Queensland’s Civil Partnerships: All Politics, No Point.

Nick-Sowden Self-proclaimed "homocon" Nick Sowden discusses why he opposes the QLD Civil Partnership Bill: 

What is being lauded as a significant step towards marriage equality by some, the Queensland Civil Partnerships Act is nothing more than a cheap political trick aimed at preventing a complete rout of Queensland Labor at the coming election in 2012.

Before we go any further, I would like to point out that this is in fact the Civil Partnerships Act and has nothing to do with civil unions or marriage – be it same-sex or otherwise. The conflating of the terms civil unions and civil partnerships was intended by the Labor members – many who tweeted about passing civil unions and the Civil Unions Act (which incidentally doesn’t exist) – to evoke feelings towards the marriage equality dramas currently surrounding the federal ALP conference this weekend. I am in favour of same-sex marriage reform, be that full marriage equality or federal civil unions, a policy I believe the Liberal Party should support.  Half hearted gestures such as the Civil Partnerships Act do nothing for the cause and are merely a distraction, aimed at scoring cheap political points in inner-city electorates.

This particular political trick is one well known to Labor; introduce contentious social policy, let the LNP embarrass themselves (the easiest part) and ensure that the greater Brisbane region is alerted to the backwards nature of the LNP (the Nationals). This worked particularly well in 2010 with the introduction of The Surrogacy Act (2010), which doubled as good policy and good politics. It also encouraged LNP members to make rather ridiculous statements which reminded those in Brisbane why they hadn’t voted for a Nationals controlled Parliament in over 20 years.

Unfortunately, whilst the introduction of the Civil Partnerships Act is good politics, having already resulted in rather odd comments from the LNP, the policy is itself rather redundant and at best an empty gesture to LGBT couples. There are however, two amendments hidden within the Act which are curious for their existence.  Amendments pertaining to the pensions of spouses of judges and those who can access the first home owners grants are included, although, one has to wonder why these couldn’t have been amended without this particular bill, and indeed, why it has taken this long for this to happen.

One of the problems with this Act and its classification of Civil Partnerships is that by definition it creates an extra tier of discrimination, and does nothing to address the core problem of marriage inequality. That a civil partnership is ended where someone enters into marriage highlights this inequality. It also underscores the problem with a State Government trying to address federal issues on the basis of political gain and expedience. The biggest problem with this Act however, is that in Andrew Fraser’s politicking; he decided to use an in vogue Federal issue, as opposed to choosing a progressive cause, entirely based upon state governance.

 There are many issues that Fraser could have chosen, starting with reforming the age of consent for anal sex, an outdated law exclusive to Queensland, which discriminates unfairly against many young same-sex couples. That neither side of politics is willing to engage in this area of reform allows the stigma to continue for young LGBT people, and creates complicated legal conundrums for health care workers.  

A more obvious policy could have been same-sex adoption legalisation. There are many couples within Queensland who would love the opportunity to legally adopt children and give them a better life than they may otherwise enjoy. Unfortunately for these couples, they will have to settle with being registered in a civil partnership, alas.

Finally, if the Queensland Labor party wanted to create lasting progressive reform before it was resigned to the political abyss, it could have reformed Queensland’s rather ridiculous abortion laws, some of the most outdated, misguided and impractical in the country. As an issue of practicality, abortion reform would merely be updating the statute to simply reflect what is common law within Queensland. It should not surprise anyone that in Queensland women still try to perform their own abortions through medically unsupervised means.  That the convoluted laws pertaining to abortion stem from 19th century should have prompted those within the Labor party to seriously consider abortion reform before the LNP lock the issue down for the next three, six or nine years.

The Labor party has chosen its political course; no doubt now they are that little bit closer to staving off LNP attacks in the Brisbane metro area. The regrettable part to this whole issue is that the LGBT population of QLD will be no better off when these laws pass, and a chance to make substantive progressive reforms in Queensland will be lost for however many years the LNP govern for.

As an aside, I think the way that the LNP performed in parliament last night was incredibly smart politics. To only have one speaker against, and that speaker be Jarrod Bleije, a young smart and articulate member, allowed the LNP to remain a small target, and ensured that some of the nuttier aspects of the LNP were kept off the record. As far as limiting the political fallout from this policy, the LNP has done quite well.

Originally, I thought that he Civil Partnerships Act, whilst both meaningless and pointless was a nice enough gesture and I had hoped it would pass. As it stands however, it is a waste of everyone’s time and effort, results in an added layer of discrimination and we all miss out on progressive reform needed. A victory indeed for politics over policy. 

Nick Sowden describes himself to Menzies House as a "one time twitter twit, some time student, long time homocon."

Twibbon Extremists

Nick-Sowden

Nick Sowden looks at the hypocrisy and double standards of the Australian Media in dubbing protesters"extremists:

With the recent convoy of no confidence finding its way into Canberra, the expected media reports of extremists, right wing conservatives and tea party types once again materialized in record time. In keeping with these poor descriptions, social media was in overdrive with arrogant elitists doing their best to belittle those involved in the convoy.

Obviously, the only people who deserve a say are those sipping on their lattes at their inner city café, scrolling through their iPads updating their profiles with the latest feel-good twibbon and sharing a link to the latest ‘progressive’ e-petition – presumably something to do with whales, gay marriage, climate change – or any combination of the three.

Sophie Mirabella writes about the right to peaceful assembly by all and the mocking tone of journalists here . She writes eloquently about the lack of integrity shown by many throughout today’s media – both traditional and social. This is especially true when anyone decides to protest against a government initiative related to a twibbon – throwing the left into overdrive.  They then do their best to label anyone involved as somehow lacking in any and every aspect of humanity. From the purely mocking tone of many, to the straight out disparaging of those involved as stupid, ignorant and retarded. The usual allowances for democracy as espoused by the left of protest and activism are deemed to be less important when people argue against their precious religion of climate change or the faint political issue of gay marriage.

The remarks of the left against those who disagree with them on climate change are best illustrated during the recent tour of Australia by Lord Monckton. Here supporters of Gillard’s futile carbon tax threw themselves with vigour at Monckton and his supporters. From being gassed to being tattooed for their disagreement – no metaphor was able to escape the 140 character limit of twitter. In fact many found the ‘kooky’ appearance of Monckton to be hilarious – of course, that his appearance is the result of a medical condition matters little – Grave’s Disease, for what it’s worth.

Of course at any event there will be hangers on for whom a protest becomes an easy way to lasso a little bit of political spotlight. Those who attend with “politically incorrect” signs are quickly sought out by the media and “twitpicd” with the end goal being a couple of retweets to feed the ever burgeoning journalist ego. What is the coming together of any amount of people in democratic ability is quickly admonished as a tribal arrangement of crazies hell bent on destroying everything good about Australian society.

Of course, the same journalists and left wing aficionados disparaging the ‘no carbon tax’ rallies and ‘convoy of no confidence’ are somewhat less open to the idea of their own protests containing extremist elements. Of course, that many of the gay marriage events are organized by those within the various anti-Semitic Socialist groupings means nothing. Of course, that these same groups have as their heroes such humanitarians as Lenin and Stalin rarely rates a mention. Of course not, they did so much good – those who suffered in gulags under their regimes have been conveniently forgotten, sadly.

At the most recent “Equal Love” protest rally in Brisbane an anti-protester was assaulted with glitter, this wasn’t reported anywhere in the news. That after the event a person was so proud of their actions they uploaded this status on the Equal Love Brisbane Facebook group “I THREW GLITTER IN HIS FACE! FEEL THE RAINBOW, SILLY BIGOTS!” is a rather poor indictment on what is supposedly a peaceful rally. That this status still appears on the Facebook group at all shows the rather poor standards set by the organisers of these events. Gay marriage

Of course, Gay Marriage has the support of Get-Up and in the process, it has twibbons and petitions – so of course everything is fine – no scrutiny needed. The media elites in Australia seem to view the political process through their own left-wing tinted spectacles, which can only seem to find fault and extremism at conservative rallies. The sad part is that a strong democracy demands a strong media presence to hold the government (and opposition) to account. That the media selectively decide which protests to deem credible and which to deem as kooky and extremist is a sad indictment on what democracy should truly be about.

Nick Sowden describes himself to Menzies House as a "one time twitter twit, some time student, long time homocon."

Conservatives should Promote not Protest Gay Marriage

Nick-Sowden

Nick Sowden argues that conservatives who value marriage ought embrace same-sex marriage: 

Recently New York became the sixth State(not including Washington DC) in the United States to pass laws recognising Same-Sex Marriage. This produced the rather flamboyant celebrations from those who support it, and the more rather desperate arguments from those who oppose – the ubiquitous “one step away from marrying dogs, the earth will split in two, think of the children, etc.” In Australia it has again sparked debate encouraged further by the Western Australian and Queensland divisions of the Labor Party voting to support Same-Sex marriage.

I should from the outset note that I am of the opinion that Government should have nothing to do with marriage at all. Marriage should exist purely as a contract between two consenting parties without the interference of the State. Whether parties wish to include God (or any other Religious entity) in their marriage service or contract should be a standalone decision undertaken in discussion with the relevant religious body. Unfortunately, this position is not likely to ever feature in a Liberal Party manifesto, and as such realities must be dealt with. I have previously written about the deregulation of Marriage here: http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/41158.html but will focus now on the (big-C) Conservative nature of same-sex marriage.

The reality is that in 2009 the Australian Government in response to the Australian Human Rights Commission’s report, Same-Sex: Same Entitlements and an audit of Commonwealth legislation, introduced reforms to remove discrimination to enable same-sex couples and their children to be recognised by Commonwealth law. The reforms aim to “ensure that same-sex couples and their families are recognised and have the same entitlements as opposite-sex de facto couples.  These reforms amended 85 Commonwealth laws to eliminate discrimination against same‑sex couples and their children in a wide range of areas, including social security, taxation, Medicare, veteran’s affairs, workers’ compensation, educational assistance, superannuation, family law and child support.”

It is difficult to think that if the Liberal party finds itself in Government in the future, it would be able to overturn these reforms, both through their lack of numbers in the senate, and through the poor response they would receive from the public for such a callous and vindictive undertaking. So if the Liberal Party is to then deal with the reality of same-sex couples living together as de-facto relations and receiving the same recognition that heterosexual couples receive on this basis, then it follows naturally that they should be encouraged to formalise their relationship in the same way as heterosexual couples are able to.

It is often a common occurrence for conservatives to argue with vigour the importance of marriage as an institution within our society – and with the exception of state involvement I tend to agree with them. It is important for many couples to receive formal recognition of their relationship with the support of their families and peers. If we are to include same-sex couples within our society, then we must also admit them to our institutions.  Conservatives cannot argue that an institution benefits society and encourage the inherent moral value of participating in this institution only to deny it to a certain group of citizens they deem unworthy of involvement.

Further to this point, Conservatives tend to also suggest that marriage provides a more formal start to a relationship which is soon to involve children (the – “think of the children” argument) – once again, I find myself agreeing. It is important to realise (if for nothing other than the alleviation of ignorance) that many same-sex couples have children AND provide for these children in a safe and controlled family setting. Whether or not you agree with this family structure, if we are to indeed “think of the children” then we must do so away free from ignorance. If children are truly benefitted by heterosexual marriage, then children of homosexual parents would be equally benefitted by same-sex marriage.

The benefits from a conservative point of view of accepting same-sex couples into the wondrous world of marriage seem endless, and the drawbacks seem insignificant – especially when we start thinking of the children! However, I understand that many people do feel strongly about the word marriage and believe it be defined purely for heterosexual relationships. Whilst I disagree with this point, I do think that the Liberal party should attempt to compromise and aim to be as inclusive as possible.

Those who argue against same-sex marriage tend to do so with the aim of “protecting” marriage. If marriage is truly a Conservative institution, with the numerous benefits espoused by those aforementioned, then these benefits should be encouraged to spread throughout society. If Marriage is as worthy as those who support it say it is, then it shouldn’t be protected, it should be promoted – to as large an audience as possible, and for as many as are willing to participate.

 

Nick Sowden describes himself to Menzies House as a "one time twitter twit, some time student, long time homocon."

Green Medicine and the Politics of Public Health

Nick-SowdenNick Sowden discusses the relationship between "public health" and the green-left desire for overregulation:

This morning I was casually checking my email when I came across an interesting little number forwarded on for the group ‘Doctors for the Environment’. It was sent endorsing the Doctors for the Environment’s rather modernly clichéd Student Conference entitled ‘iDEA’(yes, small ‘i’ and all). I was somewhat curious as to what this conference would involve and so decided to click on the PDF attachment. What sprung to life on my iPAD (wait, now I get it) was a bright green poster with the names of a few speakers.

Greens Senator Christine Milne will be in attendance, so will Dr Linda Selvey, the CEO of Greenpeace Aus-Pac and a Public Health Physician. Joining them is Dr. Richard Deniss, Director of the progressive think tank – the Australia Institute who is described as “an economist with a particular interest in the role of regulation,” who “has also worked as Strategy Adviser to the Leader of the Australian Greens, Senator Bob Brown.” Also there to spruik the environment to young doctors is Professor Garry Egger the author of Planet Obesity: How we're eating ourselves and the planet to death, in which he “links obesity with consumerism and climate change.” Rounding off this list of speakers is Dr Merryn Redenbach, who is a Paediatric registrar and Sea Shepherd ship’s doctor.

Unsurprisingly this hardly made me want to attend this event; however it did demonstrate rather elegantly the link between the left-green movement and Public Health nationally. Whenever there is regulation to be introduced to save us from ourselves, look no further than the Greens. It is hardly surprising that in a country which clings so helplessly to its public hospital systems, the ‘cost’ of public health is often debated. Indeed, the supposed idea of equality of health care works two fold, first to allow access to all, second to increasingly control what people can and cannot do – all in the name of health care.

It is actually a rather ingenious platform for the Greens to take in order to sell us increased taxes and regulation.  Trying to flesh out an argument for action on climate change, in the form of increased taxation, through the incredibly tenuous link of public healthcare is commendable, merely for its element of ridiculousness. Of course, the fact that our hospital system would become even more expensive to run and administer as a direct result of a carbon tax doesn’t raise a mention. If we fix the planet’s health, we will fix our own health or something like that.

This isn’t the first time that the Green movement has tried to link increased taxes to benefits in the medical system.  The Business Spectator article “PM stands firm on corporate tax cut” published on the 29th of March 2011, reports:

Senator Brown says the major mining companies and the big four banks will be the biggest beneficiaries of the proposed corporate tax reduction, and that it could be better spent on such things as help for small business, health and aged care.

He also said the corporate tax cut would strip $18.7 billion over the forward estimates from taxpayers, who could benefit from better health, transport and other services.

Indeed, evoking healthcare in an effort to sell taxes largely to raise revenue and a feel good environmental inner warmness is a strand of politics which should be expected to be further seen in the future.

Another example of the Greens’ ‘public health via regulation’ policy was their attempt at the last election to introduce another tax hike through the introduction of “a 1.5 per cent levy on junk food and alcohol advertising.” Whilst at the same time indicating their thoughts that Australians really are idiots by, “calling for 'traffic light' labeling so shoppers can select foods based on green labels for healthy, amber for caution and red for unhealthy.” Selling this policy at the last election was yet another Public Health Physician Dr. Richard Di Natale, Senator elect for Victoria. If only this system was around earlier today, I really could have used those red light warnings when I purchased a double down thinking it would be good for me. Alas, I hope I don’t make that mistake again tomorrow (note: I will).

Public health care is seen by many as the best way in dealing with our society’s health. However, public health is becoming increasingly more and more about interference in people’s lives, and less about engagement and empowerment with the public about their health. Rather than allowing people to make the best decisions for them, we are now subject to increasingly shrill calls to increase taxes on undesirable items such as alcohol and cigarettes. To ban advertising of food which dieticians declare as disgusting and overindulgent and to moralize on what we should and should not be and do as individuals. The movement of Green Medicine in this country is well underway and public health, through its dictate and regulate policy is a large part of this.

I won’t be attending the aforementioned conference, but for three more weeks I will be overindulging in that disgustingly capitalist, artery clogging, hospital bed destroying and all round freedom loving monstrosity, the double down. Take THAT public health! 

Nick Sowden describes himself to Menzies House as a "one time twitter twit, some time student, long time homocon."

The Partisan Hacks at JJJ’s Hack

Nick-SowdenNick Sowden discusses the poor reporting of the anti-tax movement on the taxpayer funded JJJ show "Hack":

As a young person interested in new music, I regularly listen to Triple J and feel it fills an important role for both young people as well as engaging the Australian music industry. Unfortunately however, its news and current affair show – “Hack” leaves an awful lot to be desired. This afternoon I was gob smacked by the not only biased nature of its reporting, but also its lack of questioning of the young pro-carbon tax interviewee.

The report stated innocently enough with fairly balanced coverage of the No Carbon Tax Rally in Canberra – even if it did overstate the presence of certain signs. Most of the younger people who the Hack team spoke to, whilst not necessarily being well-spoken, managed to get their views across without allowing the left an opportunity to screech “sexist, racist or homophobic” – which they are prone to do.

Enter the National Director of the Australian Youth Climate Coalition, Ellen Sandell, who unsurprisingly has been involved in both student politics – as Environment Officer at the University of Melbourne Student Union. As well as having worked, “as a Policy Adviser in the Office of Climate Change in the Victorian Department of Premier and Cabinet” presumably for the Brumby government (however this is conveniently left off the website).

The first question to Ms. Sandell by Hack host Tom Tilley was what initially made me question this report, he asked “What did you make of that kinda crazy sounding protest?” That’s right, a kinda crazy sounding protest. I’m not sure what about the No Carbon Tax Rally sounded kinda crazy, apart from it being anti-tax and mostly conservative in nature. I wonder how often Hack describes Gay Marriage rallies as ‘kinda crazy’? Indeed, it seems that a protest is only crazy if it involves conservatives.

To this already loaded question Ms. Sandell began with “Well I think, as we all know, the Average age was about 65.” Now, I’m not sure how she knew this, (does she possess some magical power where she knows everyone’s age?) nor do I see how this is relevant at all. Since when does age exclude from democratic ability? The only difference between a youth protest for a carbon tax, and a (supposedly) older person’s protest against a tax is around forty plus years of life experience, hard work and taxes. I know which protest I respect more.

When asked what she thought of Coalition politicians being involved in the rally she replied rather abstractly, “Some of the slogans were pretty offensive, comparing Julia Gillard to Hitler, and there were some anti-Semitic groups in the audience.” This is when you would expect the host to press her as to what proof she had of these signs and which anti-Semitic groups were in attendance. Instead he rather nonchalantly asked, “What’s that got to do with it? What were the anti-Semitic groups doing there?” To which Ms. Sandell retorted “I don’t know, you’d have to ask them,” and then “It’s not representative of the views of the broader community.”

Through a basic search I was unable to find any reference in any news story which referenced these signs which compared Julia Gillard to Hitler. I did find reports of signs which purported Gillard to be a frump, a witch and Bob Brown’s bitch, however whilst these signs use poor language and are in bad taste, I don’t believe that Abbott should be forced to apologise for their existence. I am confident that if there was indeed a sign that compared Gillard to Hitler we would have heard about it in the mainstream media, there is no way they would let an opportunity like that slip away.

Whilst I understand that the No Carbon Tax rally was attended by the anti-Semitic Australian League of Rights, you cannot prevent organizations from turning up and expressing their views. In fact, if you have ever attended any Marriage Equality or Environmental protests you would undoubtedly find also in attendance any number of anti-Semitic Socialist organizations such as the Socialist Alternative. Indeed, known organizers of Equal Love – the group which organizes numerous Gay Marriage protests (some of which I have attended) are members of this organization. Whilst I am not implying these organizers are necessarily anti-Semitic personally, they are part of an organization which is notorious for its anti-Semitic preachings. The media however fails to point this out when discussing more ‘progressive’ protests.

The most incredulous part of the interview however, was when Ms. Sandell was questioned on whether she thought Julia Gillard had back flipped on her plan to price carbon. She replied, “I think it was pretty clear that she went to the election saying she was going to put a price on pollution.”  “It was pretty clear what her position was before the election.”

I will give credit where credit is due, how she managed to get all that out without breaking into hysterics is beyond me. I think it is perfectly clear what Gillard’s plan was, she supported the initiation of a Citizens assembly, and promised to not introduce a carbon tax.

The ABC reported on Friday July 23rd, 2010 that:

Prime Minister Julia Gillard faced a small but vocal group of protesters as she launched Labor's climate change policy at the University of Queensland in Brisbane this morning.

The centrepiece of Labor's plan is a so-called "citizens' assembly" which would gather together volunteers to sound out public support for a price on carbon.

The assembly would be made up of up to 200 volunteers and would work alongside a group of scientists appointed by the government to advise it on climate change.

This hardly seems like it was clear that the prime minister was going to put a price on carbon, in fact the only mention of putting a price on carbon, is in the context of the now infamous Citizens Assembly sounding out public support for said price. Indeed, on the 16th of August 2010 Julia Gillard even stated that, ‘’There will be no carbon tax under the government I lead.” It is obvious following this blatant disregard of honesty that even without the Citizens Assembly, public support for putting a price on carbon is at an all time low.

The Australian Youth Climate Coalition is an organization filled with grandiose ideas about saving the planet, one tax at a time. It is unfortunate however that their representative to the media happens to make things up as she goes, without any reference to reality. Young people aren’t stupid, they understand the consequences of this tax, and no amount of fear mongering from this organization will prevent that. 

The media has an incredibly important role to play in our democracy, and media reporting should be balanced and not exaggerated in order to find a snappy headline. As a government funded part of the ABC , Triple J has a role for the youth of Australia and it needs to fill this role adequately  to maintain credibility. However, when its current affairs segment descends into biased reporting, a lack of fact checking and inability to question guests properly, one has to question its effectiveness as a current affairs broadcaster.  

Link to JJJ Hack podcast: http://www.abc.net.au/triplej/hack/podcast/

 

Nick Sowden describes himself to Menzies House as a "one time twitter twit, some time student, long time homocon."

Carbon Tax! What is it good for? Absolutely Nothing!

Nick-SowdenThe proposed carbon tax has no clear purpose, writes Nick Sowden.

Whenever a government introduces a reform or new policy, that policy should always have a purpose. It should have a goal that can be achieved, which is more than reform for the sake of reform. However, this is certainly not the truth behind Labor’s latest tax, that on Carbon – or to steal a line from Tony Abbott, a “great, big, new tax on everything.”

The purpose of the carbon tax and the proposed subsequent move to an Emissions Trading Scheme is to stop climate change – the greatest moral challenge of our generation – supposedly. However, those with enough time to stop and think about this grandiose purpose, often end up questioning the logic behind this tax.

For a start, let’s use logic to show the Carbon Tax as illegitimate, pretend for a minute that you are a warmist, and believe in the myriad of climate science unquestioningly. You would believe that, A) Climate change has been caused by global carbon emissions and B) That there is a direct link between increasing carbon emissions and climate change. If you follow A and B, then you would accept that the only way to stop climate change is to decrease global emissions, to the point of zero net carbon emissions.

If we apply the aforementioned logic to Gillard’s Carbon Tax, then some flaws become obvious. The policy is meant to reduce carbon emissions by a mere five percent by 2020. If you take that Australia produces between one and two percent of global emissions, this would mean that globally we would have reduced global emissions by between 0.05 and 0.1 percent. That figure is also calculated based on Australia remaining at that same percentage of global emissions over the next nine years. However, with both China and India (amongst other industrializing countries) emitting increasing amounts of carbon this seems unlikely. This means that this carbon tax will have a negligible effect on the global amount of carbon emissions – and therefore a negligible effect on Climate Change.

Secondly, the Gillard government has said repeatedly that people will be compensated for the initial loss they may suffer through this tax. What makes little sense is to apply a tax hoping for an outcome only to give that money back to people in order to stem the political tide. This policy is a taxation merry-go-round with the added bonus of a bureaucratic black hole smack bang in the middle of it.

So then, will this tax cure climate change? No.

Will this tax reduce global emissions? Not likely.

Will this tax reduce Australia’s emissions? Possibly.

Will this tax be seen by Australians as the Greens’ influence on Gillard’s government? Probably.

Will this tax cause every single person in Australia to be worse off? Yes.

Is this tax here to fill up the budget coffers for the 2012-13 budget? Most definitely!

Earlier in this piece I argued that every policy should come with a purpose, it should have a stated goal which is achievable and worthwhile. This policy’s only real objective is to allow the Labor Government yet another tax in which to further burden the Australian people.

So then to mend my initial question, Carbon Tax, what is it good for? Only Labor. 

Nick Sowden describes himself to Menzies House as a "one time twitter twit, some time student, long time homocon."

The Art of Character Assassination

Nick-Sowden Nick Sowden discusses the vitriol and smear tactics used by the radical left

Character assassination is alive and well from the left within political discourse, indeed they have been self inducing minor aneurysms in themselves through their constant shrieking when it comes to anything Tony Abbott related. The most recent examples of this are not only his opposition to the Flood Levy but also his asking for donations in order to do this, and the disgustingly out of context case of ‘Shit Happens’. Conversely, it is not only recently that the left have been attempting to assassinate Tony Abbott’s character, for many years now the left have been willing to tell anyone and everyone that he is  unintelligent,  a poor politician and anti-gay, anti-women, in fact just about anti any noun that will suit their cause.

The left’s narrow focus on Abbott isn’t too dissimilar to the American left’s paroxysms when it comes to anything mildly approaching Sarah Palin. Both politicians are under extreme attacks on their character from the left, and these attacks are not only becoming increasingly shrill and untrue, but more and more disgusting and confused in their content and execution.

For a long time now the left have sought to paint Tony Abbott as some kind of reactionary missionary set out to instill his values onto the community with as much force as possible. The use of the rather vulgar un-PC nickname, “The Mad Monk” only seeks to underpin this. In fact any feminist worth their gender studies PhD will scarily shriek “Keep you rosaries off my ovaries” as if this regurgitation of one-time wit underscores their very being. Whilst Gillard may herself be an atheist she hasn’t exactly sought to step away from the more conservative Rudd (who used to do press reports in front of his church) and maintains that she herself is opposed to gay marriage and is wisely leaving abortion law to the states. I wonder when the left will call Ms Gillard anti-women and anti-gay.

The more laughable comment which is bandied about by the left is their commentary of Abbott as unintelligent and a poor politician. This is obviously a rather ridiculous point, as I am yet to meet a Rhodes Scholar who could not summon some ounce of intelligence; perhaps I overestimate the difficulty of going to Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar and completing an MA. Further to this, Tony Abbott’s performance since becoming leader of the opposition is nothing short of remarkable. In late 2009 all the talk in conservative circles was about holding on to whichever marginal seats they could, some were supposing that up to 20 seats would be lost. Fast forward nine months and he had already taken out one Prime Minister – with some help from the incoming Prime Minister, whom Abbott was only barely unable to knock over for an historic victory. In fact, the Liberal party remain in a position merely one by-election away from government. This is a striking comparison to the state of the party before Abbott, and also a striking blow against the left’s caricature of Abbott as a poor politician.

Both of these aforementioned points can be developed in the American context when it comes to Sarah Palin, who is often called out as both anti-gay and anti-women, for no other reason than her being a part of the Republican Party and her stances in regards to gay marriage and abortion, often induce the worst hyperbole from the left. However, Palin's first veto as Governor of Alaska was used to block a bill that would've barred same-sex partners from receiving state employee benefits under grounds of the constitutionality of the measure, hardly anti-gay.

Palin is also often laughed at for her folksy accent and simple (lack of Ivy League) education and derided as an idiot – however her hard work and determination have allowed her to move through the political system and attain a large and varied group of followers. She retains such a following that she is now seen as a threat not only in the Republican primaries coming up, but also for the Presidency itself. Not too shabby for a supposed idiot with little grasp on politics.

Recently in Australian politics attacks on Abbott have become increasingly shrill, indeed only recently the left decided to go all out on Abbott after an email surfaced showing the Party had called for donations to fight the Flood tax. Their rhetoric became so uniformed that at one stage left wing bloggers were actually trying to pass this off as Abbott diverting funds from flood relief to the Liberal Party coffers. Apart from this being untrue, there should be no problem with the liberal party accepting donations from individuals at their choosing. I am unsure if there are any Unions that have stopped donating to the Labor party and have instead put this money towards Flood Relief, but I wouldn’t be holding my breath on that point.

Perhaps the most vicious attack to come from the left however, was that against Sarah Palin following the Tucson tragedy. It seemed that as soon as news of this event had become available, the internet was full of accusations against Sarah Palin and her ‘wild rhetoric’. Those now infamous cross-hairs posters whose origins  are actually rather old, and have been used by both sides of American politics in the past, coupled with her using the phrase, “Don’t retreat, reload,” made her scapegoat number one by any number of disgusting news reports. It didn’t matter that President Obama himself had once said, “If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun,” what mattered in this instance was that this tragedy become intrinsically linked to Sarah Palin, and that it was her fault that rhetoric and the politics in that country had become the way it had.

The recent ‘Shit Happens’ moment from Tony Abbott and the disgusting way that Channel 7 reporter Mark Riley used this to score cheap political points is perhaps one of the more disgusting gutter driven reports in  Australia’s political history. Not only did Riley go out of his way to embarrass Abbott, he also managed to take the quote out of context, delete the soldier who had agreed with Abbott, as well as insensitively ensuring that this man’s death would once again become a political issue. The lack of empathy shown to his widow shows an atrocious lack of journalistic ethics for which Riley should be condemned. Nevertheless, the left on the internet decided to use this for their own means by insinuating that it was Abbott himself who had decided to drag the poor man’s widow through the political news cycle, and that Abbott was entirely at fault for this. The fact that Abbott immediately called her to apologise and talk through what had happened shows an element of class missing in politics today.

The left are incredibly quick to not only ridicule and condemn behavior they do not like, however when a politician looks like becoming a threat, they are all too ready to assassinate their character in any way possible. The current vitriol directed at Tony Abbott merely for his personal views and for being a conviction politician is as unfair as it is disgusting. Indeed, I long for the time when this country may once again have a leader who believes in the policies of their party, will show political courage on any number of issues, and will not be afraid to speak up for what they believe in. Until then, we will continue to be plagued by any number of faux-leaders intent on following the spin and poll-driven political approach mastered by labor state governments to the detriment of their populace. 

Nick Sowden describes himself to Menzies House as a "one time twitter twit, some time student, long time homocon."

Why Nick Sowden Should NOT Have Been Expelled From The LNP

Tim-AndrewsExpelling Nick Sowden from the Liberal National Party sets a very dangerous precdent, writes Tim Andrews

It would be fair to say that after Nick Sowden was expelled
from the Liberal Party and I posted a rather spirited
defense of him in my personal blog
, I received a flurry of emails by
persons wondering why on earth I would
do such a thing. After all, the political history between me and Mr. Sowden
would be described as bitterly acrimonious at best. What’s more, he is a
self-proclaimed moderate, something I feel is a scourge upon the Liberal Party.
He attacked the Tea Party movement in the United States (of which I am a part). Together with a few other malcontents, in the University of
Queensland Student Union elections he worked with the Labor club against the
Liberal ticket. And his personality and approach to politics is the polar
opposite to mine.

Yet I stand by my previous comments. As much as I may differ
with him personally, I strongly believe that he should not have been expelled from the Liberal National Party over this,
and that a very damaging precedent that has been set. And, rather than this being something to laugh about, this is a very, very important issue. Because principle should
triumph over personality.

I say this for two main reasons. Firstly, because
this will open up the floodgates where every joke, every comment will become
fair game, and secondly, because of the principle of party loyalty.

Before I explain, however, I wish to make one thing absolutely,
totally, and abundantly clear: I do not
believe Mr. Sowden is a racist, and I am 100% convinced that his explanation
of parody
is genuine. I say this for a very simple reason: I have followed
Mr. Sowden on Twitter for a very long period of time now, and I know his style
of putting on act of being an extremist to try to troll for responses. As I
stated on my personal blog, we are talking about someone who tries to provoke
people by condemning all gays to the fires of hell on Twitter, when he himself
is out of the closet. We are talking about your classic internet troll.

Now, is he an idiot for doing this? Yes. Is he a jerk? Yes.
No doubt whatsoever. And I have never seen how such trolling can be funny. But
be that as it may, anyone and everyone who knows Mr. Sowden knows that his
tweets, whilst stupid, were not a reflection of his views, and that he is most defiantly
not racist.

With that in mind, therefore, in succumbing to the howls of
outrage from the press gallery, and expelling Nick, what has the LNP done.

Firstly, it has sent a message that even if you have worked
for the party for many years, served it, expressed loyalty to it, that at the
first sign of trouble, the party will simply cut you loose and throw you to the
hounds. This is not how parties are meant to work. In Australia, we have a
system, for better or for worse, based upon party loyalty. On one hand, party
members are expected to support their party, and not attack it in public
(although of course are allowed to disagree on issues). Yet the corollary of
this is that a party is expected to remain loyal to its members. And when
unsubstantiated charges are made, the party should defend its members. And if a
party no longer shows loyalty to its members, then members will no longer show
the party any loyalty in return. And this is something that will have serious
ramifications. After all, why should I be loyal to a party if it will not be
loyal to me?

Secondly, however, this has now opened political parties up to
Mutually Assured Destruction. And I say this quite seriously. All of us have at
some point said or done something stupid. We have all made a joke on Twitter
that, taken out of context, could land us in deep, deep trouble. Up until now, there has been an unwritten code that
we will not go after members of the opposite party for such things. Sure, it’s
been breached a little here and there, but, for the most part, what happens
online, stays online. What is clearly a joke, shall stay a joke. Because once
we open the floodgates up so that every joke taken out of context becomes fair
game, it is a very, very rapid decline into a situation where everyone’s
private jokes get spread throughout the media, and no-one is safe. Had the LNP
not expelled Nick, this could have been avoided. Now, however, a precedent has
been set: you can destroy someone’s career (and indeed life) by taking 140
characters of theirs out of context, and using it to mount an attack. And this
is not a good thing, and shall lead
to only the most dull, the most bland, the most devoid of personality continuing
in politics.

Some have told me “yeah, but look, he was going to be
expelled anyway (for reasons I shall not get into), this was just an excuse”.
Sure. I accept he was most probably going to be expelled anyway, and, knowing
the circumstances, I probably would have rejoiced at the prospect. But the problem
is, he was not expelled for any of the deserved reasons. Rather, he was
expelled for an out-of-context parody. And this is the message that has been
sent – that if a silly comment you make gets reported, you’ll be cut loose. And
I find that deeply problematic, a fact only compounded by the complete lack of
due process, and by the fact he was not even given the opportunity to mount a
defense. Precedent and messaging matter.

So, to conclude, all can say is, yes, Mr. Sowden is an idiot. I
will certainly not dispute that. But if political parties start expelling all
members who are idiots, then, very shortly, they will find they have no members
left. The actions of the LNP were not only foolish and unfair, when it comes to
the precedent they set, they were downright dangerous.

 (Tim Andrews is an Editor and Co-Founder of Menzies House. His personal blog may be found at insidethemindoftim.wordpress.com)

Nick Sowden Speaks Out

Nick-Sowden Nick Sowden speaks out, following his expulsion from the Liberal National Party for allegedly racist  tweets.

First off, can I just say comprehensively that I am not a racist person, I believe in equality through freedom and believe that every person is equal. I am involved with the Griffith Rural Health Club – Hope for Health. We are involved in international health through fundraising for an Aids clinic in Fiji, as well as our work building a hospital in Ghana. We are also actively involved in primary health care in Indigenous areas such as Cherbourg, and maintain strong links with these communities. I plan to one day work within the rural and indigenous health profession, this is something that I am passionate about achieving.

The time and effort I put into this club alone demonstrates that I am not a racist person, my views on both immigration and refugees stem from a long held belief that immigration is the backbone of this country, and that refugees work hard to get to this country and would work even harder once they are here. I know that the work I DO, is much more worthwhile than the veil of political correctness that those hiding behind their blogs will ever achieve to end disadvantage. That is the sad part about all this.

My twitter comments are meant to come across as facetious, as a joke on the Crazy right wing, fox news, tea party type goings on at the present. This is the type of thing that these people would say, and those who know this realize what is going on. It is a bit sad that people have jumped on comments, taken out of context, from a person with no real political or social standing, and for some reason are claiming things about me as a person, that in real life they cannot justify.

I am also a little disappointed that I have not been contacted by the Courier Mail, nor the Brisbane Times for comment. I have spoken to various other journalists, who have been able to understand a little more thoroughly what is going on. I am not a UQ med student, and to quote the President of the Young Liberal National Party, and not check his supposed facts is a little sad.

I do not at this point know what the LNP plan to do with this, I have not heard anything. I am a moderate, I have differing views on many issues that conform more to the left than the right, such as gay marriage, surrogacy laws and abortion reform. I hope the LNP do not see this as a political opportunity to throw out a moderate, and think that if they do, then it shows the further narrowing of the political party’s spectrum. I obviously plan to talk with whoever is concerned, and let them know the work I do, and the things I do to end disadvantage in indigenous and international health.

I would further like to address the comments from the current Young Liberal National President Rod Schneider who has made sweeping statements, which he knows nothing about and has only made himself look to lack judgment. I was once a member of the Democrats, but I never held an executive position of any kind and was certainly never the President of the Young Democrats. I enjoyed my time in the democrats, and many of my current views stem from this time. I was not expelled from the UQ Liberal Club, I was threatened with it, however that motion to expel was later withdrawn. I did not join the UQLC this year owing to differences I have with the current executive. I also did not run to Young Labor as he suggests, myself and a few other liberals made a broad coalition (not unlike what happens ar other universities) with a couple of other factions and ran a ticket in the student elections. Our ticket actually had more members of the LNP than the other supposedly liberal ticket did. It is a shame that Rod has chosen to play politics with an issue that he certainly known very little about, I would hope that the Liberal National Party acts to include diversity and not to exclude it.

I hope that people look past the veil of political correctness we see, and rather judge a person on their merits and what they do as opposed to what they can say in 140 characters.


(Editor's Note: Nick Sowden has informed Menzies House that since writing this article, he has been expelled from the LNP, and wishes to note that he was not contacted by anyone in either the LNP or the YLNP prior to this expulsion. Furthermore, the Editors wish to stress that, as per every article published on this website, this piece does not necessarily represent the views of Menzies House, nor is its publication intended in any way, shape, or form, to be construed as an endorsement of Nick Sowden, his comments, or his position)

Tony Abbott – Not Homophobic Just Honest

Nick-Sowden Tony Abbott is no homophobe, writes Nick Sowden.

It’s a rare thing in politics when a politician speaks openly and honestly in response to a question, it’s even rarer that a politician is maligned for his honesty. However, for Tony Abbott this has occurred twice in the early months of 2010.

It occurred first in response to what he would tell his daughters if they asked about sexual intercourse and virginity – “it is the greatest gift that you can give someone, the ultimate gift of giving, and don't give it to someone lightly.” This response which although rather more articulate than many other Australian fathers, was representative of what many fathers and indeed mothers would say to their children.

His honesty has again caused controversy in the media with his comments that he “feels a bit threatened” by homosexuality and that it (homosexuality) “challenges, if you like, orthodox notions of the right order of things." These comments have caused the media to go into overdrive about Abbott’s supposed homophobia. Personally, I didn’t find the comments to be offensive or homophobic at all, and I wonder what many Labor politicians would have said, especially those from rural mining areas, or those with pasts in trade unions.

It also led to outrage from many gay rights groups, with some atrociously linking his comments to teen suicide. On a local level, it prompted many of my Facebook friends to quite viciously attack Mr. Abbott with one friend even hoping that he ‘got cancer.’ It seems that whilst the LBGT community expects acceptance from society, they are less willing to show that same acceptance of difference.

As an openly gay member of the Liberal party I felt that it would be worthwhile for me to defend Mr. Abbott and show that whilst he was honest, he most definitely was not homophobic. Tony Abbott spoke truthfully on a subject that represented where he was from, and who he represented. It also showed openness on a subject that we rarely see from parliamentarians in this country.

As someone who grew up in a semi-rural town, it is quite safe to say that Mr. Abbott’s views on homosexuality are much more liberal than those of many other Australians. There would be few middle aged men in this country who would have answered differently, in fact most would have answered with either profanity or offensive terms likely to cause some self righteous gay to launch a law suit of some kind. In fact, I would say that if you separated away those middle aged men who wear makeup, and those who wear Birkenstocks the rest would answer the same question in a very similar way.

I personally met Tony Abbott in 2008 at a conference where he spoke about the importance of the Monarchy in Australia’s history – or something like that. I was quite fresh to the Liberal party at this stage and interested in hearing and meeting the man who was supposedly anti-women, anti-gay and a bastion of conservatism in Australia. He spoke incredibly well and with an intellect and intelligence not normally seen in Australian politics. Afterwards I waited around with some friends and met him briefly. To my surprise and relief he did not smite me nor did he tell me I was going to hell but politely introduced himself and spoke to us briefly.

Whilst it was unlikely he knew I was a homosexual at the time, I doubt it would have changed anything. Tony Abbott is like any Liberal, he believes in first judging the person as an individual, not part of a collective based on job, education, sex or sexuality.

To finish off, I thought I might add a couple more reasons why Tony Abbott isn’t homophobic at all:

  1. He seems to have a penchant for small swimming costumes and hanging around with others in similar clothes as evidenced by this picture, which would not be out of place at Mardi Gras – http://www.twitpic.com/10ozhn
  2. Tony Abbott is (supposedly) anti-women, gay men are also anti-women, it’s why we’re gay.
  3. Tony Abbott is a Monarchist, so he obviously loves a good Queen.

All jokes aside though, I would encourage conservative politicians to further their understanding of minority groups and to look for acceptance based around policy and not sex or sexuality. In fact, that would be a good rule for the media as well.

And my message to Tony Abbott? I’ll be out this weekend in Brisbane, and if he’s willing I’m more than able to catch up for a drink at the Wickham or the Beat.  

Nick Sowden is a second year medical student at Griffith university and has completed a BA at UQ majoring in maths and sports studies. He is the secretary of the Griffith Rural Health Club – Hope4Health.