Allan Takes Aim Blog

Inadequacy not inequality causes discrimination

Posted on: 28 March 2012


The Chronicle Canberra. A great Comumnity newspaper published online every Wednesday.

One would think citizens of the Australian Capital Territory, Australia’s national and political capital with its allegedly ‘independent’ parliament, the ACT Legislative Assembly, would be knowledgeable about politics. I say allegedly because the Assembly is really only independent when allowed by the Federal Government.

Like every Australian, ACT citizens are told voting is compulsory so that, independent or not, if a citizen does not exercise their right to vote but later claim the services for which the Assembly is responsible do not meet the standards they expect, it seems not unreasonable to suggest that, in part, this can be attributed to them not voting. The encouragement to vote: avoidance of a fine.

Australia is also a country which, in common with other Western and Christian based cultures, claims to be a democracy. However, in a democracy that considers free speech one of the greatest human rights, the possibility of a fine for not voting seems less than democratic although it is compulsory to attend a voting booth so that you can get your name temporarily crossed off the electoral roll.

If you think that seems strange consider this: a country that coerces its citizens into voting by telling them a lie and imposing a fine if they fail to vote, still claims to be a great democracy. And doesn’t it seem more than passing strange that, midst all the rhetoric published in the press and broadcast by the electronic media about the values of free speech and democracy, that these aspects of the voting process get little media exposure.

Despite my comments not only am I not anti-voting but of the view that the right to vote goes hand in hand with the right to free speech. No, my comments are made to try and encourage people to use both of their great rights by questioning whether or not compulsory voting is anti-democratic

Free speech and the right to vote (the latter also implies that people have the right not to vote) are the two greatest jewels in the jewel box of human rights besides which, the confected rights that some politicians keep trying to shove down peoples’ throats, will be seen for being the meretricious baubles they are which eventually will be dumped in the dustbin reserved for bad political history as so that more time can be given to curing serious social issues.

One of those meretricious baubles is the claim currently being made by some, but not all Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay and Transgender people, that unless they can marry they are being deprived of their right of equality. Unfortunately this claim has gained undeserved prominence in both federal and ACT politics. More unfortunately, the media gives it more attention than it deserves.

The fact is, equality is mother- nature’s gift of an inalienable right to individuals that cannot be taken away nor legislated for. On the other hand marriage is not a right but a custom that has existed for centuries in the form of a union between a man and a woman that has been regularised and legislated for by society in recognition of its many benefits. On the other hand while society has accepted same gender unions it has never recognised them as marriages.

Unfortunately, there are many people who, on the basis of religious belief and for reasons unintelligible to me, describe people of the same sex who wish to marry as being depraved. Just as unfortunate, but equally wrong, is when one of Australia’s most eminent and deservedly respected jurists, Michael Donald Kirby AC. CMG, recently retired from Australia’s highest court, who also enjoys a same sex union, said recently during an interview on ABC Radio National that the former needed educating. Let me say that demeaning their intelligence is unlikely to convert them to his view.

It seems to me also, that because he and many others in same sex unions have climbed and reached the pinnacle of eminence in all walks of life, gives lie to claims of inequality and discrimination, particularly as many people within and without marriage make the same claim. Perhaps the reason is, that in some way both groups are simply inadequate?
dca@netspeed.com.au

This article also at: chronicleonline.com.au

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