament to enact any effective protections of the kind that will be required if our marriage laws change. Same-sex marriage will not be the end of this debate. As the Safe Schools debacle showed, there are education activists ready to introduce classroom material regarding gender issues unacceptable to the mainstream of Australian parents. These activists will use a change in the definition of marriage to renew their push. Parents are entitled to know what steps would be taken to ensure that this does not occur.’ Now we know. None.

Hats off to Senator James Paterson, too, for his belated attempt to put a finger in the dyke of SSM euphoria. Alas, rather than support his valiant effort, the Prime Minister was quick to ‘slap him down’. Indeed, Mr Turnbull’s hypocrisy was as brazen as it was breath-taking. Only a few weeks ago, he proclaimed: ‘I just want to reassure Australians that as strongly as I believe in the right of same-sex couples to marry, as strongly as I believe in that, even more strongly, if you like, do I believe in religious freedom. Religious freedom is fundamental and it will be protected in any bill that emerges from this parliament.’

Except it won’t. On the eve of the announcement of the Yes victory, the Prime Minister had already changed his tune, buying into the left-wing line that any religious or free speech protections are ‘discrimination’. In the new paradigm, as this magazine has repeatedly warned, homosexuality is now normal and and criticism or dissent from the homosexual agenda is viewed as discriminatory and wrong.

Which, in turn, means that should your school or a teacher decide to ‘educate’ your young child, or your teenager, about the joys and ways of homosexual couplings and ‘encourage’ them to ‘identify with’ such practices themselves, you as a parent or grand-parent will no longer have the legal right to object in any shape or form. Welcome to our brave new world.

This cowardly and deceptive line was confirmed by the Attorney-General, George Brandis, who told Sky News: ‘We are certainly not going to remove one form of discrimination and at the same time instate a new form of discrimination.’ Conservatives have been betrayed. The snakes in the grass are laughing.

KK comes back

The return of Kristina Keneally to the political fray is a self-evident threat to the Turnbull government, who can ill afford to lose the seat of Bennelong. But as he pounds the pavements seeking re-election, the hapless John Alexander need only glance across the sparkling waters that border the south of his electorate, and remind his voters who used to occupy that glittering Gatsby-esque mansion that sits on the foreshore opposite. A certain Mr Obeid.

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