That’s pretty funny.
We met on New Years Eve, 2010. We have been together for about eleven months.
The plan was early-to-mid February 2012, though it is possible that this might change slightly now.
I don’t think I am. Perhaps you think this because of my vocal support of the Civil Partnerships Bill recently. I think it is an excellent piece of legislation with a lot of merit which deserves passage through the Parliament.
I expect to be called an LNP hack the next time I am vocal about an LNP policy that I happen to agree with. Oh, Internet.
The ALP National Conference is coming up this weekend, and one of the key issues that will be debated is same-sex marriage. I am hopeful that the Party will endorse same-sex marriage; however, I am also greatly concerned that the issue will go to a conscience vote under the leadership of Prime Minister Julia Gillard. I do not believe that this is the right path.
The labour movement has always been the social conscience of the nation, both at home and abroad. Issues like universal suffrage for women were not addressed because they were electorally popular – in many places, quite the opposite was true, but because they were the right thing to do; because it was time. The fights were never easy, and were often met with significant opposition from conservatives, who were either afraid of change, or appealing to the fear of the electorate to win a few votes. This fight, too, has not been easy by any measure.
It was not all that long ago that homosexuality was regarded as a disease which called for psychological treatment. There was a time before that when alleged homosexuals in the Truman Administration were literally labelled a national security threat by many on the Right. (Really.) We have come a long way since then. Today, a clear majority support marriage equality, and being gay to most is no longer a taboo. It is accepted for what it is – an ordinary part of life. But there is a lot more to do; we are not done yet.
The Labor Party has to follow the lead of other nations and finish the process. This does not mean that there are not competing views within the Party on the issue. It means that MPs and Senators acknowledge that a majority of delegates have supported a change in response to community sentiment. It means adhering to the traditional Labor value of social equality and equal opportunity. It means being the social conscience of the nation at a time when nobody else will.
I know that gay marriage will mean the world to many, particularly those who are uncomfortable with the idea of being gay. It means that their relationship is considered no different to any other; something that will not be achieved with half-measures such as civil unions (at the federal level – States can’t legislate on issues of marriage.) From my own personal experience and those around me, I firmly believe that same-sex marriage will be a major step forward in equality and acceptance. Far from it being a minority view that is somehow pushed on the majority, it would strengthen the community bonds that keep us together, strengthen the institution of marriage, and allow us to move forward as a community with a basic sense of fairness, compassion, and equality.
I truly hope that the National Conference will support same-sex marriage, and that it results in a binding vote on the Parliamentary Labor Party. (as motions passed as Conference ordinarily do.)
Sometimes I say things I really feel bad about saying; guilty or embarrassed or just a little ashamed. Often I’ve said things that are far from what I normally believe. I don’t delete things though because that is what I did think last night. It was accurate then, even if it’s not now. There’s some value in recording what was, or I’d never remember it with clarity; I’d forget the passion with which I once believed it.
I admire you.
The mandatory pre-commitment scheme proposed by the Government is not a removal of consumer choice. There is no mandate as to how much people can spend, how they can spend it, or where; it is an acknowledgement that the gambling industry is inherently addictive, and that its addictive nature can have destructive consequences for the community if the industry is unfettered. The problem is being addressed without resorting to any real ‘big government’ initiatives, and it is one that I believe will work.
Most people can use pokie machines with little temptation to spend more than a few dollars. For many it is merely a temporary escape from reality – we all have these outlets, and without them we wouldn’t function very healthily. These people probably will not even notice the scheme because it is designed to suit compulsive users who spend thousands which in many cases they don’t have, not the casual user who spends a few dollars every now and then. This should indicate that the scheme is not some attempt to bring government into peoples lives – it leaves the vast majority of people alone – but an attempt to address a problem that destroys lives and communities.
This should be something that we can all support.
By self-limiting themselves, people will spend less money, which removes the compulsion to spend even more because of its addictive nature. Given the reaction by Clubs Australia, this will work pretty well – they have gone so far as to call it ‘un-Australian.’ They might have a point that much of the gambling revenue funds community activities (discussed soon), but that does not justify allowing an industry to go unfettered when it is demonstrably destroying lives. The idea that harmful business practices should be allowed to continue because they benefit community programs is not one that I find persuasive.
Community programs, however, should not suffer as a result. The solution to this is two-fold. I believe that the Government has an obligation to fund the gap in the short-term to ensure that no programs which are beneficial to the community are ended immediately; however, in the medium-to-long-term, the clubs themselves have an obligation to change their business model to suit the new reality. There are other ways of improving revenue that don’t include praying on vulnerable people who have a serious addiction.
I don’t think it is ‘big government.’ I know that libertarians are probably throwing a fit at the idea of government doing … well, anything (that doesn’t include killing people), but ultimately this action by the government empowers people to make their own choices with respect to how much they want to spend because their own addiction renders them incapable of doing so.
The Left in the United States ought to be more thankful for President Obama, particularly given the alternative that they are faced with. College students who will now be able to stay on their parent’s health insurance for longer and actually get insurance later without fear of being denied for a preexisting condition (like acne) are never going to flock to the Republican Party; unless the candidate is Jon Huntsman, which it won’t be. The fear is that they simply won’t turn out like they did last time, along with other liberal groups who feel disenfranchised because the President didn’t give them everything that they wanted.
Politics isn’t about being “Left” or “Right,” most of the time. It is about finding a middle-ground solution that neither side particularly loves, but one that they can live with. The Right is presently moving away from this idea - “this election, we conservatives don’t have to settle,” as Michele Bachmann put it – but this is no way to win a national election, and I believe that the ultimate GOP candidate will have to move much closer to the centre after the primaries are over (which will probably mean more flip-flops from Romney, perhaps on global warming.)
Which brings me to my point – President Obama was never going to be an uber-liberal, because that would have destroyed his chances in 2012. Some were calling for a “new New Deal,” and I admit this would have been nice, but it was probably never going to happen in the absence of a set of perfect circumstances falling into place. This was never to be. The President can’t even get the Republican Party to agree to their own ideas, much less a set of ideas that are the antithesis to what many Republicans believe.
It is in this context that the President’s job was to govern, and this is exactly what he has done from the moment that he was elected. His Administration arrested a sharp decline in economic growth and saved companies from collapse which would have created an economic disaster that would have made the Great Depression look like a minor downturn. While doing this, he pushed through the most major piece of healthcare reform that the United States has seen in a generation – it was not what a lot of liberals wanted, but it was nonetheless a major step forward and a positive one which will make healthcare more affordable and accessible for millions of Americans. The President has ben great on education too – remember “Race to the Top” and student loan reform? His Administration also ushered through a repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell through the Congress as a time when anti-gay sentiment in the U.S. Seems to be at an all-time high in some quarters.
The President achieved all of this and much more at a time when partisan divisions are at an all-time high, not to mention the massive misinformation campaign that is levelled against anything that he does – who can forget the gentleman at a town hall meeting who demanded that the Government “keep its hands off my Medicare.” The fact that the President was able to achieve anything at all – much less what he did – in this atmosphere is something that deserves commendation, not “we want more.”
If we even briefly consider the alternative to the Democrats in 2012, liberals should be even more excited about the President than they were in 2008. Every Republican candidate has endorsed the Ryan Budget Proposal, which effectively calls for an end to the New Deal. They would all repeal “ObamaCare.” Most of them would reinstate Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. And their economic plans include tax cuts for the rich at a time when income inequality is at an all-time high – higher than it was prior to the Great Depression. Some of them have made careers out of being ardently anti-gay – like Rep. Michele Bachmann, who has called it a ‘disease,’ and believes that homosexuals are after children. It is a scary prospect that one of these people could become the next President, but one that is a possibility if liberals choose to hate Obama for what they unjustifiably perceive to be his lack of achievements.
So voters are faced with two choices. A President who has shown above all else a concern for governing over politics, and a President who has achieved much of what he set out to do. Or a President who will undo everything that the Obama Administration has done, and cause more damage to the economy and middle-class America.
The choice should be simple.
Most major GOP candidates support military action against Iran in the event that it goes nuclear. Because talking is for Democrats, right?
I am opposed.