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Civil Unions – is the deal sealed?

By caf - 5 December 2007 29

The CT today carries a story under the headline Stanhope digs in on gay unions, which at first glance appears to show Sonic attempting a bit of “shock and awe” with the new Federal Government on the contentious issue of gay & lesbian civil unions in the ACT. The rhetoric is firey – he has “warned his federal Labor colleagues against interfering in the ACT’s business”, he will “brook no such intervention from the new Prime Minister”, and even “We will do what we need to do to have it passed” (leaving open the pleasing potential for a blockade of Parliament house by ACT-government badged Priuses, until our demands are met?).

However, a moments reflection makes one wonder at the underlying Realpolitik. Consider the following:

* This was provided to the CT, presumably by the Chief Minister’s Department, yet there was no official media release. This allows the Chief Minister more control on the way in which his comments are reported.

* It is a silly tactic to enter into negotiations, declaring that you will not be moved in your position. If you cannot move in your position, there can be no negotiation.

* Our current negotiating position is apparently the “watered down” version of the Civil Unions legislation, not the original that was first rejected by the Howard Government. Usually in a negotation, you will begin by asking for more than you think you will get, allowing yourself room to move while still getting most of what you want.

* It would politically a bad move to nail one’s colours to the mast so comprehensively on an outcome that is beyond your control. This would leave open the possibility, perhaps even the probability, of being forced into a humiliating backdown.

The logical conclusion? That a deal has already been struck – presumably prior to the Federal Election – and Federal Labor has agreed not to overturn the ACT Government’s Civil Unions legislation, provided it is passed in the current “watered down” form. Stanhope’s comments today are simply playing to the local audience, allowing him to appear to have publically stood up to the Feds and driven a hard bargain. The real negotations have already been concluded.

Note also that Stanhope’s comments have also laid the groundwork for Federal Labor to use “states rights” as the reasoning for allowing the legislation through, which will save them from having to make a comment either way on what they think about the substance of the legislation.

At the end of the day, my assessment is that we will soon have Civil Unions here in the ACT, which is certainly a good thing. In addition, the acceptance of this legislation by the Federal Government will be on a “states rights” basis, which will set a precedent of sorts and that is an even better thing.

What’s Your opinion?


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29 Responses to
Civil Unions – is the deal sealed?
Skidbladnir 9:48 am 06 Dec 07

It probably won’t happen this election unless the ACT Libs can quit their fussin’ and a feudin’ and bring some order to their affairs, but it would be nice.
We can dream, can’t we?

johnboy 9:41 am 06 Dec 07

perhaps a precursor to the election loss we’re all looking forward to.

Only if there’s something better on offer surely?

Skidbladnir 9:26 am 06 Dec 07

Now, what if Jessica Wright’s researcher\mother could have ghostwritten on this thread instead…

But seeing Stanhope\Corbell retreating on an issue would be nice, and perhaps a precursor to the election loss we’re all looking forward to.

Absent Diane 9:25 am 06 Dec 07

what the fuck is sanctity of marriage. Its meaningless; so who cares. If they want to do it let them do it. Non-issue.

Thumper 9:04 am 06 Dec 07

“whereby all partnerships are civil unions under law and marriages are simply a matter for the church”

yeah, I’d go along with that. it keeps the sanctity of marriage whilst still ensuring equity for all.

GregW 8:47 am 06 Dec 07

How many years until people realise that politicians being openly religious is a bad thing, not many I expect.

I agree with the the above comment, whereby all partnerships are civil unions under law and marriages are simply a matter for the church..

Thumper 8:16 am 06 Dec 07

Good analysis caf…

And to those who ascribe to the Saint Kevin from heaven theory, remember, he’s a millionaire jesus boy with more religious belief than Howard and possibly as far right as well.

Pandy 7:08 am 06 Dec 07

The only things Jess gets down is a nice glass of semellion.

VYBerlinaV8 8:49 pm 05 Dec 07

When they can produce a kid, they can be called ‘married’.

(Are you getting this down Jess…?)

Vic Bitterman 8:21 pm 05 Dec 07

Civil unions between same sex people are fine. Hell, even between “Man and Harley Davidson” if desired.

But they are not “marriages”, and will never be.

EtFb 8:13 pm 05 Dec 07

Oh, and @johnboy: it’s Pope Kevin, thank you. The first saint of this current papacy is Saint Bernard of Camellia, martyred patron saint of asbestosis sufferers, whose symbol in religious art is an ant being trampled by fire-retardant elephant.

EtFb 8:08 pm 05 Dec 07

I’d like to see someone implement the solution proposed by the fictional mayor of New York, Mitchell Hundred: ban all marriage! That is, remove all mention of marriage from all laws, state and federal, and refer instead to Civil Unions throughout. Then, if someone wants to get married church-style, have provision for a clergyperson of the appropriate flavour to take the official Civil Union License, add a Marriage License as issued by their church, and call the result a marriage as well. In the case of me and my Beloved, we’re happy to be Civilly United or whatever, rather than married, if it makes no difference to our legal status. Let the churches deal with church business and the governments deal with government business; “render unto Caesar” and all that.

johnboy 7:44 pm 05 Dec 07

Ahh Boomacat subscribes to the “Saint Kevin” theory of neo-socialism wish fulfillment.

Never mind the man’s own statements over the years.

I think Caf’s analysis is sound.

(Even if it does ignore the spiky one’s prodigious talent for being a bone-headed moron)

boomacat 7:39 pm 05 Dec 07

Despite how Rudd’s comments have been interpreted, I really don’t think he has a problem with same sex unions, in fact given his christian humanism style I’d say he’d be all for it. As long as the term “marriage” isn’t used, I think it’ll be ok (which makes no sense to me, the marriage Act makes no mention of god, it is a secular, not religious, institution in Australia).

In any case, the Commonwealth should not interfere in what is absolutely a Territory issue. Why give us self-government otherwise?

The Howard era is dead, thank god. Even his precious “Liberal” party is now repudiating him. ha ha ha, L O S E R.

VYBerlinaV8 7:34 pm 05 Dec 07

I only believe in gay marriage when both chicks are hot.

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