Gay marriage:

Greg Williams writes: Re. “Gay marriage: Gillard deploys her troops for the wrong battle” (yesterday, item 1). Bernard Keane wrote: “Polls consistently show strong voter support for the right of same-s-x couples to marry.”

Without getting into the ins and outs of the debate, Bernard’s reference to “strong voter support” is perhaps something of a misstatement. More likely it seems to very much depend upon who is conducting the poll as to the outcome.

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I recall federal politicians earlier this year being charged with sounding out their electorates on their attitude to the issue, and of the grand total of 30-or-so pollies who reported back, the majority of electorates were opposed, some “dramatically opposed”, notwithstanding the reported efforts of GetUp! to skew the results in some instances.

Truth of the matter would seem to be: those directly affected are stridently in favour, to probably the same extent as the Christian Right are stridently opposed. But the bulk of the electorate seems to regard the issue as a big yawn and either just doesn’t give a damn, or would prefer to let sleeping dogs lie.

But for Bernard to follow the “strong voter support” line is a little fanciful, given that Mr Google seems to report that for every “survey” reporting support, another can be found reporting the opposite. Stridency does not a majority make, Bernard.

John Richardson writes: Bernard Keane asserts that Julia Gillard’s “personal circumstances are not an appropriate part of the (same-s-x marriage) debate”. Why not, when, as Keane himself points out, the issue of Gillard’s own relationship status is repeatedly raised by voters?

Julia Gillard is not some second-rate media personality, seeking worldwide exposure one moment and the personal convenience of absolute anonymity the next. As Prime Minister, she is public property, whether she likes it or not. That is part of the price of holding the mantle of leadership. Everything that our leaders think, say or do is open to public scrutiny, as are their personal motives, values, judgements and behaviours.

Gillard has chosen to manage the same-s-x marriage issue by trying to avoid it, thereby abrogating her responsibilities as an elected representative of the Australian people. Her personal circumstances highlight the hypocrisy evidenced by her actions and are relevant for that, if no other reason.

Political talent:

Marcus L’Estrange writes: Re. “How much is a good politician worth?” (yesterday, item 3). A good article by Stephen Bartos but just two points.

Surely Senators deserve less than MHRs as their workload is clearly less. Additionally, my understanding is this increase automatically flows on to state MPs.

This would be a tragedy as clearly the “First Eleven” of political talent goes to Canberra. The “Second Eleven” go as their advisers and finally the “Third Eleven” or “dregs” stay  or go into state parliament, which by and large, should be abolished.

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Peter Fray
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