I remember when Malcolm Turnbull suavely muscled his way into office for his second bite at the parliamentary cheddar.
This is made somewhat easier to recall by the article I wrote at the time, back when I was fresh-faced and starry eyed about our country's great white hope; the best thing to happen to us as a nation since Vegemite, the Hills Hoist, and Don Bradman's revenge against Douglas Jardine's infamous 'Bodyline' team all rolled into one.
Sadly, said white-teethed hope has turned a dirty and highly morally dubious shade of grey, with backflips on a number of 'immutable' policy promises, one of those being what should, could, but obviously will now never be, the non-issue of marriage equality.
With the High Court ruling to uphold the Federal Government's right to roll out a same-sex marriage postal survey, the three-ring circus gained itself an unusual ringmaster in the shape of the survey's architect. Turnbull, the leader who refused to allow Coalition MPs a conscience vote on the issue, is apparently intending to give a big, fat, yes in support of marriage equality.
Turnbull happy High Court will let same-sex marriage survey proceed. "Lucy and I will be voting yes" #auspol— Peter Jean (@peterdujean) September 7, 2017
This is unfathomable on a number of levels. The least of which being, of course, how a leader, someone our system of government calls primus inter pares, or 'first among equals', can see it as reasonable to deny apparently intelligent and logical adults a conscience vote on a parliamentary act, voice his own opposition to changing said act, and then state he is going to vote (or should that be survey?) approval to the Government amending the act he refuses to amend.
If you just said "huh?", believe me, so did I.
I think the whole country did.
I make no secret of having massive issues with the marriage equality plebiscite. I'm happy to discuss my reasons for said issues with anyone who asks, and realistically, anyone who doesn't. It is a useless, ridiculously expensive exercise.
It is nothing more than a blatant attempt by the Coalition -- on the whole -- to placate the LGBTQ community, its supporters, friends, and family, whilst it remains implacable to change.
As a result, the plebiscite, now the survey, has rapidly turned from a hopeful 'could it influence for the greater good, eventually' scenario to a harmful and dangerously divisive national debate.
I have never felt I should vote, if this could be called a vote, on another Australian's right to marry.
What makes me better, or more equal, than another citizen, or qualified to judge them on their lifestyle choices -- choices that do not impact me in any way, shape or form? The fact I happen to like the opposite sex when it comes to tangling tongues? My in-depth knowledge, thanks to a Catholic girls-school education, of the ins and outs of the meatier books of the Old Testament, and what they have to say about the perils of same-sex relationships?
Hardly. Diddly squat, in my perspective.
There is also the purely factual, unemotive consideration that said vote has no bearing whatsoever on what is a non-constitutional Act, changeable only by the Parliament.
Not by us as registered voters.
Don't forget that.
My disappointment in the judicial system is vast. Almost as vast as my disappointment in Malcolm Turnbull, who it appears -- and I use that word advisedly -- to be waving his 'vote yes' card madly.
That said, what is there left to do now but take the survey and say yes?
Yes the hell out of it. Yes to the only so-called minority group in Australia finally being given the same right as cousins, the under 18s*, and every religious denomination in the country, to stand up and be legally hitched.
And hope to whoever/whatever is out there in the cosmos, that before September 12, when the postal surveys start their ABS-managed trundle across the country, Turnbull stands up to the far right... and pulls his head out of his own plebisicite.
*I stress that this is only under very carefully considered circumstances, and under the current Marriage Act (1961) Amended, no two persons under the age of 18 can be legally married in Australia.