Gay Marriage: Shorten’s Glib Stunt Warrants Disgust, Not Votes

ANYONE who thinks Bill Shorten’s decision to “pull the trigger” on gay marriage is based on principle should take a very cold shower and think again; news Shorten will exploit this issue when his leadership (and Labor’s polling) is disintegrating — with two gay marriage bills already set to be tabled — speaks of a shameless oaf obsessed by self-interest. Decent folk are entitled to be disgusted, but gay people should be affronted by Shorten’s stunt.

With everything that has been going on in federal politics of late (with the undercurrent, of course, of a general recovery in the political stocks of the Abbott government), I have been expecting some sort of stunt to be pulled by Bill Shorten at some point, and I guess that time is now.

The “news” that Labor’s so-called “leader” will move a motion to “establish marriage equality” is as predictable as it is contemptible, but given so much of the bullshit Shorten passes off as “leadership” is predicated on an assumption that stupid people will be impressed by (and vote for) meaningless drivel, it hardly comes as any surprise.

First things first: for a little extra coverage, readers can — depending on preference — access news articles on this latest gem from the Labor Party from both the Fairfax and Murdoch press.

I had intended to talk about other aspects of the antics of the Left, but that article will have to wait: we’ll see what Wednesday brings, and I might return to the planned theme in the evening.

But I will admit that I have spent several hours pondering exactly how to respond to the Earth-shattering revelation that Bill Shorten — man of the people, orator of our time, and Prime Minister-in-waiting — would right a heinous and grievous wrong in Australian society by single-handedly resolving the gay marriage issue in a noble, principled, and decent stand.

Regrettably, noble, decent, and principled are not words that spring to mind when discussing Bill Shorten. My sarcasm is well indicated.

It’s difficult to be impressed by this “initiative,” coming as it does when no fewer than two bills aimed at legalising gay marriage are already set to be considered by Parliament; libertarian Senator David Leyonhjelm signalled his intention months ago to try to restart the process to legislate gay marriage, and of course, the Communist Party Greens (with their deep attention to just about everything except the environment these days) are also set to have a gay marriage bill introduced to Parliament shortly.

In other words, news of the new Shorten initiative satisfies an apparent Shorten Labor prerequisite: it’s completely pointless.

And it’s difficult to ignore the fact that this move on Shorten’s part just happens to coincide with the point at which both his colleagues and a large chunk of the voting public have started to wake up to the utter liability his “leadership” has saddled the ALP with; just this morning, we looked at a very senior Labor figure whose withdrawal of support for Shorten was drawn with a fitting parallel with the Labour leader trounced in a general election in Britain earlier this month, whose own policies (coincidentally) had been likened by one of his own senior advisers to a “steaming pile of fudge.”

Quite.

Yes, the voters are growing sick of Shorten, with his empty rhetoric, his silly slogans, his irresponsible political posturing and his gambling with the national finances in the Senate for supposed political advantage, and his “zingers;” the trend across reputable opinion polls for the past couple of months has seen the Coalition gaining ground to the point a lead — and a possible election-winning position — can’t be too far away, and against all odds Joe Hockey’s second budget, whilst not perhaps doing him any favours personally, has done nothing to hinder this movement away from the ALP.

Now his own party is fed up with him as well, and in addition to the article earlier today, another piece I published recently focused on the clear positioning of Tanya Plibersek to replace him. The fact that Plibersek would shape as a bigger political disaster for the ALP than Shorten is beside the point; the early signs Labor wants a new leader are now writ large for all to see. (And, frankly, who could blame them, if Shorten is the best they can manage?)

So, with his back to the wall and his cosy trot toward office threatening to be derailed by forces he might have controlled, but didn’t — preferring instead to take the lazy option of opposing everything and calling people names — what does Shorten do?

He pulls a pointless stunt.

It is only possible to really appreciate the motivation for this latest piece of Shorten cretinism by revisiting his campaign for Labor’s leadership 18 months ago; here is an article I published at the time detailing the slavering rhetoric he deployed to pander to Labor members who were part of minority communities, and here is another from that time that noted, among other things, a promise by Shorten (in a sop to the gay community) to create a shadow ministry for “equality” if he became leader.

In the time that has since elapsed, the eloquent and explicit concern Shorten expressed for minority communities has evaporated, and has subsequently formed no part of his fatuous and meaningless diatribes. The promised “equality” portfolio, unsurprisingly, never materialised.

I don’t support gay marriage, as regular readers know; partly because I think gay people are smart enough to come up with their own institution — not least because a significant (but unquantifiable) number of them don’t want anything to do with a “hetero” institution like marriage — partly because marriage, historically, has never been between two men or two women; and partly because I would like to think that sufficient progress has been made in such areas as granting next-of-kin rights and other legal recognitions of their status without recourse to dumb slogans like “marriage equality” and “equal love” which, whether you support the measure or not, trivialise a difficult social issue and needlessly tokenise the people at the centre of it.

But whether you are in favour of the notion of gay marriage or oppose it, today’s developments over at Shorten’s Labor Party follow a disturbing yet familiar storyline.

Under Shorten, the ALP has spent 18 months advocating few policies of its own, and those it has advocated have either been rejected already by voters, are presented as undetailed thought bubbles designed to provoke favourable responses, or would cause massive chaos and disruption to service delivery, right up to the likely cost of countless lives (as the abolition of the private health insurance rebate would surely cause when it triggers the collapse of the healthcare system if ever implemented).

Under Shorten, a concurrent strategy has been pursued of opposing anything and everything put to Parliament by the Abbott government (except spending increases); an utterly fraudulent stance of denial over the state Labor left the place in when it was kicked out of office in 2013 has been rigorously maintained, and a primary focus on name-calling and sloganeering followed in the absence of detailed policy work or other substantial contributions to the national debate.

For some time, this reaped great rewards in reputable opinion polls but of course, the problem with any ruse is that with time, it becomes harder to maintain, unless the opponent is so dysfunctional as to unwittingly fulfil the false prophesies of their own doom that are being bandied about.

And so it has proven.

Now, with the sky about to fall on him, Shorten has rediscovered the mojo and passion for minorities that once seemed so sincere to the gullible, but which have been neither seen nor heard of ever since.

Nobody should take Shorten seriously on this, and nobody should accord him any credit or acclaim for “introducing” something that was already in the process of being introduced by other interests not once, but twice.

Unable to make any headway on economic matters (for the simple reason he and his party have absolutely no credibility on these subjects), Shorten — with an eye to big public approval numbers where the question of gay marriage is concerned — now seeks to use his latest ruse to detract from the incompetent fist he has made of his “leadership,” and to claim what he obviously thinks is the ascendancy over a government led by an intelligent, rational conservative who just happens to oppose the same wildly popular measure Shorten now seeks to milk.

If Shorten’s behaviour as a “leader” to date hasn’t been bad enough to convince some, this tacky, transparently cynical manoeuvre to hitch a ride on the back of gay marriage must surely convince people that Shorten will say and do anything he thinks will win votes, but that questions of how sincere or principled such activities are do not resolve themselves in his favour.

I think good, decent folk (and I include, of course, the gay community in this) are entitled to be absolutely disgusted by the grubby and almost amoral approach Shorten has taken on this for no better reason than an obsession with his own fortunes, and obvious near-panic about the prospect of being dumped as “leader” by a party with enough accrued IQ points to at least recognise the millstone he constitutes around Labor’s collective neck.

But those in the gay community are entitled to be especially aggrieved and affronted by Shorten’s new-found fervour in their interest; the last time he offered smooth talk about their rights it was to secure the Labor leadership, and even then he didn’t deliver what he promised; now, sinking into the deepening political quicksand his own stupidity and incompetence have led him to, he wants to be “a friend” to the gay community once again.

In the final analysis, this transcends the issue of gay marriage altogether, for Shorten’s behaviour on the issue is merely representative of his approach to just about every other issue he is forced to consider and address: expediency is everything, where Shorten is concerned, and the old adage about Labor caring about power, not people, finds no better embodiment than in the words and deeds of the party’s present “leader.”

As much as I’d love Shorten to be “leading” Labor come election time, it runs counter to the national interest for an imbecile like this to remain even as opposition leader. After all — and the continued haemorrhage in government finances Shorten’s Senate antics have exacerbated prove it — the role of opposition leader is not a powerless one despite sitting outside the government, and Shorten’s leadership has been used to cause great damage to the welfare of this country for no better reason than the advancement of his quest to be Prime Minister.

Politically, tactically and strategically, the time for Bill Shorten’s opponents to (figuratively) belt him from arsehole to breakfast — and kill off his worthless pretension as the “leader” of a major mainstream political party once and for all — is well and truly at hand.

When the Great Man Himself so brazenly walks all over one section of the community he professes to care about, on what he misguidedly thinks is his path to the Prime Ministership, that obligation becomes easier by the day to discharge.

 

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