Whatever You Say

It's been a week of the very direst stupidity in Australian politics. In just one day, we had the sight of carbon tax protesters standing on the lawn outside our freely elected Parliament House, demanding an election as they refuse to accept the result of the last one, all the while proclaiming "Democracy is Dead". Meanwhile inside the august building Barnaby Joyce was proclaiming to an anti-same sex marriage gathering that legalising gay marriage would imperil his daughters: "We know that the best protection for those girls is that they get themselves into a secure relationship with a loving husband, and I want that to happen for them. I don't want any legislator to take that right away from me." He didn't say what they needed protection from - a future as ageing spinsters if their pool of potential husbands doesn't include closeted gay men, perhaps? Nor did he eludicate just what rights a father should have in relation to the marriages of his adult daughters, but in a free society in Australia it's generally accepted to be very little "right" at all. I'm sure Mr Joyce's daughters are very nice young women, and I feel sorry for them suffering such embarrassment. There seems to be a running theme here of conservative politicians regarding their daughters as possessions to be guarded.

Miranda Devine wasn't in Canberra for all this - too far from Manly - but she was adding to the national stupidity index nonetheless. Last weekend, she churned out a nasty little piece denigrating same sex parenthood, airily linking the London riots to single mothers. When she got the reaction she was no doubt hoping for, she threw her hands in the air in the manner of a toddler caught doing something naughty and proclaimed "what?" Her twitter stream was something to see. At first she seemed bewildered by all the nasty lefties picking on her li'l old column, but by the time she posted her follow up later in the week she'd figured it all out; the backlash was part of the conspiracy to silence free speech in this country. And to destroy the institution of marriage, of course.

Conservatives love to trumpet their "right to free speech" whenever they say something bigoted, of course, even as they argue against a bill of rights for Australia. It gives them something to do when they're not demanding an election over the carbon tax - we have to have an election, they say, as polls show most people are against the tax. Undemocratic not to. Although polls show most people are in favour of gay marriage, and a bill of rights, and can we get some consistency here?

Let's just put everything to a poll. We'll take conservatives at their word. Make Tony Abbott happy (although I doubt the man ever would truly stop whinging). If they want what they erroneously believe to be "democracy", we'll give it to them and screw the expense. Nothing gets done or banned without a poll. Let's start with same sex marriage, live animal exports and a bill of rights - all issues where despite their best efforts, the right can't seem to get mainstream Australia on board with their opinion. Then we can move on to carbon tax, the war in Afghanistan and offshore processing of asylum seekers. Why not? Conservatives don't understand representative democracy anyway so let's trash it and replace it with mob rule. Maybe then they'll be happy.

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