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32Bravo
05-15-2015, 09:44 AM
Caught some of the debates regarding Gay marriage and the coming Irish referendum, on the ‘Daily Politics’ show today. Fascinated, but not altogether surprised, that this would be cause for a national referendum. I must confess it holds more interest for me regarding the potential divisions within the Irish nation that might result from this. As I understand it, the polls are stating 75% for. The strongest argument against, seems to be that a child needs a mam.

http://www.christiantoday.com/article/irelands.same.sex.marriage.referendum.what.you.nee d.to.know/53952.htm

Rising Sun*
05-15-2015, 10:30 AM
I favour gay marriage.

I don't see why they should be free of the misery most of us heterosexuals have to endure. They've had it too easy, for too long. ;) :D

Kilroy
05-15-2015, 01:26 PM
As a Christian I really don't mind it at all, I have several Gay friends and we get along quite well. Thought what I find funny is I rotate around several churches (so things don't get to dull) and yet they all have different opinion on Gays and Gay Marriage. Personally like I said earlier I don't mind it at all, the only thing I will have to say is I will not a minister for any Gay marriage; does this mean I won't go to a Gay marriage? No, I would still go as a visitor. So what I am saying is, I am okay with it as long as I am not directly motivating it but in that case I am indirectly saying its okay. Dose this even make sense?

tankgeezer
05-15-2015, 02:17 PM
Divorce Lawyers everywhere are indeed very hopeful. Equal is equal.

32Bravo
05-16-2015, 04:19 AM
No problem at all with Gay Marriage. I doubt that Christ would have had either. It seems to me Christ was quite a tolerant person. Churches, on the other hand, seem to lack that fundamental quality the Christ is reported to have preached.

If the objection is that 'A child needs a mam!', then, where we have female Gay Marriage, the child might, arguably, have two mammies.

I'm sure that there are more arguments, but that was the one that seemed prevalent on the news story I saw.

What I find intriguing, is the effect a yes vote might have on Ireland and the Roman Catholic church. Would it result in a renewed surge of challenges to the abortion laws, for instance?

JR*
05-19-2015, 07:09 AM
I shall be voting in this Referendum bright and early next Friday morning, on my way in to work.

The reason a referendum is being held is that, although the relevant Article of our written Constitution does not define "marriage", it implicitly relies on the view of marriage traditional from time immemorial (at least that is what the public letter issued to his flock by one influential Roman Catholic bishop). In view of this, it appears that the Attorney General's advice to the Government (such advice is never actually published, but is publicly discussed) advised holding a Referendum, since the alternative was to risk relying on a statute that would be open to challenge in the Courts on Constitutional grounds. Since establishing locus standi to bring such a challenge would be fairly easy under Irish jurisprudence, a challenge to the statute would be virtually certain, potentially giving rise to lengthy legal proceedings capable of going all the way the European Court of Human Rights. Hence - we have a Referendum.

For those of us who have endured a number of referendums on "matters of sexual morality" over the years, this campaign has been interesting. Previous referendums on matters such as divorce and abortion have generally been conducted on a pretty irrational, hysterical (if I may use the term) level, with most of the hysteria coming from the extreme elements on either side (ultra-liberals and socialists on one side; ultra-Roman Catholic groups and the Catholic Hierarchy/priesthood on the other - that is always the way it is. This time, the whole thing has been more level-headed (if not always more rational). It is possible that this is a result of the development and growing influence of the Iona Institute, a Roman Catholic think-tank, in replacement of the more "swivel-eyed loony" groups such as "Youth Defence" that played a major part in previous campaigns. This time, while much of the dubious rationality has still come from the "No" side, the hysteria (such as it has been) has mainly come from elements of the "Yes" side - a bit of a turn-around.

The "Yes" side has relied for the most part on a simple equality argument - that same-sex couples should be afforded equality in marriage rights and obligations just like man-woman couples. What's the problem, they say. The "No" argument is more complex, nuanced and - in its somewhat irrational way - well thought-out and presented; hence the suspicion that the intellectual powerhouse that is the Iona Institute is calling the shots. The main points of their argument may be summarized as follows -

(1) The extension of marriage rights to same-sex couples would undermine the status and nature of marriage in general, for everybody.

(2) It is unnecessary, as Irish law already provides for civil partnership that give same-sex couples who wish to avail of it the same rights as married couples "as near as makes no difference".

(3) Constitutional support for marriage results from a recognition of the institution as basic to maintaining the common good, including the nurture and protection of children. The Referendum proposal, if passed, would deprive children of automatic connection with their biological mothers, which would be contrary to the common good.

(4) The extension of the "right to procreate" (of dubious Constitutional validity, except for the Iona lot) could only be exercised through artificial reproductive technologies (notably surrogacy) which present serious legal, ethical and moral difficulties. The passage of the Referendum proposals would make it impossible for our Parliament in future to legislate against unacceptable reproductive technologies, in particular, in relation to surrogacy, as same-sex couples would have the "right" to procreate, and this could only be done by potentially unconsciencable artificial means.

There are further points - but these are the principal arguments relied upon by the "No" side.

Three points need to be made about these "No" arguments. First, in general, the points advanced regarding the nature of marriage are religion-derived and not particularly rational, however carefully they have been worked out and presented. Secondly, jurisprudence already established rejects the notion that, even for heterosexual couples, our Constitution supports the right to access to any artificial reproductive technology. Thirdly, it is not strictly true that civil partnership provides, effectively, the same rights to same-sex couples as does marriage. It does not (in the view of the Attorney General) provide equal Constitutional protection, and may not be easy to accommodate civil partnerships in the framework proposed to deal with such matters as surrogacy and "modern" adoption.

I suppose it is obvious which way I have decided to vote. Indeed, the arguments advanced by the "No", more than the "Yes" side have helped solidify my views (although, in my case, the "No" side would not like my conclusion.

The strategies of this debate are interesting. The "Yes" side do not feel the need to have one, as far as I can see. The "No" side, realizing that they were batting on the back foot in this case, have tried, not so much to persuade people inclined towards a "Yes" to change to "No", but more to promote confusion and doubt among undecided and "soft" potential "Yes" voters that might persuade them to stay at home, abstaining. Since there is a very hard reactionary vote that can be expected to come out and vote, a low poll (with many "confused" abstaining) could deliver a "No" victory. This strategy seems to be working. Opinion polls over the weekend indicated a strong lead among "decided" voters in favour of "Yes", but, unusually at this stage, an increasing number of the "undecided". Whether the strategy will work in time is debatable. At any rate, in the next few days, we can probably expect the return of "sex referendum hysteria".

Time reveals all. Yours from the Back of Beyond, JR.

32Bravo
05-19-2015, 02:25 PM
That's really very interesting. The 'no' side, presumably led by the RC church, feels threatened. It's difficult to reconcile the sexual abuse scandals which have come to the surface about the world in recent years, with the church holding the moral high-ground and being custodians of the country's moral compass.

aly j
05-21-2015, 08:06 AM
I favour gay marriage.

I don't see why they should be free of the misery most of us heterosexuals have to endure. They've had it too easy, for too long. ;) :D

Hahaha...too Funny.

I don't favour gay marriage. Im not against gays having a love life but marriage consituation was created for man and woman.

I Have two gay cousins, one is my mum's nephew, one is my fathers nephew. shane is seen as the girl with his gay man and my other cousin dean is the cross dresser. Shane is getting married with his man in Hawaii US (next year). Dean has Boyfriends but can't live with anyone and doesn't want to be married. Very nice men, top blokes, but i have a right to form my own opinions on gay marriage.

JR*
05-21-2015, 09:50 AM
The Roman Catholic Church has taken a tremendous battering in recent years. Part of this arose simply from the explosion of information and broadened horizons, as well as the higher education as they have affected the Irish population. There was a time when bishops, some of whom seem to have seen themselves as Lord God Almighty, and their priests, could declaim any sort of nonsense from the pulpit and rely on their congregations to go along. Far, far from good enough now. The majority of "Catholics" now expect the message to make sense, which often it does not.

This factor was beginning to thin out congregations even before the tsunami of accusations (and even convictions) against evil Catholic clerics who perpetrated violence and/or sexual abuse on children over decades. The standard response of the Church authorities to such matters coming to their attention was, apparently, cover-up. Victims were intimidated into silence (as it turned out in many cases, long but temporary) and, in many cases, priests or brothers (presumably nuns in some cases) were either (supposedly) moved to areas of work where they would not have contact with children (a vain hope, really), or were moved on new parishes/schools where they could carry on abusing. At least until the next move. Anybody who has seen the excellent movie, "Doubt" (set in the US) will have some understanding of the latter process, which was repeated an unknown number of times, not only in Ireland but across the Catholic world. It seems to have been particularly common in branches of the Catholic tree strongly influenced by an "Irish heritage" - one aspect of the "Irish diaspora" of which we can be less than proud.

As a result (as my wife assures me - she is still a Glenstal Hymn Book-carrying Catholic), congregations have been reduced to handfuls of old ladies, except on special occasions like First Communions and funerals, and the recruitment of priests is bumping along the bottom at the training colleges. Notwithstanding their pomp and circumstance, the bishops are very far from being the force they were, say, in my childhood back in the 1960s. Believe me. Even a visit to Belfast seemed liberating in those days. That really says something.

And yet ... the influence of the Church over the moral and ethical climate in the Republic cannot be wholly discounted by any means. The Church still has operational control of most of the primary and secondary school system, a result of the cheap option taken by the State over decades of leaving this to Church-management in Church-owned properties. This is only now changing, but slowly. Church-run schools have legal protection for their "ethos" in the school's operation. More generally, the fact that so much of our population is, in a sense, Catholic-educated tends to produce a widespread sense of ... I suppose deference to the Church's positions, even if it takes the form of giving ecclesiastical "coloring" to much public discourse on a "for-or-against-the bishops" basis. I parted company with the Church many years ago, but even I would at least take its views seriously, even if I usually reject them in the end.

Another factor to be borne in mind is the "urban-rural divide". Starting with Dublin, and spreading out to other cities and large towns, opposition to the more (arguably) oppressive policies of the Church has spread, and church attendance has plummeted severely. This is much less true in genuinely rural areas. In "morality" referendums, this makes turnout, and its distribution, particularly important. It is a generalization but ... if the Dubs stay at home in droves, and the Culchies turn out, the Church position has a much better chance of prevailing. Even in General Elections - where overall turnout is usually considerably higher than in a referendum - there are enough seats (mainly rural) with substantial "believing" electorates to caution any government wishing to be re-elected against placing itself in opposition to the Church's views unless absolutely necessary. This is one reason why our Constitutional law on abortion, which went off the rails many years ago, is unlikely to be sorted out properly any time soon.

I am not without reservations about gay marriage. However, in the end of the day, the fairly elaborate construct of the arguments made against it fail to convince (me) and I shall be voting "Yes". One concrete reason for this beyond that point is that, contrary to the arguments made by the "No" side, I find it hard to see how looming difficulties regarding surrogacy and adoption being sorted out through statute law while it remains impossible for single-sex couples to engage in full matrimony. There may be troubles ahead; for example, the Constitutional recognition of the "special role" of women in the home (crazy at this stage, but anyway) raises interesting questions around the issue of how this might relate to a situation in which both spouses are of the same gender. We shall see, perhaps. In any event, I shall be supporting the proposition and am nervously confident for its success. Yours from the Dungeons of the Inquisition, JR.

32Bravo
05-22-2015, 03:51 AM
Very illuminating, JR.

Well today's the day. If I had a vote, it would most definitely be yes.

JR*
05-22-2015, 11:38 AM
Two-thirds the way through polling hours, turnout is generally estimated at 30 per cent or over. Precise distribution is still unclear. Extraordinary stories of our expatriate "young people" still registered to vote at their Mammy's address expending their efforts to get home to vote. Too early to say - but the Holies may be on a loser this time ... Yours from the ferryboat terminal, JR.

Rising Sun*
05-23-2015, 06:48 AM
Two-thirds the way through polling hours, turnout is generally estimated at 30 per cent or over. Precise distribution is still unclear. Extraordinary stories of our expatriate "young people" still registered to vote at their Mammy's address expending their efforts to get home to vote. Too early to say - but the Holies may be on a loser this time ... Yours from the ferryboat terminal, JR.

Regardless of the result, Ireland, which hasn't been at the forefront of marriage reform over the last few centuries nor of freeing itself from the shackles of Catholicism as pretty much a state religion until fairly recently, now leads the charge on a radical social issue which contradicts everything one would have predicted of Ireland viewed even merely a generation ago.

What was /were the pivotal point(s) or issue(s) which led to such a dramatic turnaround?

pdf27
05-23-2015, 06:00 PM
Apparently it's a yes vote by a landslide (62% in favour on a 60% turnout)
7461

imi
05-23-2015, 10:32 PM
I think the homosexuals are basicly born different peoples
I don't hate someone because he or she take his own sex if even this isn't normal
They are born different and feel different inside, you can't change their hormones by force
Gay marriages looks like to me funny a little bit but if they happier, marry each other :D

32Bravo
05-24-2015, 04:48 AM
Great result! Democracy at its best. This result has to have far reaching consequences for the Roman Catholic church in Ireland and beyond, and for the Irish constitution.

Nickdfresh
05-24-2015, 08:33 AM
To me it's pretty simple, gay people have the rights to plan their financial destinies and decide who gets their property when they die. If they want serious relationships and the commitment that go with marriage how can anyone deny them that right?

tankgeezer
05-24-2015, 11:08 AM
If anyone is willing to shoulder the ponderous responsibility of Marriage, there is no reason to deny them, as long as both are Humans, and not too closely related, there should be no objection.

Rising Sun*
05-24-2015, 11:37 AM
What's been overlooked is that there wasn't any constitutional provision dealing with the children of homosexual couples.

Heterosexual couples usually generate their own children.

Homosexual couples can't.

It adds a new dimension to the already bitter custody battles fought by heterosexual couples. For example: http://www.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/sinodisp/au/cases/cth/FamCA/2002/193.html

The postscript, fortunately rare and extreme, to the linked case is that one of the mothers frustrated the biological father's court awarded access to his child by killing the child, and herself.

32Bravo
05-25-2015, 05:15 AM
"PARENTING – whether the father is a ‘parent’ under the Family Law Act and Child Support (Assessment) Act – meaning of ‘family’ – nature of parenting – gay and lesbian families – Family Law Act sections 60B, 60H"

Didn't read through links to the Family Law Act and Family Support due to lack of time and legal experience.

If a sperm donor is recognised as being the 'father', then would that apply to a rapist?

"1. In deciding an issue such as this, section 65E of the Act requires the Court to regard the best interests of Patrick as the paramount consideration. It is a consideration of those best interests which forms the cornerstone of the judgment and remains its final determinant."

This appears to be the common sense approach, but I'm sure that arguments can and do arise as to what is in the child's best interests.

I'm curious to see what will happen if and when a gay couple apply to be married by the RC church.

aly j
05-25-2015, 05:56 AM
Homosexuals want the life of heterosexuals...But should they? There is a reason why god created man and woman.

32Bravo
05-25-2015, 06:38 AM
Homosexuals want the life of heterosexuals...But should they? There is a reason why god created man and woman.

Is your question, and statement, based on fact or opinion?

I would argue that if homosexuals wanted the life of heterosexuals, they would be heterosexual.

Did 'God' create man and woman or was it a matter of a long process of alteration of life through time - evolution?

If your answer is 'God', then try to find an example of life with 'irreducible complexity', I'd love to hear about it.

Rising Sun*
05-25-2015, 06:50 AM
If a sperm donor is recognised as being the 'father', then would that apply to a rapist?

In jurisdictions which don't explicity prevent it, yes.

There have been cases in the US where rapists have sought access to the child conceived by their rape of the mother. http://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/administrative/family_law/20141.authcheckdam.pdf Possibly here, but a quick bit of research didn't find any, although I have a vague recollection that the issue came before one of our courts.

In Australia, I would expect that the dominant principle of the welfare of the child would militate against access being granted in most, but not necessarily all, cases.

For an example of a case where access might be possible, rape in my state is defined to include digital penetration of the vagina. A child could be conceived by consensual sexual intercourse between the parents but the father could be guilty of digital rape on another, or even the same, occasion as conception and therefore be guilty of raping the mother. Add in youth, drugs, rehabilitation and various other factors and the father might later be a candidate for access.

Among the many problems in this area is the distinction between civil and criminal proceedings, with respective standards of proof of "on the balance of probabilities (i.e. more likely than not)" and the much higher criminal standard of "beyond reasonable doubt". In custody and access proceedings, which are civil, it is possible for a court to find on the balance of probabilities that the father raped the mother without any criminal proceedings having been launched against the father, and on evidence which would not meet the criminal standard for a conviction.

32Bravo
05-25-2015, 05:06 PM
In jurisdictions which don't explicity prevent it, yes.

There have been cases in the US where rapists have sought access to the child conceived by their rape of the mother. http://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/administrative/family_law/20141.authcheckdam.pdf Possibly here, but a quick bit of research didn't find any, although I have a vague recollection that the issue came before one of our courts.

In Australia, I would expect that the dominant principle of the welfare of the child would militate against access being granted in most, but not necessarily all, cases.

For an example of a case where access might be possible, rape in my state is defined to include digital penetration of the vagina. A child could be conceived by consensual sexual intercourse between the parents but the father could be guilty of digital rape on another, or even the same, occasion as conception and therefore be guilty of raping the mother. Add in youth, drugs, rehabilitation and various other factors and the father might later be a candidate for access.

Among the many problems in this area is the distinction between civil and criminal proceedings, with respective standards of proof of "on the balance of probabilities (i.e. more likely than not)" and the much higher criminal standard of "beyond reasonable doubt". In custody and access proceedings, which are civil, it is possible for a court to find on the balance of probabilities that the father raped the mother without any criminal proceedings having been launched against the father, and on evidence which would not meet the criminal standard for a conviction.

As a layperson I think I understand most of that. I find the definition of rape quite interesting. Presumably, male-rape isn't considered rape as bottoms are clearly not vaginas? Although when under the influence, the distinction might become somewhat blurred to some.

imi
05-26-2015, 04:53 AM
What's been overlooked is that there wasn't any constitutional provision dealing with the children of homosexual couples.

Heterosexual couples usually generate their own children.

Homosexual couples can't.



I think the gays bigger percentage can't fit to bring up a child, usually they have other outlook on life

Rising Sun*
05-26-2015, 05:32 AM
As a layperson I think I understand most of that. I find the definition of rape quite interesting. Presumably, male-rape isn't considered rape...

Male-male rape is covered by the definition of sexual penetration in Section 35 of our Crimes Act, as rape is sexual penetration without consent.


sexual penetration means—
(a) the introduction (to any extent) by a person of his penis into the vagina, anus or mouth of another person, whether or not there is emission of semen; or
(b) the introduction (to any extent) by a person of an object or a part of his or her body (other than the penis) into the vagina or anus of another person, other than in the course of a procedure carried out in good faith for medical or hygienic purposes; http://www.legislation.vic.gov.au/domino/Web_Notes/LDMS/LTObject_Store/ltobjst9.nsf/DDE300B846EED9C7CA257616000A3571/CA8FD480447A9990CA257E49001AEBD4/$FILE/58-6231aa249B%20authorised.pdf

Notwithstanding the recent victory for tolerance in Ireland, and the abolition here several decades age of homosexual offences between consenting adults, it is still possible to be prosecuted in my state for the abominable crime of buggery. It routinely happens in cases which pre-date the abolition of those offences as they are prosecuted under the law which was in force at the time of the offence. It is a standard charge in prosecutions brought against offenders in ancient child sexual abuse cases, notably but by no means exclusively involving Catholic priests and brothers. Strictly, there seems to be no reason in law why the same charges couldn't be brought against consenting adults who engaged in homosexual acts while the law was in force, although prosecution policy would undoubtedly be against such charges. Still, there is a degree of double standards in using the old offence selectively, if admirably, to catch ancient child sex offenders.

aly j
05-26-2015, 08:01 AM
In the past,With gays on the side line -the outer, it kept the gays in check. I never believed in murdering people because of their sexuality like the nazis had done, but prior to Hitler, my beliefs gays should be treated as such like how they were back then (not including nazi treatment of gays)

Both islam and Africa has banned homosexuality for good reasons. In the past , The gays had it great in the west ( apart from the nazi era) so why pushing for marriage when marriage represents man and woman and their offspring to bond all of them in one family unit. Homosexuals can never be biological parents, so why the push for marriage? Homosexuals want to take over heterosexuals lives , have same rules as us , be like us, act like mother nature intended homosexuality as normal. :/

Rising Sun*
05-26-2015, 08:51 AM
I never believed in murdering people because of their sexuality like the nazis had done

You mean like Ernst Roehm and his band of rampantly gay Nazis?

If Hitler hadn't had Roehm murdered as a potential challenger to Hitler, the Nazis could have been run by gays. Well, at least more gays than actually ran the Nazis after Roehm was dispatched, not to mention that sexually dysfunctional piece of pathology known as Hitler.


Both islam and Africa has banned homosexuality

Then that will undoubtedly stop homosexuality in such cultures.

This would require, among other things, the long established Afghan custom of men f***ing boys up the arse to be abandoned.

Old Pashtun lament:

There is a boy across the river
With a bottom like a peach.
Alas, I cannot swim

See also, for example, http://www.abc.net.au/news/2010-02-22/the-warlords-tune-afghanistans-war-on-children/338920


In the past , The gays had it great in the west ( apart from the nazi era)

Really?

You think it was great to be imprisoned for having sex with someone you love?

And then get raped repeatedly by the sex starved and supposedly heterosexual other male prisoners, because you're a poofter?

Or get bashed in the street just for being what you were born to be?

If it's so much better now than when it was great in the past, why do homosexual teenagers have a much higher rate of suicide than heterosexual teenagers?



Homosexuals want to ... be like us

Exactly.

They want the same rights the rest of us have.

If they want to get married and have their union cemented by the state, then I can't think of any reason why they shouldn't.

I can think of a lot more reasons why some heterosexuals shouldn't get married and why even more heterosexuals shouldn't be allowed to breed. That very large heterosexual crew does a lot more damage to society than homosexuals could ever do.

Rising Sun*
05-26-2015, 09:44 AM
... islam ... has banned homosexuality for good reasons.

Would this be the same sort of good reasons which allowed ISIS to promulgate this sort of disgusting Islamic ruling on dealing with female captives?


"Question 4: Is it permissible to have intercourse with a female captive?
"It is permissible to have sexual intercourse with the female captive. Allah the almighty said: '[Successful are the believers] who guard their chastity, except from their wives or (the captives and slaves) that their right hands possess, for then they are free from blame [Koran 23:5-6]'..."

"Question 5: Is it permissible to have intercourse with a female captive immediately after taking possession [of her]?
"If she is a virgin, he [her master] can have intercourse with her immediately after taking possession of her. However, is she isn't, her uterus must be purified [first]…"

"Question 13: Is it permissible to have intercourse with a female slave who has not reached puberty?
"It is permissible to have intercourse with the female slave who hasn't reached puberty if she is fit for intercourse; however if she is not fit for intercourse, then it is enough to enjoy her without intercourse."

There's more repulsive religious idiocy from this pamphlet at http://www.memrijttm.org/islamic-state-isis-releases-pamphlet-on-female-slaves.html

And then there's this http://aina.org/news/20140905031714.htm bit of alleged (the source has its own reasons for putting out propaganda) homosexual rape by the heroes at ISIS (the first two letters of which stand for Islamic State, being according to it the modern flowering of a pure Islamic state / caliphate) which tends to undermine your assertion that Islam has banned homosexuality. Well, strictly, it doesn't undermine your assertion. It just shows that ISIL is as hypocritical as the Nazis and many others, notably various Christian churches, in opposing homosexuality when it doesn't practice what it preaches.

32Bravo
05-27-2015, 01:17 AM
Male-male rape is covered by the definition of sexual penetration in Section 35 of our Crimes Act, as rape is sexual penetration without consent.

http://www.legislation.vic.gov.au/domino/Web_Notes/LDMS/LTObject_Store/ltobjst9.nsf/DDE300B846EED9C7CA257616000A3571/CA8FD480447A9990CA257E49001AEBD4/$FILE/58-6231aa249B%20authorised.pdf

Notwithstanding the recent victory for tolerance in Ireland, and the abolition here several decades age of homosexual offences between consenting adults, it is still possible to be prosecuted in my state for the abominable crime of buggery. It routinely happens in cases which pre-date the abolition of those offences as they are prosecuted under the law which was in force at the time of the offence. It is a standard charge in prosecutions brought against offenders in ancient child sexual abuse cases, notably but by no means exclusively involving Catholic priests and brothers. Strictly, there seems to be no reason in law why the same charges couldn't be brought against consenting adults who engaged in homosexual acts while the law was in force, although prosecution policy would undoubtedly be against such charges. Still, there is a degree of double standards in using the old offence selectively, if admirably, to catch ancient child sex offenders.

Do you know of any cases where consenting heterosexuals have been charged with beggery?

JR*
05-27-2015, 04:49 AM
Consenting heterosexuals ? Nothing occurs at this time. However, in considering how this offence worked, it is worth considering a case rather close to home in terms of this Forum. The late Alan Turing, wartime super-boffin and major contributor to the breaking of the German Enigma code and a father of modern electronic computing was, through a series of mischances, prosecuted for "gross indecency" under section 11 of the Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1885 (now repealed) which governed this offence at the time (1952). Victorian legislation, it will be noted, declined to define the act by name, a fact often put down to Victorian prudery. There was no problem, however, with allowing the judges to "fill out" this omission in common law. Earlier British legal references to the act stress its character as an "abomination" and suchlike. The flavor of such comments suggests a tendency to regard it as something close to an offence of strict liability; if the act could be proved to have taken place, mental considerations of intent and culpability do not seem to have received their usual weight in deciding such cases. Also, consent was not a defence to a charge of "gross indecency". Two males - or indeed a male and a female - could be prosecuted, even if the act was consensual.

One might ask - were Victorian policemen in the habit of breaking into a ... well, bugger's bedroom with a cry of "Gotcha !" ? Well, not generally. However, circumstances could arise in which a case could come to their attention, and these (presumably at the discretion of the Officer in Charge and/or the Attorney General) could be prosecuted. In poor Turing's case, he had formed a sexual relationship - purely consensual - with a young man, who informed him that a burglary at his house was down to an acquaintance of the young man. Turing reported the crime to the Coppers who, in the course of their enquiries, uncovered the relationship, leading to both Turing and the young man being charged under section 11. Both Turing and the youth eventually pleaded guilty to the charge, presumably seeing little chance of successfully defending the charge.

An example of a more obvious way in which such a charge could come to court is that of persons involved with male prostitutes. The most spectacular example I can think of is that of Oscar Wilde. Oscar was a pretty obviously bisexual in late Victorian society, and his proclivities were probably pretty well-known in aristocratic and artistic circles. However, it is unlikely that this would ever have led to a charge, had it not been for the disastrous sequence of events initiated by the Marquis of Queensberry, father of his (consensual) lover, Lord Alfred Douglas, when he left a card at Oscar's club suggesting that he was a "somdomite" (sic). This prompted Wilde to launch a prosecution for criminal libel against Queensberry - "the Tower has been assailed by the Vile Thing". This proved very ill-advised. Queensberry, a very wealthy man, engaged a top-class legal team, headed by Edward Carson, QC. Carson concentrated his withering defence on the standard defamation defence of "justification" - meaning that Queensberry's assertion was true. The hard core of this defence rested on the discovery by Carson's investigators of liaisons between Wilde and male prostitutes. Following the collapse of the case of Wilde v. Queensberry, the authorities felt they had little alternative but to prosecute Wilde for gross indecency - Regina v. Wilde. They were clearly unenthusiastic about the prosecution, but the notoriety of the preceding criminal libel case left them, politically, little choice. Oscar did not help himself by his rather inept defence, which tended to confirm rather than disprove the fact that he had engaged in (consensual) sex acts with males. Oscar went to prison. Much more mundane cases, involving public toilets and so on, would also have been prosecuted. In this connection, it is worth noting that "gross indecency" was defined (insofar as it was defined) effectively to include any sex acts between males.

This does not completely answer your question, 32Bravo - I do not know of any case of a "gross indecency" case brought in relation to the activities of consenting heterosexuals. It should be clear, however, that it was indeed possible in view of the scope of the offence, the degree of disapprobation attaching to it, and the manner in which such cases were tried in male-on-male, consensual cases. Best regards, JR.

Rising Sun*
05-27-2015, 07:24 AM
Do you know of any cases where consenting heterosexuals have been charged with beggery?

No, or even buggery. ;) :D

Various social and evidentiary (e.g. policeman hanging around male public toilets looking for homosexuals were unlikely to detect heterosexual encounters) factors probably militated against a prosecution for heterosexual buggery, but it seems to have been within the ambit of our Crimes Act which prohibited buggery (anal intercourse) with 'mankind' and animals. Don't know if there was any judicial interpretation of 'mankind' in relation to that offence, but normal English usage would include women in 'mankind'.

Also, the underlying intent of the legislation was to deal with the abominable crime of buggery, which was generally understood to mean sexual acts between men.

Rising Sun*
05-27-2015, 07:43 AM
I do not know of any case of a "gross indecency" case brought in relation to the activities of consenting heterosexuals. It should be clear, however, that it was indeed possible in view of the scope of the offence, the degree of disapprobation attaching to it, and the manner in which such cases were tried in male-on-male, consensual cases. Best regards, JR.

I don't know of any either, but here it's likely that heterosexual acts of gross indecency, like most if not all consenting homosexual offence prosecutions, would be in the lower courts which don't figure in the law reports. In some of our lower courts there was a frequent sad parade of defendants charged with homosexual offences, but there is no record of it in the law reports which report only the higher court cases.

I'd be pretty confident that in some American jurisdictions their curiously puritanical public order / sexual regulation laws would have seen plenty of prosecutions up to about the 1960s / 1970s, but again they might also be lower courts which went unreported.

32Bravo
05-27-2015, 02:49 PM
No, or even buggery. ;) :D



:lol:

32Bravo
05-27-2015, 03:05 PM
One might ask - were Victorian policemen in the habit of breaking into a ... .

Speaking of Victorians, the point I am about to make is denied here: http://www.theguardian.com/notesandqueries/query/0,5753,-19315,00.html

To continue:

As I was taught and understand. Disraeli tried to have a bill passed by the queen banning homosexual practice by either of the sexes. However, when the queen came to sign and seal it she wouldn't accept that it was possible between women due to lack of penetration. Disraeli asked the queen's lady-in-waiting to explain to the queen, which she did. The queen's response was, supposedly: "We are not convinced!" and so the bill had to be changed to excluded women. Apparently that was the last occasion on which a British monarch exercised the Royal Prerogative in British Law. If it's incorrect, well, it makes a good story, but there are also a lot of misinformed students out there. :lol:

32Bravo
05-27-2015, 03:13 PM
As we digress, it is probably worth considering that the support for Gay marriage, is about liberal thinking and the right to expect to be equal in the law. Peoples' personal opinions on homosexuals and/or homosexual activities is only relevant to those that have/had the right to vote 'yes' or 'no', and even then it shouldn't be the deciding factor. The principles of equality should be held higher than any personal distaste, religious sentiments etc.

A wise man once said: "God created man in his own image and likeness, and man has been returning the compliment ever since!"

The fun one might have with that thought. :lol:

Rising Sun*
05-28-2015, 05:19 AM
As we digress, it is probably worth considering that the support for Gay marriage, is about liberal thinking and the right to expect to be equal in the law. Peoples' personal opinions on homosexuals and/or homosexual activities is only relevant to those that have/had the right to vote 'yes' or 'no', and even then it shouldn't be the deciding factor. The principles of equality should be held higher than any personal distaste, religious sentiments etc.

Exactly.

Like probably most people, my original reaction some years ago to demands for gay marriage was to regard it as farcical.

I've come to accept that if two people of the same sex (NOT gender - that's a grammatical term) love each other, and want to have that love recognised formally by the state, then they are as much entitled to it as heterosexual couples because state marriage should be open to everyone in, say, the same way that superannuation benefits should be treated equally rather than homosexual partners being denied the same rights as heterosexual partners as has long been the case here.

Religious marriage is up to each church. I don't have a problem with that. I do have a huge problem with religions which try to force a secular state to make its laws conform with their religious beliefs, whether it's Catholics on abortion or Muslims on Sharia law or all of them on marriage, divorce, and everything else. The state laws don't stop them practising their religions and, indeed, give them protections I don't think they deserve from being exempt from taxes and having state enacted religious tolerance laws to protect their quaint beliefs and practices while they get exemptions from anti-discrimination laws to protect their quaint beliefs and practices on employment and other matters. It's just a continuing part of their religious arrogance for them to think the state should be stopped from making laws which offend them, when they've done nothing to accommodate the state but expect and get many protections and exemptions from the state.

We've come a long way from my ancient youth when it was regarded by many as manly to bash a poofter in a, by today's standards, brutal era when there was little understanding and less tolerance for people who were different. I think back to kids I went to school with who clearly had Asperger's Syndrome, ADHD, dyslexia, and were guilty of lesser offences such as being left handed. The solution by almost all teachers to these sorts of problems was to bash the kids into conformity and improvement. That didn't work any better than bashing poofters into heterosexuality. All it did was just make people more miserable about things they were born with and couldn't help.

Ireland's recent approval of gay marriage seems to me to envision a more tolerant and much better world than the world of my ancient youth, or the world desired by some religions which, at the ISIS extreme, offers only Hobbesian lives which are poor, nasty, brutish and short.

32Bravo
05-28-2015, 03:47 PM
Exactly.

Ireland's recent approval of gay marriage seems to me to envision a more tolerant and much better world than the world of my ancient youth, or the world desired by some religions which, at the ISIS extreme, offers only Hobbesian lives which are poor, nasty, brutish and short.

Very nicely put, R.S.- all of what you say, that is, not just the quoted bit. Back in the ancient times of our youth, we too were victims, but we were victims of those who would control our thoughts and emotions for their own ends.

Human and civil rights seems to get a bit of a hiding in general as they too are manipulated and abused by those who would, under other circumstances, ban them. I quite often hear myself explaining to people that they are not "Their" human rights, they're "Our" human rights. Our rights have been hard won and they should be extended to everyone, in principle. For me, Gay Marriage is just another milestone in the fight for individual freedom and the right of the individual to choose.

Unfortunately, a lot of the protection and privileges that religions enjoy in the UK appear to be the dregs of the days of the three estates. However, people ought to be able to practice their form of worship if they so wish, providing they don't try to force it upon the rest of us or cause us arm.

Rising Sun*
05-29-2015, 09:30 AM
Unfortunately, a lot of the protection and privileges that religions enjoy in the UK appear to be the dregs of the days of the three estates.

Well, you do have the problem in the UK that your monarch is also the head of your state Church. (So do we, thanks to our status under your monarch.) Not that anybody much cares about or practises that state religion any more.

Apart from the tiny Vatican state and sundry much larger Muslim nations where religion and state are more or less unified, I can't think of any moderately modern or important nation which unifies the head of state, or the state, with a given religion.

Against that is the not very subtle presence of religions underpinning other governments and nations, such as Christianity in America (the official motto of which was changed in the 1950s to "In God we trust", and the modern decline of which nation suggests that that trust might be misplaced) and less direct links such as Shinto in Japan and its Yasukuni Shrine to, among others, WWII Japanese war criminals who are periodically revered by conservative Japanese politicians.

And against all that, in Australia we have a Catholic Prime Minister who trained to be a Catholic priest but, fortunately for the Catholic Church which already had enough problems but unfortunately for Australia did not complete his training. He is commissioned to run our government by your / our Queen as head of the Protestant Church of England. He is an arch monarchist. Seems to make sense to him. Which probably helps to explain why my national government is so woefully confused, conflicted and incompetent.

I'm starting to find a lot to support in the French and their resolute determination to enforce secularism upon their state. Much of it is undoubtedly a reaction to current Muslim problems peculiar to France (which in large part is a case of lots of chickens coming home to roost from France's former exploitation of its North African colonies), but there is also a strong ideologically libertarian and anti-clerical thread going back to the French Revolution which supports current government actions.

32Bravo
05-29-2015, 12:27 PM
I'm starting to find a lot to support in the French and their resolute determination to enforce secularism upon their state. Much of it is undoubtedly a reaction to current Muslim problems peculiar to France (which in large part is a case of lots of chickens coming home to roost from France's former exploitation of its North African colonies), but there is also a strong ideologically libertarian and anti-clerical thread going back to the French Revolution which supports current government actions.

In my opinion, the French Revolution of 1789 tried to do too much in too short a period of time which, opened the gate for Napoleon Bonaparte. I think that during the time of the French Third Republic, during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, they really began to shake out and make a serious attempt to form a secular state. As we know, Catholicism can be very ingrained and not so easy to overcome, not unlike Islamism. However, they do appear to have the political will to persevere.

32Bravo
05-30-2015, 08:24 PM
In his essay On Liberty (1859), John Stuart Mill suggested that Liberty once meant protection of the weaker members of the community against the political rulers who preyed upon them like vultures. He continues to explain that there is also ‘the tyranny of the majority’. So, for Mill, Liberty not only meant protection from the tyrannical despot, but also protection against the tyranny of the prevailing opinion. He stated that the overriding principle is “the sole end for which mankind are warranted, individually or collectively, in interfering with the liberty of action of any of their number, is self-protection.” In other words, interference with the rights of the individual can only be exercised where it is to prevent harm to others.

Mill offers three instances in which the overriding principle of liberty of the individual over society are non-negotiable, the second of which, in my opinion, is the most pertinent to the current discussion (although in effect all three are probably inseparable): “Secondly, the principle requires liberty of tastes and pursuits; of framing the plan of our life to suit our own character; of doing as we like, subject to such consequences as may follow; without impediment from our fellow creatures, so long as what we do does not harm them, even though they should think our conduct foolish, perverse or wrong.”

Obviously, this is an extract from the much broader explanation found in his essay and should be read in context with the whole to get a thorough understanding of Mills thoughts.

aly j
05-30-2015, 10:22 PM
Something that has to be empowered by the government isn't right. Men and women don't need any empowerment from anyone, and we survived by sticking to what mother-nature intended us to do..

I say so because western society was built by men and women.

32Bravo
05-31-2015, 03:40 AM
Something (which in this case, I'm referring to homosexuals) that has to be empowered by the government isn't right. White, straight men and women don't need any empowerment from anyone, because by nature we are perfect and we survived by sticking to what mother-nature intended us to do... Including keeping homosexuals in their places: on the outer.

I say "white" because western society was built by straight white men and women.

:lol::lol: You're such a joker, you ought to be on stage - one leaves in about five minutes! :lol::lol:

Rising Sun*
05-31-2015, 07:14 AM
Something (which in this case, I'm referring to homosexuals) that has to be empowered by the government isn't right. White, straight men and women don't need any empowerment from anyone, because by nature we are perfect and we survived by sticking to what mother-nature intended us to do... Including keeping homosexuals in their places: on the outer.

I say "white" because western society was built by straight white men and women.

Curious comments by someone with an overtly lesbian avatar.

32Bravo
05-31-2015, 08:43 AM
Curious comments by someone with an overtly lesbian avatar.

Said person isn't worth any attention, RS

32Bravo
05-31-2015, 09:01 AM
Of course what for some e.g. the Irish Gay community, is liberty via the action of democracy might be seen as 'the tyranny of the majority' for the opposition.

The anticipated British referendum regarding 'yes' or 'no' to EU membership is another situation in which the majority may have their say, but how does that fit with those that oppose? If it's a near thing, how tyrannical becomes the winner? The Scottish referendum voted 55% No to 45% Yes. Whichever way one looks at it, the 45% represents a huge amount of people being governed by a system they didn't 'sign-up' for. This might suggest a tyranny of a small majority over the minority. However, there doesn't really appear to be a better way in a democratic society. The winners, as usual, are those that offer the most convincing arguments regardless of their validity. It seems to me that the only solution is education - knowledge is, I'm told, power!

Rising Sun*
05-31-2015, 10:17 AM
Of course what for some e.g. the Irish Gay community, is liberty via the action of democracy might be seen as 'the tyranny of the majority' for the opposition.

Quite true.

But in cases like gay marriage where nobody who disagrees with it is being forced to do anything they don't want to do, does it matter to anyone except those who want to force the rest of society to conform with their opinions?

Contrast that with laws which require people to do things they may not want to do, such as conscription for military service. A 51% vote in favour of that would be an example of majority tyranny to those who don't want to be forced into military service.

Then there is a range of difficult social, political and moral issues which can, but don't have to, straddle both those camps. An example down here is that doctors who don't want to assist a woman who wants an abortion must refer her to a doctor who will. I think it's morally tyrannical to force a doctor who doesn't want to aid an abortion to do more than refuse to do it, in the same way it would be morally tyrannical to require a doctor who objects to abortion to perform one, but some tyrannical feminist elements have prevailed over the freedom of all doctors to follow their personal ethical or religious views. The converse is that tyrannical and largely religious elements here have prevailed over the right of all of us to die at a time of our choosing when faced with a terminal illness. No doctor or anyone else should be forced to aid such a death, but neither should I be denied the services of a doctor or anyone else who will assist me when my time is just about up and I don't want to suffer any more. Similarly, I wouldn't allow a law requiring anyone to officiate at a gay marriage if it offended their religious or other opinions, but equally I wouldn't allow them to impose their opinions by denying the state ceremony of marriage to homosexuals who want it.

Electoral tyranny has had a recent boost down here in the direction of tyranny of the minority.

In Australia we have a preferential voting system which regularly sees the Labor Party get a greater proportion of primary votes than the Liberal Party, but between the distribution of preferences and the Liberal Party forming a coalition government with the minor National Party it is often the case that Labor doesn't gain government.

In our last Senate (upper house - sort of equivalent to your House of Lords except ours is all elected) election several so called 'micro parties' got seats with as little as 0.5% of the primary vote, but after distribution of preferences (as a result of a cunning plan orchestrated to achieve exactly this result) they met the target for winning a seat. This is universally regarded by our two major parties (Labor and Liberal) and the lesser main party (National Party) as a grievous offence to their understanding of our system of democracy as they think that the last thing that should happen is that micro parties should be elected by utilising the same preferential system which helps the major parties gain government even if they didn't get a majority of the primary vote. So what we have here now is regarded by many as a tyranny of a very tiny minority, despite it being the necessary result of the application of exactly the same voting system which elects the major parties.

One consequence is that we have a sufficient number of senators in micro parties to frustrate the legislative intention of the current government. The solution seen by the major parties is to alter the voting system so that only the major parties can be elected. This is laughable as each of the major parties generally spends its time in opposition by frustrating the legislative intention of the government of the time.

What is ignored by most people is that, although the micro parties have thrown up some politically and intellectually unsophisticated senators who are a public embarrassment at times, they're not different to the dunderheads on the back benches, and some on the front benches, of the major parties. The real difference is that the major parties are largely composed of a bunch of professional university educated shiny arse politicians who progress from student politics / trade union / employer association/ backgrounds into state and federal politics. The micro parties have thrown up people who actually represent by their experience and express the views of a very large body of citizens. The last thing the major parties want is people with that sort of experience who will stand on principle rather than toe the party line, like this micro party senator, Ricky Muir, in his maiden speech to the Senate.


By the time I was 15, nearing 16 years old, my focus on schooling was minimal at best and a struggle at worst. I knew what I wanted to do, and that was to get out and enter the workforce. I had spent my time as a child growing up below the poverty line, despite my parents’ best efforts, and wanted do my best in the workforce.

I knew what I wanted to do; it was not to enter a long course of expensive education to become a lawyer, a doctor or a political apparatchik. I wanted to work in earth moving, or on a farm, or in manufacturing, a factory, or as a mechanic, with tools — to wear stubbies and hi-vis and have the constant pale shade of a singlet embedded on my otherwise tanned skin. I was not afraid of hard manual labour and had no interest in earning millions. I just wanted to be able to support myself and enjoy some of the things that I had previously missed out on.

During this period I got to learn firsthand how hard it can be to find employment as a young school leaver and had to find ways to be able to better present myself to employers in an effort to at least land an interview.

Contrary to this, as time progressed I also learnt the benefits of working hard and striving to achieve. Naturally, I am also aware of the benefits of budgeting hard and saving for a rainy day.

I have a long history of living at the receiving end of legislative changes, of feeling the squeeze of new or higher taxes, feeling the pressure and even losing sleep when you realise that the general cost of living just went up a tiny $20. To everyone sitting in this chamber, if you think $20 a week is nothing, or just a pack of cigarettes or a few beers, you have never lived in the real world.

I have worked in manufacturing, on farms both vegetable and dairy, in a bakery, in pine plantations, at a tannery processing automotive leather, gardening and lawn mowing, and most recently in the timber industry, both soft and hard woods.

Like so many others, through the lessons learnt of doing it hard I was able to learn the benefits of trying hard to achieve, and the benefits of furthering my skills to give myself a competitive edge in the case of a downturn. But I also learnt and experienced how no work, knock-backs from job applications, and struggling to put food on the table and keep on top of the bills at the same time can bring a feeling of low self-esteem and depression.

I have fulfilled roles such as a leading hand, a first aid officer, a health and safety representative, a supervisor, for a short time a manager, and even a shop steward for Minister Abetz’s favourite union, the CFMEU — in the forestry division, for the record.

I have been the beneficiary of penalty rates. I worked shift work and weekends not for the love of the job but because there was financial incentive to do so. I did it not only keep my head above water but to actually have a few bob left over each pay to support my hobbies and interests. As we know, this is called disposable cash, and in my case this was spent on hobbies such as riding dirt bikes with my wife and children, buying camping supplies as it was an inexpensive way for us to go on holidays, maintaining my four-wheel drive and competing in affordable grassroots motorsports.

That disposable cash ended up supporting Australian manufacturers in the aftermarket industry, local businesses, communities and retailers, helping create and maintain Australian jobs. Without the reward of penalty rates, this money would not have circulated through our economy, and I am one person; there are millions more who support different sectors in the economy just by being given that little extra for their efforts. This is something all levels of government need to consider when reaching into the purse of taxpaying Australians when they think they need to tighten their belt. Where you may gain somewhere, you may lose elsewhere, and at what cost?

I can tell you, as somebody who was not born into wealth, who has had to work my way up with absolute honesty, that working-class Australia is absolutely sick to death of working our lives away just to pay the bills and having to struggle to spend the very money we work hard to earn on actually enjoying our existence rather than feeling like a slave to the dollar.
http://www.businessinsider.com.au/heres-the-maiden-speech-by-victorian-senator-ricky-muir-that-surprised-and-impressed-everyone-2015-3

32Bravo
05-31-2015, 12:37 PM
Quite true.

But in cases like gay marriage where nobody who disagrees with it is being forced to do anything they don't want to do, does it matter to anyone except those who want to force the rest of society to conform with their opinions? The Irish Gay Marriage situation is probably an example of libertarianism at its best:

“Secondly, the principle requires liberty of tastes and pursuits; of framing the plan of our life to suit our own character; of doing as we like, subject to such consequences as may follow; without impediment from our fellow creatures, so long as what we do does not harm them, even though they should think our conduct foolish, perverse or wrong.”


Contrast that with laws which require people to do things they may not want to do, such as conscription for military service. A 51% vote in favour of that would be an example of majority tyranny to those who don't want to be forced into military service.

This is a tricky one. Why should I obey the law or pay my taxes etc.? Locke would have argued that we have a duty to do so as we enjoy benefits of living in or even passing through a society/state/nation. A social contract, if you will. We could drink a lot of beer while discussing various scenarios for and against conscription.



Then there is a range of difficult social, political and moral issues which can, but don't have to, straddle both those camps. An example down here is that doctors who don't want to assist a woman who wants an abortion must refer her to a doctor who will. I think it's morally tyrannical to force a doctor who doesn't want to aid an abortion to do more than refuse to do it, in the same way it would be morally tyrannical to require a doctor who objects to abortion to perform one, but some tyrannical feminist elements have prevailed over the freedom of all doctors to follow their personal ethical or religious views. The converse is that tyrannical and largely religious elements here have prevailed over the right of all of us to die at a time of our choosing when faced with a terminal illness. No doctor or anyone else should be forced to aid such a death, but neither should I be denied the services of a doctor or anyone else who will assist me when my time is just about up and I don't want to suffer any more. Similarly, I wouldn't allow a law requiring anyone to officiate at a gay marriage if it offended their religious or other opinions, but equally I wouldn't allow them to impose their opinions by denying the state ceremony of marriage to homosexuals who want it.

I would argue that these are matters of 'in principle', i.e. that the law allows these functions to be performed (obviously conforming to guidelines), but that they are matters of conscience for those who would perform them.



Electoral tyranny has had a recent boost down here in the direction of tyranny of the minority.

In Australia we have a preferential voting system which regularly sees the Labor Party get a greater proportion of primary votes than the Liberal Party, but between the distribution of preferences and the Liberal Party forming a coalition government with the minor National Party it is often the case that Labor doesn't gain government.

In our last Senate (upper house - sort of equivalent to your House of Lords except ours is all elected) election several so called 'micro parties' got seats with as little as 0.5% of the primary vote, but after distribution of preferences (as a result of a cunning plan orchestrated to achieve exactly this result) they met the target for winning a seat. This is universally regarded by our two major parties (Labor and Liberal) and the lesser main party (National Party) as a grievous offence to their understanding of our system of democracy as they think that the last thing that should happen is that micro parties should be elected by utilising the same preferential system which helps the major parties gain government even if they didn't get a majority of the primary vote. So what we have here now is regarded by many as a tyranny of a very tiny minority, despite it being the necessary result of the application of exactly the same voting system which elects the major parties.

One consequence is that we have a sufficient number of senators in micro parties to frustrate the legislative intention of the current government. The solution seen by the major parties is to alter the voting system so that only the major parties can be elected. This is laughable as each of the major parties generally spends its time in opposition by frustrating the legislative intention of the government of the time.

What is ignored by most people is that, although the micro parties have thrown up some politically and intellectually unsophisticated senators who are a public embarrassment at times, they're not different to the dunderheads on the back benches, and some on the front benches, of the major parties. The real difference is that the major parties are largely composed of a bunch of professional university educated shiny arse politicians who progress from student politics / trade union / employer association/ backgrounds into state and federal politics. The micro parties have thrown up people who actually represent by their experience and express the views of a very large body of citizens. The last thing the major parties want is people with that sort of experience who will stand on principle rather than toe the party line, like this micro party senator, Ricky Muir, in his maiden speech to the Senate.

Which brings me back to my argument for a better educated electorate. The lack of socio/economic and political nouse, affiliated party tribalism and a biased media all contribute to the election of those that would become the tyrants of our political age.

Arguably, the steadying influence against tyranny of the majority and a two party state has to be the introduction of proportional representation (with an unrestricted pluralism). Many would disagree, and P.R. does come along with its own problems of implementation, but these can quite probably almost certainly be an acceptable consequence of a fairer electoral system.

JR*
06-03-2015, 07:06 AM
The distinction between "democracy" and "a majority dominating a minority" is quite well known here in the Emerald Isle. It was long used to describe the situation in Northern Ireland where, for much of its history, the Unionist/Protestant majority ruled over the Nationalist/Roman Catholic minority with little regard for their interests. This situation was reinforced by an archaic voting system which Great Britain (to its shame) permitted continued existence in that part of the United Kingdom. This voting system - unbelievably, as late as the 1970s - afforded voting weight to property (effectively negating the principle of one person, one vote applying on the "Mainland", and was further reinforced by policies of ghettoization of, in particular, the working classes of both communities and constituency boundary manipulation designed to secure a permanent Unionist majority in the devolved Stormont parliament. Northern Ireland is still living with the consequences of this, in particular, as regards inter-community relations in Belfast; (London)Derry had the same problem for a long time, but appears to have gone a long way towards solving it and achieving relatively harmonious Unionist/Nationalist relations in the city.

Whether the same idea can be applied to the pro/anti gay marriage situation following our recent referendum on the subject is more doubtful. Mind you, it has been raised. "No" campaigners have been suggesting that, since all registered political parties in the State, and most public representatives who expressed a public opinion on the subject, supported the gay marriage proposal, the substantial minority that voted against it are now "unrepresented" in the national parliament. Apart from anything else, this is distinctly rich, coming from a faction that ruthlessly exploited its majority to dump on minority (liberal) opinion while that situation obtained. This is one of the reason why our abortion laws are in such an intractable mess. But that aside - the "majority over minority" argument seems a lot less compelling when it is applied to a single issue. The "minority" on this issue is not (at least any more) cohesive as a faction on any other issue, and its "members" have the freedom to vote for whatever candidate they want in local and general elections, having regard to any number of issues - and let the outcome be what it will. This is quite a different situation from that of the former Northern Ireland regime, where the whole system was "gerrymandered" effectively to exclude the influence of one cohesive minority community, with distinct headline values, from any power or real influence, permanently.

Representative democracy is always subject to criticisms that it is not directly responsive to everybody's sensitivities on every issue. It cannot be. Parliamentary representatives have a responsibility to legislate in their best assessment of the common good. They should also be expected to provide leadership - not the all-too-common Jim Hacker version, "I am their leader, I must follow them". The alternative would appear to be a form of direct democracy requiring a plebiscite or referendum on every major issue; not even Switzerland goes that far, and it is hard to see how a modern democracy could be run on such a basis. Um ... dictatorship, anybody ... ?

On one detailed point - the "No" campaign (or at least the Roman Catholic Church element) argued that, given the change in the "nature of marriage" effected by the referendum result, they might have difficulty in continuing to register civil marriage in conjunction with the Church ceremony ("signing the book" it is called here). This is nonsense. No referendum can alter the nature of sacramental marriage. The elements of Church marriage are totally unaffected by the referendum result. No Catholic priest will be expected to officiate at a gay marriage; these will be executed by civil Registrars, or other authorized faith-based persons authorized to conduct such ceremonies (while "faith-based" may seem odd in the circumstances, the Humanist movement here has already indicated that their officiators would be quite happy to officiate over gay marriages, including the civil element). As I think I said elsewhere in this thread, the Catholic Church can no longer spout nonsense from the pulpit and expect to be obeyed. One would hope that, when the bishops come to deliberate on whether they can continue to execute the civil element attached to their Church marriage ceremonies, they see sense and continue to do so. One interview with a relatively "moderate" bishop in the last few days suggests that they will kick this can so far down the road that people will just forget about it. That might be sensible ... Best regards, JR.

32Bravo
06-03-2015, 02:47 PM
I'd say my earlier comments relating the Gay Marriage referendum to the tyranny of the majority was a silly analogy.

A more realistic comparison/example might be the British involvement in the Iraq War in 2003. Tony Blair's government had a huge parliamentary majority and this was used to justify British commitment to the war on what we now know to be dubious credibility. Many were against it, including members of Blair's own cabinet, and some of those resigned. Typically, representative governments, once in power, do their own thing.

I would agree with JR's assessment of the Ulster situation. I would also include the condition of the African-Americans of the segregated states of the U.S. on pretty similar lines.

Of course with the British experience, the Franchise was only extended to all with the Representation of the People Act (Equal Franchise) 1928.

Even in the first 'direct democracy' people, such as Plato and Xenophon, objected to democracy, particularly as it was the reinstated democracy which had condemned Socrates to death, who was friend/mentor to both.

A point I find interesting about the Athenians in the 4th century, was that they used about 400 hundred Scythian Archers, armed with whips containing red dye, to round up the citizens to attend the assembly (Ekklesia). Those citizens who were later found to have red dye on their clothing were fined for apathy. I'm wondering if that is why British political parties have their party whips?