Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Political farce

I have been appalled by the poor performance of elected officials in the Australian parliament lately. So what is new. The latest inability of elected officials to reach a decision that is decisive and worthy of the title leadership is one of the most spectacular debacles I have seen in politics.  It rates as highly as the inability of the South African Parliament to pass a no confidence motion.  This would imply that the Australian government is no more than a third world country with third world immature political decision making.

The government holds to the notion that because it has a majority (of 2 in the lower house and none in the Senate), it has a mandate to undertake its policies.  Following this notional authority of mandate has led many parishes and other institutions into a lot of strife / division and uncertainty.  Yes, the government was elected as a result of its policies but not as a result of any one policy.  The poor majority gives those in power the limited mandate to govern justly not a mandate on every single policy that they said they would undertake.  If they want a mandate on each policy the people should have been given the opportunity to vote on each policy (not a very good way to elect a government) or else they should hold a clear majority in both houses.  I suspect that if they had the single policy of a plebiscite on marriage they would not have a majority in the lower house, slim or otherwise.  Good governance suggests that those in authority have been elected for their (supposed) wisdom and ability to lead in times of divisiveness and  struggle.  This means that they should have some flexibility of thought and understanding of what the community wishes.  In terms of their limited majority situation it means that they have to enter into dialogue and compromise with all other members of the parliament to achieve a way forward into a less divisive future.

The tug of war between sides.  Where is love and acceptance?

What is even more farcical is that the elected government, who bleats at every possible moment about the lack of financial stability, is even considering a vote (you do not have to vote vote now) which expends finances that could be better spent on those that are at the lower end of the economic spectrum or sorting our matters of more importance, i.e. health inequality, etc.  The fact that the vote is non-binding is even more farcical.  If the vote is "no", the government has a "mandate" not to change the marriage act, if the vote is "yes" it means that there is a "mandate" to vote in parliament which is 'non binding' and can be either as a conscience or directed vote on party lines.  This is nuts.  It still ends up as a vote in Parliament if it is yes, Why, spend the money, just to ease a conscience on a promise (one of many) made at an election?  Is this good governance?

In terms of the debate around the understanding of "marriage", this becomes even more farcical when you have proponents saying that this is a Christian institution and must uphold to an individual or a denominations interpretation of God and God's intention.  (I am uncertain if I know of anyone who knows the mind of God).  The sacrament of "marriage", as I understand it, the outward expression of the inward grace, is at the point of the freely exchanged vows between the couple in the presence of GOD. (As Christians maybe we can debate this especially as many Christians do not accept marriage as a sacrament.  Only Baptism and Eucharist are sacraments given by Christ.)  This is within the Christian interpretation seen as between a man and a woman.  However, this is the sacrament, the outward expression of an inward grace. "Marriage" as it currently stands is a civil and legal requirement of government which should be looked at from this viewpoint.  The religious view is for those committed to a faith path.  If we want a biblical marriage maybe there is room for a polygamous one?  As Christians we would be hypocritical to deny the legal expression of a person's love for another.  I would prefer to see committed love rather than an increasingly acrimonious statistic on divorce and broken relationship.

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