Let him eat cake: Abbott & marriage equality.

12 Sep

Tony Abbott marries himself. Mural by Australian artist Scott Marsh.


In the first paragraph of his opinion piece in The Age today, former Prime Minister Tony Abbott encapsulates the condescension and toleration typical of many on the No side of the marriage equality debate thus:

Like most, I have tried to be there for friends and family who are gay. They are good people who deserve our love, respect and inclusion but that doesn’t mean that we can’t continue to reserve the term “marriage” for the relationship of one man with one woman, ideally for life and usually dedicated to children.

(Note: in almost every statement you can think of, whatever comes after a “but” negates wholly or in part what precedes it).

“They” are good people who deserve inclusion, however “they” do not deserve that ultimate straight privilege: marriage. And why don’t “they” deserve it? Because they are not heterosexual.

It ought to be obvious to even the dullest of minds that if your sole reason for denying another human the rights you unquestioningly hold yourself is their homosexuality, then you are practising homophobia.

Neither can you give the right to one group of citizens to determine the humanity of another and call for respectful debate at the same time. The premise of the debate is inherently disrespectful and harmful.

At this point, I could rest my case that the postal opinion poll is, in itself, homophobic, and as such anyone involved in it ought to be fined for vilification by participation, including me as I’m answering Yes. I remain enraged at Prime Minister Turnbull for his lazy and cowardly outsourcing of this matter to the public, thus forcing me, because I’m not prepared to chuck my survey in the bin, into engagement with a process I consider discriminatory and cruel. I couldn’t live with myself if I did anything to enable a No victory. The sucky little bastard has me wedged.

In Britain, Abbott bemoans, Catholic orphanages have been forced to close down as a direct consequence of marriage equality. This would seem to me to be a win-win, given the well-documented atrocities visited upon children in Catholic institutions but Abbott apparently considers it a reason to tick No. In the US, he continues, a baker (a baker, in the whole of the US, in the entire western world in fact, a bakerhas been prosecuted for refusing to put a slogan on a wedding cake. This, my friends, is all the drunken little toe rag has to prosecute his argument that marriage equality will destroy the principles on which our society is, in his perception, based. Bring on that long-overdue destruction, is my feeling on the matter.

This debate is about power. It’s about who controls the damn narrative. It’s about changing a society in which some people are considered less human than others solely because of their sexuality. It’s about ending exclusion. It’s about challenging the absolutely unacceptable hold religion has on our secular country. It’s about allowing the expression of human love beyond the narrow confines of the heteronormative.

By all means, let us discuss the institution of marriage, its pros and cons, its dominance in our culture. Its inherently exclusionary nature, the many ways in which it disadvantages women, all of its many problematics. However, these are separate issues from denying the privileges of marriage to anyone, solely on the basis of their sexuality.

If marriage equality does, as Abbott insists it will, fundamentally change our society, this can only be a good thing. Change will mean an equalising and an opening up, rather than the fearful and repressive hunkering down advocated by the No side, simply because they cannot deal with any kind of difference.




51 Responses to “Let him eat cake: Abbott & marriage equality.”

  1. carolyncordon September 12, 2017 at 7:31 pm #

    An excellent reply to the former PM who’s misogyny goes further than it should ever be allowed to go.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. cowper133 September 12, 2017 at 7:45 pm #

    Excellent reply. You have articulated exactly my sentiments on the issue. How dare I be asked to VOTE or to even indicate how I would VOTE on another person’s rights to the same rights that I currently enjoy because that person has a different sexual orientation, which is none of my business in the first place!!

    Liked by 4 people

  3. stefrozitis September 12, 2017 at 8:56 pm #

    That amazing mural though!

    Liked by 3 people

  4. AnnODyne September 12, 2017 at 9:11 pm #

    Abbott is mean-spirited.
    His own daughter called him ‘a sad, gay, loser’ so she has inherited the homophobe gene.

    If Margie left him for another woman it would be all my dreams come true.
    We’ve never seen her in frills or florals, I wouldn’t be surprised.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Arthur Baker September 13, 2017 at 7:15 am #

      “Lame gay churchy loser” was the phrase. But that was before he managed to co-opt her into being one of his white-dress-clad electoral props.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Ambitious_Drifter September 12, 2017 at 9:25 pm #

    This hypocrite continues to bang on about ‘family values’ despite abandoning his first family…. how was this thug allowed to rise so far?

    Liked by 2 people

  6. doug quixote September 12, 2017 at 9:41 pm #

    Totally agree.

    The forces of conservatism will do anything and everything to delay, obfuscate confuse and derail the progress of equality. There’s no argument that can’t be turned on its head.

    The risk is that when two competing arguments are presented as equal alternatives, with equal time and a sizeable budget, the public can be unsure of the (vastly unequal) merits of the proposition.

    The climate change ‘debate’ was thus derailed. In the US, intelligent design is widely touted as an alternative to evolution.

    The absurdity of this postal opinion poll is that if the vote ends up at less than 55 to 45, the pollies will think they are free to follow their own view, as not too different from their core support in the electorate.

    We need a vote of 65 to 35 to end any quibbling. Register your view, even if you’d rather not.

    Get it done.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jennifer Wilson September 13, 2017 at 7:43 am #

      Yes! Get it done, like DQ says.
      Conservative-created false balance. It’s a clever trick, investing the invalid with validity, creating the impression that there is a “debate” where no true debate can exist.
      Thus feelings and opinions that require no basis other than “I don’t like it” or “It makes me feel uncomfortable” or “It’s always been that way” are gifted with the same power and legitimacy as facts and human rights.
      The only counter is to educate people to recognise that manipulation.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. allthumbs September 12, 2017 at 10:03 pm #

    Somewhere there is a baker, a wedding organizer or public servant just waiting and champing at the bit to be the naysayer in a court of law.15 minutes of fame can make you a lot of money these days.

    Aside from that, Abbott I believe will find himself back in Ministry as the Minister for Power continuity or some such nonsense.

    Another through the looking glass moment when Turnbull and Frydenberg accused the Labor Party of protecting the Corporate greed of an American CEO protecting his shareholders.

    And the ALP, not the quickest lot for thinking on their feet, saw no need to use the phrase “politics of envy”? But accused Turnbull of bullying a Energy Company CEO.

    Fuck me!

    I don’t mean to derail your well reasoned piece Jennifer and I agree with much of what you say. I think the vote will be an overwhelming yes, but part of me wants it to be a no by a whisker, merely for the trouble it will cause the Coalition and Turnbull in particular.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Arthur Baker September 13, 2017 at 7:27 am #

      Almost any result will be interesting. No by a whisker – trouble for Turnbull, as you say. Yes by a landslide – will he go ahead and legislate? No by a landslide – will the issue go away? Yes by a whisker – hey, just like Brexit. A dead heat – wow, what to do then?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jennifer Wilson September 13, 2017 at 7:46 am #

        Arthur, Turnbull has undertaken legislation in the event of a Yes result, however, can he be trusted? I think not, and the postal survey is non binding.
        Either way, he will face contempt from within or without, which is fine by me.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Jennifer Wilson September 13, 2017 at 7:45 am #

      Allthumbs, yes, a No result will be much more difficult for Turnbull, however, I still want Yes and I know Turnbull, who now is fighting AGL for god’s sake, will create many more difficult situations for himself and his party, and if he doesn’t, Abbott will. Hurray.


  8. townsvilleblog September 12, 2017 at 10:11 pm #

    Reblogged this on Townsville Blog. and commented:

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Arthur Baker September 13, 2017 at 7:21 am #

    One of the best comments I’ve seen on the marriage equality issue is Cathy Wilcox’s cartoon in the Letters column of the Sydney Morning Herald yesterday (12 Sept). It’s headed “Think of the children” and you can see it here:


    Liked by 1 person

    • Moz of Yarramulla September 14, 2017 at 11:09 am #

      I kinda like the cartoon, but that first letter… hmm.

      The choice argument that I buy into is the one that says sexuality is what it is, but how you express it is the choice. To some people “lesbian” is a political identity that’s just one aspect of who they love and in that sense it absolutely is a choice. Which is no more to suggest I should get to vote on whether it’s allowed than I should be allowed to vote on banning the Liberal Party or my favourite voting restriction: people who vote for MPs who are later convicted shouldn’t be allowed to vote again since their judgement is obviously suspect 🙂

      I marked the “yes” box on the survey even though it felt wrong. Human rights are rights, not opinions.


  10. drsusancalvin September 13, 2017 at 11:45 am #

    Thank you Jennifer for your relentless coverage and thoughtful analysis. I would never be seen to be a “delicate little flower” and I do have a spine, but I confess I am unable to have a conversation about this with some of my friends, my community, and my neighbours. Unlike some political viewpoints, this is deeply personal, (even though I am not interested in getting married) and the unthinking comments made are surprisingly hurtful. I truly feel second class for the first time in 35 years. This Q, if answered in the negative, will be socially damaging, and if answered in the positive and the “religious protections” (code for dismantling the anti discrimination laws) are enshrined for individuals, then it will be open season. Not looking forward to either scenario.

    Liked by 1 person

    • drsusancalvin September 13, 2017 at 1:17 pm #

      …and… on cue Vile Shelton at the NPC is arguing that Gay Marriage will “weaponize” the States’ anti discrimination acts. He says he warned Brandis that if he thinks 18c is a problem. . . This is the new battle ground. They are conceding that change will happen. They have started to shift focus.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jennifer Wilson September 13, 2017 at 8:47 pm #

        I watched the end of that, fortunately came home too late to see the whole thing.
        I do not understand these people. If all they have to make themselves feel special is their straight marriages, then they have my condolences. Their lives are indeed impoverished, & they seem determined to impoverish everyone else along with them.


    • Jennifer Wilson September 13, 2017 at 8:44 pm #

      Yes, drsusan, I’m not looking forward to a possible No result, and the idea of “religious protections” that give people the legal right to discriminate n the grounds of sexuality is appalling.


      • Moz of Yarramulla September 16, 2017 at 8:10 pm #

        I’m hoping that the religious exemption will be rather broader than that, since it’s apparently going to apply to any person who claims to be religious rather than just to religious organisations. It seems only reasonable that the exemption will cover all religious beliefs and actions emanating from those. Why should the Christian ban on bigamy be less protected than the Christian ban on homosexual marriage, for example? If I don’t have to bake a cake for the gays, why should I have to bake one for adulterers? Just because Australian law permits divorce is no reason to force the godly to pretend that it’s acceptable.

        Once you start down this path where do you stop? Does the postie have to deliver gay wedding invitations? Does the parking warden have to recognise the (gay) wedding parking exemption or can they ticket the wedding car? Does a police officer have to attend a DV callout to a gay marriage?


  11. allthumbs September 13, 2017 at 3:38 pm #

    I read with glee today that the Chairman of the ACCC, (the legislation for which, was the reason Malcolm Turnbull used to go to the last election if you remember, it being imperative for the good of the country), resigned today for misrepresenting Union rights to workplace access to Employers.

    Turnbull what a wanker, Michaela Cash who forgot she owned a million dollar piece of real estate fucks up again.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jennifer Wilson September 13, 2017 at 8:48 pm #

      Indeed, all thumbs, and it looks as if Cash knew about this for at least a year so she’s protected a criminal


    • doug quixote September 15, 2017 at 10:09 pm #

      The ABCC, surely!

      Breaching the very Act he is supposed to enforce!

      Big mouth Cash should go where she can do no more harm. Then again, North Korea may have an opening for a newsreader . . .


      • allthumbs September 16, 2017 at 10:28 am #

        Doug, I was laughing so loud in my glee i mistypex. 🙂


      • Arthur Baker September 16, 2017 at 3:02 pm #

        Tarnation. Every time I see motormouth Cash on the TV in future, I’m going to think of that N.Korean newsreader and fall about laughing.


  12. paul walter September 13, 2017 at 8:49 pm #

    Allthumbs, it seems possible to go beyond Jennifer Wilson’s political obfuscation pieces on equal marriage and apply their contentions as to irrational recalcitrance on a raft of issues long in need of repair, noting the factors common to the various issues.

    I think Wilson’s blog is is sophisticated enough not to take your comments as derail, Wilson often writes on issues where the same pattern emerges and my guess would be that your example with the power sector for a comparison probably invites a cheer, for recognition, applying to the illogicality and baseness of much conservative obstructionism.

    You could add housing affordability, media dumbing down and education,say and find similar factors throughout. You’d start with myopic mulishness from people like Joyce and Abbott, the role of vested interests who gain from the status quo, sometimes the complicity of a tame opposition and minor parties fighting for influence, fearfully of medi attack or loss of sponsorship.

    You could marvel at the whole Australian pol-economic system and its dysfunctionality as an example of the philosophical Argument from Design, given the sheer gridlocking of the entire mechanism, although it is shuddersome to think of Murdoch and a few others as even remotely equated to any divine influence.


  13. anyvoices September 14, 2017 at 8:00 am #

    hi have been reading your blogs and really enjoyed . would you consider sharing them on a free website http://www.anyvoice.co.uk would love to share you articles on there Jennifer with your permission


  14. allthumbs September 14, 2017 at 8:41 am #

    The Coalition prides itself on its “small government” principles. It has used these principles to avoid legislating for SSM because of its trust in the intelligence and grace of the Australian electorate’s ability to debate the case in a civilized manner.

    The same small government principles do not extend to welfare recipients where the government sees a need, a duty, to micro-control the spending habits of those that receive the dole or a Newstart allowance. Was Tony Abbott offered counselling after being too pissed to get up and fulfil his duties as a taxpayer funded elected servant of the public? Were his privileges and allowances curtailed, scrutinized I wonder?

    The same small government principles do not extend to trusting parents to vaccinate their children without a penalty. Although it willingly does deals with a party that arguably was elected on a platform of vaccination choice.

    Nor for a corporation and its CEO to act in concert with the workings of the “free market” (another pillar of small government) but curiously does extend that faith to Media moguls to be paragons of providing news diversity against their own best interest. You’d think after the CBA money laundering scandal the Coalition would be a little, perhaps a smidgeon wary of corporate behaviour?


    • paul walter September 14, 2017 at 8:48 am #

      Hmmm.. am thinking of the Xylophone sellout re Murdoch?


      • allthumbs September 14, 2017 at 9:11 am #

        We are all spinning on our own axis Paul. Nick is just a disappointed Liberal fuck him.

        Two names: Mohammed Noor and Katie Quackenbush (yes Quackenbush) a contemporary bifurcation.

        I got my survey yesterday. “Have your say….and do it today”, FFS!

        One question, two boxes a little below that ” if you make a mistake, go to http://www.abs.gov.au…..or contact us… for a replacement survey form straight away”.


  15. Moz of Yarramulla September 14, 2017 at 10:56 am #

    If marriage equality does, as Abbott insists it will, fundamentally change our society, this can only be a good thing.

    Exactly this. The more the no side rant about tradition and conservative values the more I am reminded how much I hate and fear those things. When I think back to the days when I would have been driven out, shunned, could have been beaten to death with impunity and often as not the murderer would have been praised, I don’t think “the good old days” and “what a glorious time that was”, I think “fuck I’m glad to live in more liberal times”. Thanks for the reminder, Tony, now get back under your rock.


    • paul walter September 14, 2017 at 11:41 am #

      Claims to be a man of faith, has absolutely no clue as to what his own religion actually tries to teach.

      He and the ilk are the biggest tragedy of all.


      • Arthur Baker September 17, 2017 at 2:33 pm #

        And the imbecile has been my representative in the lower house of the national parliament since I moved to Sydney’s northern beaches in 1995. And he shows no tendency to want to abandon his well-paid sinecure any time soon. Those of us who live on Sydney’s northern beaches are often derided as silvertails, but I have to say there are disadvantages – it’s not all beer and skittles here, especially if you need someone to represent you properly in the parliament.


        • doug quixote September 17, 2017 at 5:27 pm #

          On a serious note, we have a disconnect made apparent by Abbott in particular: that an attack dog may make an effective Opposition Leader, but it is rarely an effective Prime Minister. Yet we must (for a time at least) accept the OL as PM. Less than two years in Abbott’s case, for proven incompetence.

          Rudd lasted nearly three years before being uprooted for trying to be a (intra-party) dictator. Gillard was the best PM since Keating, but like PK proved unloved by the electorate, or at least enough of it to matter.

          The elctorate think they choose a PM in some kind of popularity contest; all too few seek to select a person who will govern competently. And they revolt when their dud choice is booted.

          Ah, democracy; the worst system of government ever invented, apart from all the others.


        • allthumbs September 18, 2017 at 10:47 am #

          It is behavior uncharacteristic of an ex-Pm to linger on the backbench after his tenure has been terminated, unless the ex has a fruitful hope of resurrecting his leadership.

          In Abbott’s case I think it is two things, one nobody but nobody has offered him a subsequent role in public or private life. What do you do with a guy who has no influence? I thought the mining industry might have picked him up, but they picked up Ferguson who was preparing his post MP career while serving as an MP, a lesson keenly learned by Bruce Bilson.

          A commentator perhaps but what insight can Tony provide, what subtlety of mind can he perform in guessing the inside machinations of the political heart when he failed to see his own demise in such a short space of time? Maybe tag-teaming with Latham on Sky News?

          I imagine his disappointment that nobody was knocking his door down to offer him a position in their company or organization such a pariah was he.

          Let’s face it as Opposition leader Tony reached his apotheosis. Like Ruddock he will eventually become the grey eminence of the House, through tenure alone and nothing to do with talent or political acumen and remain a leech on the public purse until his eventual loss of his seat.

          Fuck him.

          Liked by 1 person

          • paul walter September 18, 2017 at 11:25 am #

            He has personal problems outside of politics that preclude his growth or advancement.


            • Arthur Baker September 18, 2017 at 2:49 pm #

              His main personal problem, which may be outside politics but unfortunately affects his involvement in politics, is that he is what my dear mother would have labelled “being not the full two bob” (my father’s version of this would be to say he’s “a bit doolally”, and mine is “a couple of Falcons short of a parking lot”).

              Even Abbott himself now allegedly thinks his onion-chomping efforts might not have looked all that appealing to the greater Aussie audience.

              But I can’t see him losing his seat any time soon unless one of two things happens: (a) Warringah Liberals decide to give him the flick and endorse someone else; (b) Warringah undergoes a significant electoral redistribution, sending the Harbourside-Mansion territories of Mosman, Seaforth and Clontarf into another electorate.

              He’s not about to surrender it voluntarily, and until that aspirational redistribution, the seat will remain Liberal, much to the annoyance of those of us who inhabit the relatively less affluent areas of the northern beaches.


              • Arthur Baker September 18, 2017 at 2:53 pm #

                Mind you, if the lad needs a job, my lawn needs mowing right now, and he only lives up the road in Forestville. Allegedly.


                • paul walter September 18, 2017 at 5:58 pm #

                  Would he know one end of a lawnmower from the other?


                  • Arthur Baker September 18, 2017 at 7:14 pm #

                    He wouldn’t know if his own arse were on fire, so identifying the end of a lawnmower could pose a few difficulties.


                • doug quixote September 21, 2017 at 11:37 pm #

                  Bourke may still need a dogcatcher . . .


              • paul walter September 18, 2017 at 5:57 pm #

                Yes. He is as daft as a cut snake.
                What is Turnbull’s excuse?
                Perhaps his problems are a different type of pathological.


  16. allthumbs September 20, 2017 at 10:59 am #

    Always a nice reminder of the why the reign of the national hair shirt was so short and his underlying ambition to make this country in his own image.



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