Maybe polygamy/ polyamourous marriages are the next step?

Polygamy (polygyny) image via iStock images
Gay marriage then polygamy? Image: iStock

 

I hate to say it,Andrew Bolt may have a point about the slippery – slope argument on gay marriage. I say  “maybe”. I have checked online, and yes, the story does check out. Three gay men in Colombia have had their relationship recognised legally; Victor Hugo Prada, John Allejandro Rodriguez, and Manuel Jose Bermudez. They have been recognised as Colombia’s first “polyamorous family”. According to news.com.au, they now legally have legal and inheritance rights granted to them by the Colombian Supreme Court.

So what does this mean? Does this mean that gay marriage inevitably leads to the legalisation of polygamy? Last year, on an older blog, I wrote an extensive post about the potential hazards that polygamy can have on individuals, families and society. I linked an article by Zainab AL Hammadi.  

Since then, I have read more articles, including from those that have lived in polygamous households, particularly from ex – Mormon Penelope Lane. It was far less than ideal for her as a child. Due to pressure, she wrote another article citing studies from Professor Joseph Hendrich, further reinforcing her point.

Doing this research gave me reason to doubt the slippery slope argument against gay marriage. But I also noted there were differences between the two. So, with the latest revelation from Colombia, what conclusion can we come up with?

As I’m writing this, I’m researching Colombia’s marriage laws and it’s complicated – as there is a marriage law and a de – facto law. For foreigners who get married in Colombia, they have to prove that they’re legally divorced or a spouse has died if they’ve been married before, as well as having other documents such as birth certificates translated to Spanish. Anyway, I’m not a lawyer or an expert on Colombia, so I’ll just leave it at that.

So, this triad has been legally recognised under Colombian law via the Supreme Court. Does this prove Bolt right about what he’s been saying for years? Maybe. Will the legalisation of polygamy or polyamory be able to be argued against? Polygamy (polygyny), yes (as I’ve cited before and linked above). Polyamory? Last time I wrote about this in depth, I said that it was more complicated. At the time, I couldn’t find any conclusive evidence to suggest that polyamory is necessarily bad for men, women, children or society as a whole, unlike polygyny.

 

So, yeah, I’m a bit stumped with this, to be honest. Will it happen in Australia? Maybe. It probably won’t be decided by the Supreme Court as it’s happened in Colombia. Other than that, maybe it’s something we need to think about in Australia. If same – sex marriage is ever legalised in Australia, are we open to recognising polyamorous, or, dare I say it, polygamous unions?

What do you think? Will gay marriage lead to the legalisation of polygamy/ plural marriage?  Feel free to leave your thoughts or any information you know below. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Budget announced – no guts or glory

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The Coalition Government has announced the Budget

 

The Coalition has announced it’s 2017 Budget. Not everyone is happy (well, everyone has a gripe with it, I think). Andrew Bolt has slammed it as a ‘Labor budget’. In today’s Herald Sun, columnist Susie O’Brien has called it a ‘fairytale’.

I call it a toothless tiger. It’s clear to me that the Coalition are still scarred by the backlash against Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey in 2014. They aimed to cut welfare, even though much of it was knocked back in the Senate. Some cuts were made, including over $500 million dollars from Aboriginal health services. There was also a proposed plan for a six month freeze on New Start payments and compulsory interviews and ‘activities’ for Disability Support Pension recipients. Due to public backlash, Abbott and Hockey pedalled back on the Newstart  freeze, making potential recipients only wait for a month. There is also spending on education, health and infrastructure projects.

 

I call this year’s Budget a toothless tiger. Gutless really. Unlike Abbott/ Hockey, the Turnbull/ (Scott) Morrison Government went for the middle income earners, the banks and multinationals. The only group that has been targeted and fought back are university students, who will be forced to pay seven per cent more on their HECS – HELP loans, which will be due to be paid back when a graduate will earn just over $40,000 rather than $52,000 a year. Other than that, who, (at least theoretically), would protest the big four banks being targeted? Or multinationals? That’s what I mean by toothless tiger. They went for easy targets, with many concessions (railways, a new Sydney airport, etc). This has caused rumours on a possible election before 2019.

 

This Budget was gutless. While things like the tax cuts for small businesses are OK, there isn’t too much else to go on except to say that it’s infuriated traditional Coalition supporters. We’ll just have to wait and see what happens.

What did you think of the Budget announcement?

Latham, free speech and responsibility

Sky News (Australia) has sacked former Labor leader, Mark Latham for attacking a student’s perceived sexuality when responding to speeches made on International Women’s Day.

Latham has been well – known for being politically incorrect since joining Sky, both as a guest on “The Bolt Report” and his regular show “Jones and Co”, with 2GB host Alan Jones. The latest jibe, however proved to be too far. While colleagues like Andrew Bolt and Paul Murray were sad to see him go, Bolt criticised Latham for his comments toward the student.

 

Free speech

The news of the sacking has sparked fierce criticism on social media, with some threatening to cancel their Foxtel subscriptions and boycott Sky News.

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Sky recieving backlash on Facebook over Latham’s sacking

 

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More backlash

 

Of course, free speech is also a hot topic when it comes to changing 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act, which has been defeated in the Senate. When it came to 18C, for a long time I was torn. I understood why a number of people, including some Jews, worried. However, the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) case made me change my mind. It was unfortunate that three young people had their lives and careers turned upside down because of a number of Facebook posts. The plaintiff, Cindy Prior wasn’t a winner either. She went bankrupt. I believe a law that was meant to protect people shouldn’t result in lives being thrown into turmoil.

 

Now, on the attacks toward Sky News. I think they did a reasonable thing. If they held on to Latham and he said outrageous things again and again, then it would’ve had looked bad on the media outlet. As others have said before, this is NOT a free speech issue. Latham WASN’T legally sanctioned for what he said. Freedom of speech does not mean freedom from criticism or being held to account when you go too far. This is what so many people don’t get. If you attack someone (verbally or on – line), then you should be called out.

Also, Sky has every right to decide on policies and codes of conduct that employees should abide by. I’m guessing that, while debate is encouraged and expected, discriminatory or rude behaviour and speech based on someone’s sexuality, race, etc isn’t. Most workplaces do demand that all staff members respect their colleagues and members of the public they associate with, and, in this case, write and talk about. It’s their right. Freedom of speech DOES NOT MEAN FREEDOM FROM CONSEQUENCES!

 

Another thing too – if a law like 18C was to be scrapped, I believe that it would put the onus on the public and the media to not tolerate discriminatory or bullying behaviour or language. This means that it should be called out – always. And people do. For instance, I’ve been particularly impressed with Andrew Bolt this year and how he has rebuked people, like cartoonist Larry Pickering, publicly for making inappropriate remarks against gays and Muslims at the Q Society fundraiser. (According to the Gold Coast Bulletin, Pickering expressed regret on his anti – gay slur, but is standing by his antib- Muslim comments). Bolt has also criticised his colleague and former Coalition member, Ross Cameron for his distasteful ‘joke’ that night. (Cameron did apologise for his comments).

 

I think what Sky News did to Latham was fair. This was NOT an attack on his free speech. It was Sky taking an ethical and professional stand on what they will and won’t tolerate. To be honest, even the Left could take a leaf out of their book – stand for ethics always. Don’t let tribalism stand in tge way for doing what you know in your heart is right.

 

Racial Discrimination Act: change? Scrap?

The raging debate over 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act is still still red hot to some commentators, especially Andrew Bolt. The case involving seven students from Queensland University of Technology – three of which were taken to court by Cindy Prior – after the students were told to leave a computer lab allegedly reserved for Aboriginal students. The boys protested on Facebook, calling it “fighting segregation with segregation” and one asking sarcastically where the “white supremacist” computers were. One of the defendants Callum Thwaites was also accused of using the “N” word, but has emphatically denied it.

While the case was dropped and Prior was demanded that she pay thousands in legal fees, which allegedly sent her bankrupt. While the defendants were ruled as being innocent of any crime, their careers have allegedly being trashed. According to Bolt, Alex Wood explained how his future had been badly damaged and his chosen career had been destroyed:

At that point in my life, it all sort of hit me at once. I was afraid. I felt that uni had been for nothing. I had studied quite hard and had a GPA of 6.3, and I thought that was going to go down the drain. I thought I was going to lose my job and potentially not be able to get a job after uni. I thought my friends would shun me if they thought I was racist. I honestly believe 18C was extremely close to ruining my life and still has the potential to do so.

There were absolutely no winners in this case. Reading about this case,  especially what Wood has said has made me change my mind about 18C. The fact it got as far as it did and had such devastating consequences on everyone involved.

There are three options that are often brought up when discussing this case and 18C – scrap the section, take the words “insult” and “offend” out of the section or leave it exactly how it is. I wonder if there could be another option – have a blanket anti – hate – crimes act that covers race, religion, sexuality,  gender identity, etc.Currently, Australia has a number of anti – discrimination acts, both State and Federal. Why not make it all one?

I would say too, that words like “offend” should be avoided. Why? Because they are too vague and open to interpretation. So what should an anti – hate crimes act entail. Well, quite simply, it should make it unlawful to attack someone because of race, gender, sexuality, etc. I also think that anti discrimination provisions for employers and services should remain. It’s just that, I believe that QUT case has proven that 18C doesn’t work. Even if you win, you lose. There needs to be a line drawn. There is no room for incitement to violence or deliberate discrimination or abuse in our society. However, what I find so heartbreaking is when well – meaning people are dragged through mud and the mud sticks no matter what they say. That’s what I think about the case against Andrew Bolt in 2011. I didn’t read the two articles that got him sued and were banned by the court, but I have since read his arguments since. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard Bolt being branded a racist. Last night on Sky’s ‘Paul Murray Live’, I saw a clip where Labor Senator, Sam Dastyari – who is Iranian born – ranted against changes to 18C. While he didn’t call Bolt by name, it was obvious, I think, that the tirade was partly aimed at him. Unsurprisingly, Murray condemned Dastyari’s speech.

I just don’t think 18C as it is is working. It may have had it’s place in 1975 when the Act was first introduced, but something has gone off. I think it needs to be mended so it can’t be open to interpretation as easy. Like I said, what about have a blanket anti – hate crimes Act instead plus workplace and services protections?

What do you think about 18C? Do you think it should be mended? Scrapped? To those who are in other countries, what anti – discrimination laws do you have? Do you think they work or are adequate? What changes would you like to see? I know these are quite a few full on questions. Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments. 

Free speech and the responsibility to speak out

Last week and today, Newscorp columnist, Andrew Bolt condemned cartoonist Larry Pickering for anti – Muslim and anti gay slurs. He also slammed former Coalition member, Ross Cameron for not calling Pickering out.

Well done, Mr. Bolt.

No, really I mean it. It means a lot for a respected columnist/ commentator to use his platform to stand up for the LGBTQ+ community, and especially gays that have been persecuted in one of the most brutal regimes. I also applaud him for confronting South Australian Senator Cory Bernardi for his controversial comments on same – sex marriage back in 2012 while he was a guest on Sky’s ‘The Bolt Report’ last Monday night.

It is great that Bolt is being consistent in calling out homophobia, racism, etc when it occurs. I hope he – as well as other journalists – CONSISTENTLY continue to call homophobia, racism and other forms of discrimination when they  occur. As I wrote many times last year, I was very disappointed when Bolt and most other journalists didn’t call out and condemn the threats made toward Melbourne’s only LGBTQ radio station JOY 94.9FM last year during the plebiscite debate. Since it’s a new year, (well another year since that event), I’m willing to believe that Bolt and others are willing to turn a new leaf and call out homophobia when it happens and not excuse it. So far, I have been pleasntly surprised with Bolt and his support for members of the LGBTQ+ community – at least condemning abuse. I hope he keeps it up. I also hope others follow in his footsteps.

In the posts that, Bolt was talking – as he often does – about free speech and not having anti discrimination legislation such as Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 to deal with it and instead, have racists, homophobes, etc, have to face criticism by the wider public. This can only happen if people are willing to speak out. This only works when people refuse to turn a blind eye or deaf ear to what’s happening. People who call out racism or homophobia, including slurs, should be able to do so, without having everyone on their backs. Members of the LGBTQ+ community and racial minorities NEED to be able to tell of their experiences. Some things that are said maybe uncomfortable to hear. Tough! If free speech is the way to comat racism and queerphobia, then members of racial minorities and the LGBTQ+ community need to be able to speak and be heard!

 

Lastly, I think there needs to be an overall community effort to eliminate homophobia and racism – in schools, health and the widercommunity. Generally, I think we’ve done this quite well in Australia, with, for example, the Pride Match between St. kilda Saints and Sydney Swans last year. At the time, I said that I thought it was great for such a major, traditionally macho, pastime and cultural icon in Australia to open their arms out to LGBTQ+ players and spectators.

Of course, the mainstrem media has played a major role in embracing members of the LGBTQ+ community and rallying behind their causes. Over the years, I’ve written about the media’s increasing reporting on asexuality and I think that most of them have done a decent job. I still continue to see articles, most which are pretty well written. They mostly validate the experiences of asexual people, which I think is important. This month, Cosmopolitan has released a special LGBTQ Pride issue. I want to talk about it in more depth at a later date.

 

Maybe with all these advances and perceptions slowly changing around ethnic minorities and the LGBTQ + community, things like 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 won’t be needed. But I  believe that is going to put greater onus on all of us to not accept, and more importantly, call out racism and queerphobia. Are we as writers and a community willing to harbour that responsibility? Are YOU willing?

Bring professionalism back in journalism and commentary!

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I’m usually an avid listener to Sydney’s 2GB on weeknights when Andrew Bolt is on.  But on Monday night, I nearly turned it off after five minutes and was glad that I missed the first twenty minutes or so. Bolt was on with Daily Telegraph columnist, Miranda Devine. To those who don’t know, they had a feud in 2015 after Malcolm Turnbull ousted Tony Abbott as Australian Prime Minister. Devine slammed Bolt for standing by Tony Abbott and his – then Chief of Staff, Peta Credlin – someone who Devine blamed for Abbott’s fall.

She went on Win’s “Today Show” with Karl Stafanovic insulting Bolt, calling him “delusional”.

From what I heard, there was a lot of mincing words, misrepresenting, talking over each other and it all came to ahead when Bolt spat it and threatened to hang up. Things started to calm down after they had a few callers.

Frankly I couldn’t believe what was going on when I turned it on my iPad. In my view, both Bolt and Devine were at fault. Devine shouldn’t have interrupted Bolt continuously, but Bolt, could have been a little bit more professional and not have thrown a tantrum and threaten to hang up. They could’ve both skipped the word games, too (i.e. lost vs losing and whether the polls mattered or didn’t… it was just ridiculous).

Anyway, last night was a lot more cordial. Devine explained the relationship with Bolt as like brother and sister and how Monday night was a “robust discussion” and “sibling rivalry”. They assured that they they were still really good friends.

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I still think both of them could have conducted themselves better. They are both professional journalists/ presenters. They both work for one of the largest and last standing commercial media companies in Australia (Newscorp).

I’ll cut them both some slack and say that the way they conducted themselves on Monday night isn’t isolated to them. It grates me how journalists – both from the Left and conservative – make a bad habit of mincing words and talking over the top of others. An example of this in recent years (2015, I think?) was a feud between Weekend Sunrise co – host and “The Chaser Australia” host, Andrew O’Keefe and former Labor senator, Mark Latham when talking about the issue of feminism, domestic violence and the gender pay gap. along with “The Guardian (Australia) columnist,. playwright and author, Van Badham and, again, Miranda Devine. This caused a social media backlash against O’Keeffe, with calls for him to be sacked (he’s still there. by the way. He’s still on “The Chaser Australia”, too.)

Maybe journalists do it for ratings sometimes, or, more likely a clash of personalities, ideas and opinions. Surely you can be “robust” in discussion without being rude, without being condescending and without throwing a tantrum. Again, Bolt, Devine and O’Keefe are professionals. They should act like it. Sure, DEBATE, but also LISTEN. And keep cool headed. Then again, I’m not a professional journalist (yet?… who knows). As a listener and viewer I’m a little bit disappointed at how far it can get.

Since last night was so cordial, I”m hoping that there isn’t a “Round Two” of Monday night.

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If it does arc up again, I’ll be turning it off and keeping it off, at least until someone replaces Devine (either Price or Michael McLaren).

 

How do you cope with journalists talking over the top of each other? Do you bear it, turn off? Does it turn you off a journalist/ commentator or show completely? Feel free to drop your thoughts down below. If you’re a journalist, I’d love to know what you think, too.