A brief rundown of the major events in Australia Politics in the last 6 weeks!
There seems to be a lot of “No” lately.
Let’s kick it off with the most recent:
No to Gay Marriage.
The Australian High Court (highest in the land) over turned the Australian Capital Territory’s Marriage Equality laws.
“What gits, PIK!!!?! How can they do this?!”
Australia had a Federalist system of Government – multiple (3) levels of authority with different powers (Local, State/Territory and National/Federal); but the Federal Government has power over the other two levels below. In the Australian Constitution (an easier read than most!), specifically section 109 —
When the law of a State is inconsistent with the law of the Commonwealth, (Federal Gov’t) the latter shall prevail, and the former shall, to the extent of the inconsistency, be invalid.”
Translation… If a State makes a law that is inconsistent or against a law of the Federal Government, it can be overridden and made invalid. It’s all about Judicial Review, how our Courts interpret laws and apply them. In this case, the ACT’s laws were interpreted by the High Court Bench (of 7 Judges) to not be consistent with the Marriage Act. This is because same sex couples are not mentioned in the Act as being able to be legally married, so the creation of laws by a Territory saying they can marry is inconsistent with Federal Legislation.
Even though Tony Abbott is against Marriage Equality, this was done by the Courts, not him personally.
The process is the same each time, this is just a very public issue.
I really hope we see Marriage Equality soon.
Further Reading….. Rights of the Terminally ill Act 1995 and Euthenasia Laws Act 1997.
The Federal Government overrode the Northern Territory’s Rights of the Terminally Ill Act (1995) in 1997 ( with the Euthenasia Laws Act 1997) for similar reasons. Euthanasia, or Assisted Suicide, remains illegal in Australia to this day.
THE GREAT BARRIER REEF
No to protecting one of the 7 wonders of the natural world.
Gladstone Harbour (South East QLD, on the coast) is to be the site of the biggest dredging (scooping out dirt to make it deeper/wider) project in Australia. 3 million cubic metres of sand is being scooped out to make way for a Coal Seam Gas project and shipping lanes. The dredging has started and already toxic algal blooms are affecting fish, killing Dolphins, Dugongs, Turtles, Coral and other marine life. When dredging occurs, some toxic build ups of some substances (natural and unnatural) are release back into the water.
So Tony Abbott isn’t scooping up big chunks of reef an scuba divers, but it is an area which will affect the fragile biodiversity of the reef.
At this point, international readers — go see the reef before Tony, the Crown of Thorns Starfish, Coral Bleaching, Cyclones and anything else adds to its disappearance.
Earlier this week…
No to business confidence.
Australian car manufacturer, Holden announced it will be closing down its operations in Australia in 2017. Very heartbreaking for Australians, to see another local brand bite the dust (it’s happened to five or six major Aussie Fashion labels recently too) — and one that was so iconic. The Federal Government has given roughly $150 million dollars I subsidies to Holden in the last 12 years, over $2 billion. The situation now is that they will not receive any more, as there (from a Liberal perspective) has not been enough wealth generation from the industry to justify the amount spent on it.
Which is pretty normal for a right-leaning Government… (Australian) Liberals support the free market, they work on the principle of “less Government in Business and more business in Government”. So it’s like Economic Darwinism, the survival of the fittest/most wealth generating ventures or projects.
No to apologising.
No to trust?
Yes to bad first impressions.
It came out last month that The Australian Secret Service (ASIO) had been phone tapping The Indonesian President’s personal mobile, his wife’s and a few of his Government Ministers in recent years. ASIO refused to say if it was continuing, heck they refused to divulge anything about it (..or they’d have to kill us! Ha).
“Why is this so important, PIK?!”
Because we were sprung spying on an Ally. Every country in the world spies on each other in some capacity, it’s the worst kept secret and not a surprise, but it is quite serious when it becomes public knowledge. When Julian Assange released all those Wikileak Documents, they contained diplomatic communications which contained leader’s and countries’ opinion of each other, and it also revealed spying and surveillance between countries. So it’s normative (international relations word for being considered normal).
The Indonesian President demanded an apology and Tony Abbott refused. World leaders can play dumb when it suits them, but the spying as afar as we know was done in previous years, but Rudd and Gillard weren’t rushing to grovel. So Abbott didn’t feel compelled to apologise for something he personally hadn’t done. Or had he? We’ll never know.
No to long term policy vision and sustainability
Tony Abbott is repealing the Carbon Tax. Disbanding all the Climate Change Commissions, Councils, Committees, Round Tables, Boards, Departments, Studies that you can think of. Sad, sad days for Australia’s sustainability vision. No Emissions Trading Scheme, nothing to replace it.
Hope you enjoyed reading as much as I enjoy writing.
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