On Rundle and the Right

Glen Frost writes: Re. “Rundle: the Right roadkill on the way to a new republic” (yesterday). Why does Guy Rundle attempt to rewrite UK history via Crikey? It seems no one on the full-time Crikey bench has lived there and can edit out the crap. When Rundle writes “Thatcher could get away with a breathtakingly undemocratic act such as abolishing the Greater London Council because the city’s voters had returned a left-wing administration” — he’s wrong. The people of London were fed up with poor management and poor governance by the GLC, and the GLC wasn’t prepared to change,  so Thatcher ditched it. The GLC were their own worst enemy with political infighting and bloated expenses, but the rot started at the top; there was a reason the media dubbed the GLC and their ilk “the looney left” — because they were. Thatcher had many faults, especially towards the end of her time in office, but she was elected, and re-elected as Prime Minister to kick the UK into shape, and everyone who voted for her knew that she wanted rid of the GLC — it wasn’t a “surprise” captain’s pick bullshit reason. Therein lies a lesson for all public sector organisations and political parties.

Les Heimann writes: Guy Rundle’s insightful article expounding on citizens’ rights as an emerging societal norm (the new republic) rings like a bell on ice. We in Australia may embrace the politics of this more quickly than the rest of the right-wing governed democracies around the world, although Greece it seems may have already got there and Israel in a few weeks may be next. Our current Liberal government is overrun by extreme “wannabe” ultra-free market individualists. However, unlike the American Republicans and the Canadian brothers our mob can’t handle it. Why is that? Because Australians are essentially egalitarian; and we like ourselves being just that. I agree with Rundle that unfortunately the Greens may well be the emerging force. Unfortunately because whilst the Australian Labor Party is stuck; both in internal democratisation mode and not tuning in to the vibe around them. The Greens are a tad too unaccommodating. So if faced with actually running something might collapse all in tears and tither. It is just a matter of refusing supply and seeing the Lib’s fade away at an election in say July to then see who cuts the mustard. Australians don’t like extremism.

On same-sex marriage in NSW

Chris O’Regan writes: Re. “Is Luke Foley really in favour of same-sex marriage?” (yesterday). It’s strange that Alex Mitchell calls on NSW Labor to make a “party policy” declaration on same-sex marriage, because they already have. Support of same-sex marriage has been NSW ALP policy since July 2014.  As was noted by Alastair Lawrie, you would expect an NSW political reporter to be across the detail of this issue. Mitchell is also incorrect when he alleges Luke Foley is “ducking the issue” by referring to amendment of the federal marriage act. It is correct that the matter is unfortunately “log-jammed” in the federal parliament, but that can’t be circumvented by states passing their own Marriage Acts — it would be unconstitutional, as it is a matter of settled constitutional law, thanks to the High Court of Australia’s decision in Commonwealth v ACT [2013] HCA 55 that the federal marriage act is “a comprehensive and exhaustive statement of the law of marriage.” In other words, any state act that purported to allow for same-sex marriage in contravention of the federal Marriage Act would be unconstitutional and unenforceable. It is for this reason that the state of Queensland, for example, has provided for “civil unions” rather than marriages for same-sex couples. Same sex marriage in Australia requires amending the federal Marriage Act.

Peter Fray

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