Distraction politics via emoji

by Chris Becker

This is a live Facebook reaction to PM Can-do-nothing Turnbull explaining why he’s wasting $120 million on a non-binding postal vote to decide marriage rights.

Like those who discount Trump’s errant Tweets about Transgender personnel in the US military, this is not a “stupid” or “misguided” adventure by the Coalition.

It’s distraction politics at its finest.


  1. but that’s what gay marriage, climate change, transgender crap all are…… distractions.

    They would rather the public be distracted with this rubbish, then actually understand the real issues that are screwing them.

    All they need to do is engineer a ‘terror plot’ or talk about ‘gay marriage’ and it fills the airwaves, and takes any other news story off the agenda.

    • Agreed, I can’t believe people haven’t realised the way the debate about climate change is framed it stops people fighting for the real environmental issues like we shouldn’t be pouring chemicals into our water, air and food, we shouldn’t be wholesale clearing forests etc etc etc.

      As for terror plots, that’s so passé. Don’t you know summer is around the corner and there are flesh eating sea lice!

    • I’ll be voting yes just take it off the agenda. If I hear it much more I might turn gay myself. Not.

    • That Korean bomb must be true though.
      They keep talking it up.
      I mean 20 years to build a hotel, but they can rustle up a Nuke in minutes…

    • Mining BoganMEMBER

      That’s some serious inflation right there. From $1.5m of his own money at the last election to $120m of taxpayers money at the next election.

      Wonder if they can negative gear it.

    • Jumping jack flash

      Since selling off all of their main responsibilities to the private sector, and in the process becoming hopelessly out of touch with the people who actually depended on those responsibilities daily, both parties are looking for something to do.


      Just give them something they can do to show everyone that they’re not irrelevant yet. Something they can govern the crap out of.

      Essentially, after following the path of Thatcherism for the best part of 30 years, they are now discovering the curse of British “efficiency” it was built upon.

  2. According to the census there are 47,000 same sex couples in Australia that’s 94,000 people or about 0.4% of the population. Assume say, 25% want to get married then that’s 0.1% of the population. But that’s a big assumption, I would have thought most same-sex couples would have tended to be more progressive, less religious, less inclined to conform to old fashioned social conventions.

    • First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
      Because I was not a Socialist.

      Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
      Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

      Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
      Because I was not a Jew.

      Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

      Martin Niemöller was a prominent Protestant pastor who emerged as an outspoken public foe of Adolf Hitler and spent the last seven years of Nazi rule in concentration camps.

      • migtronixMEMBER

        Before they did any of that the homosexual brown shirts were running around beating everyone up…

      • Oh I’m 100% in favour of letting anyone get married who wants to as a matter of principle, but as someone living with a long term partner and 2 kids and *not* married, I actually think its time we downgraded the status of wedlock for everyone, gay and straight.

        Why shouldn’t “12 years living together raising kids” have equal status as “fell in love on a holiday, ducked into a registry and tied the know two weeks later”?

      • Dan totally with you mate, 15 years with the same woman, we’re practically married already, just not officially. Although we’re going to make it official, mostly for her and her religious reasons. But i’ve often thought we’ve been together longer than many married couples anyway. Besides she’s entitled to half my stuff by now I’m sure anyway. 😀

    • The census estimated the number of couples at roughly 5 million, so same sex couples are roughly 1% of all couples, not 0.4%, though as, J Bauer points out, that’s a little beside the point.
      Also, from 2011 census to 2016 census, the number of same sex couples counted grew around 50%, while Australian population grew around 9%, suggesting there was under-counting last time, and possibly more undercounting to be addressed. Certainly very likely still more increases in proportion of same sex couples to come as people who came of age post gay stigma become more prevalent (you’re not especially old if you reached adolescence before the last Australian state took sodomy off the books in 1997).

      • I was strongly opposed to the Queensland anti-bikie laws, the only recent time that springs to mind that 1%ers have been threatened via legislation.

    • darklydrawlMEMBER

      It’s largely about legal and property rights. Having marriage legally recognised enforces that. Otherwise you can be a gay couple together for years and if one partner dies the other one can get nothing. All SSM should do is equalise the law for everyone. It is freak’n no brainer. Keep religion out of it. It is all about legal rights.

      • I assumed a same sex couple would have the same legal rights as any other defacto couple:

        ” The laws cover property division, maintenance, financial agreements and the superannuation of people in de facto relationships. All de facto couples have the same rights as married couples under the Family Law Act in relation to the distribution of property. Same-sex relationships are included within the definition of ‘de facto couple’ in federal laws. The Child Support (Assessment) Act also applies to same-sex couples.”

      • So it turns out same sex relationship= de facto = “proper” marriage under the law.

        The difference is there is a chance you may have to show it , if a dispute and there are tests e.g. relationship lasted longer than 2 years, or raised children together, or had joint finances/purchases. Frankly if you haven’t met one of those 3 conditions I wouldn’t call it a marriage, Perhaps those tests should apply to ALL marriages and we should do away with the shortcut of simply registering a marriage and that’s it.

        And I do believe we long term defactos make up a much greater and growing proportion of couples.

      • migtronixMEMBER

        Well said Dan. Who in their right fucking mind needs the government to sanction their relationship? Idiots is who

    • I think the main beef is that it’s a law that specifically discriminates based on gender… the law should apply to people equally, regardless of gender, colour or creed.

      And you can thank Howard for the whole thing. Prior to 2004, there was no definition of Marriage in the act, so it would’ve been fine to just leave it how it was. But you know ol’ Johnny… he loves a good social engineering. It wasn’t contentious at the time because a lot of gay people were still closeted back then (homosexuality was only legalised within the decade before it).

      I think the reason that the religious right is so fervent on this issue is because it is really the last bastion of their influence on legislation. If SSM gets passed, there’s no special law left that gives them the right to tell people what to do, how to live their lives, etc.

      • It doesn’t discriminate on gender, it discriminates on the basis of having officially registered something, which same sex couples tbf aren’t allowed to do

        Having marriage defined as something you can simply register would seem to favour:

        -religious conservatives (of many faiths)
        -cultures where arranged marriage is the norm
        -gold diggers
        -a few hopeless young romantics who believe they’ve found their life partner after a shag or two

        then again “favour” isn’t quite the right word since the law only comes into play when there is a property or custody dispute, divorce or death. So again, why would anyone want to get officially “married” prematurely, when the law will consider you so anyway if you manage to stick together for a couple of years, or survive some relationship shit like choosing a fridge, dealing with some overdue bills, or deciding on a school for your unborn child?

  3. Sick to death of this subject.

    I thought Parliament should’ve voted on it, was happy with a plebescite and now, at last, a postal vote. Get it over and done with. Such an irrelevancy in the scheme of things.

      • Are you capable of forming an opinion on the subject of SSM, political inability to make a decision and the plebescite proposal, given the excessive attention this subject has received. Or are you just here to be a prickly character.

      • ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

        Ouch Cristian!,…that’s the First time I’ve seen “Simone” swear at someone!

        It must have been a long day of Astro turfing for her Today,…not long to go now till knockoff, ” sweetheart.

      • ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

        With 2 minutes to spare “Simone” edited the word “Prick”,…to “Prickly character”.

        She’s a Damn fine and polished Astro turfer, alright.

    • Instead of talking about gays marriaging and silently revolving entire policy around banking and property like complete mafia skanks maybe you could talk to your poncy Lib mates about getting an industry going here that makes one thousand dollar pairs of shoes. I’d much rather throw tax payer money at something like that than making old houses that smell like farts and other residual human organic matter cost one and a half million dollars.

      • Instead of talking about gays marriaging and silently revolving entire policy around banking and property like complete mafia skanks maybe you could talk to your poncy Lib mates about getting an industry going here that makes one thousand dollar pairs of shoes.

        Make Australia the kind of place couture fashion thrives? So, I guess you would need to make Australia the most welcoming place on earth for people like Calvin Klein, Giannia Versace and Karl Lagerfeld…

      • migtronixMEMBER

        Lol! What like China? Last i heard theres a Versace hotel here… Keep up the lefty swooning Stat 👏👏

      • We’re so sophisticated and cosmopolitan we should be able to do it ourselves without the big names.

    • Could almost buy that if you didn’t also think inequality and systematic money laundering were irrelevancies.
      Why can’t we have a postal vote on those issues?

      • migtronixMEMBER

        28 year old Carlton residents are demographically speaking the least likely to care about SSM 🙄

    • Sweeper: I don’t care about SSM, I don’t oppose it though. I just think end all the noise about it and settle the matter. Then I don’t ever want to hear about it again. It has been done to death, yes, like inquality for example.

      A private member’s bill moved by Labor backbencher Stephen Jones to amend the Marriage Act and allow gay and lesbian couples to marry, was voted down in the House of Representatives yesterday 98 votes to 42.

      In a highly unusual move, Julia Gillard and several senior ministers, including Treasurer Wayne Swan, Environment Minister Tony Burke, and Trade Minister Craig Emerson as well as former leader Kevin Rudd moved to the Coalition benches, facing almost 40 of their Labor colleagues as the vote was counted.

      Was it this big an issue when Julia Gillard and Penny Wong were in Government and opposed it?

      • “like inequality for example”. Seriously? Tell that to the homeless person you are likely to bump into on the way to the Carlton wine bar.

      • Even if you thought inequality was a non issue, you don’t do yourself any favours by falsely comparing an issue on individual legal rights with one about underlying social-political power and economic justice.
        What do you think politics should be fought on?

      • migtronixMEMBER

        August 18, 2015 at 11:08 am
        A stroke of genius on the day! Who’s even talking about climate policy now, who even cares!!

        If you believe the Twitterati and chattering (shrieking) types it’s all about rainbows. And unicorns. To get the matter off the front pages, do the plebiscite now. If you’re happy to have such a petty stupidity dominate debate every day, run with it…could be a method in the madness…I’m already leaning toward a No simply because I’m sick to death of the whole thing and don’t particularly believe in marriage in any case.

      • Sweeper, you introduced inequality and money laundering, not I. I don’t think inequality is a non-issue, just an overblown one. HILDA advised we are more equitable now than forty years ago.

        If Gillard and her Government had acted when in power it would saved five years of endless blah blah about SSM. Those that wanted to get married could and I’m guessing family lawyers would be even busier.

        Gillard and her Government had the opportunity to eliminate this particular inequality, but did not. Now the people will.

      • An overblown one? Well be assured that the old money ruling class of Toorak, Armadale and Kooyong, who are currently whipping their management doormats to take a tougher line against the unions in the interests of their future fully franked dividends, certainly don’t think it’s an overblown one. They think it’s acutely important. The shiny suit, social climbers of South Yarra, not so much.

  4. Mining BoganMEMBER

    Distraction indeed. While this malarky was going on the LNP voted against a judicial inquiry into the Murray water theft.

    Another whitewash on the way.

    • migtronixMEMBER

      A case of sudden stabby syndrome has just come over me! Fill the lake – with pollies…

  5. Not distraction politics. This is the LNP’s way of subverting Labor’s wedge politics. LNP will save face by keeping their election promise of voters having the final say. A “no” vote would be a bonus of wedging Labor into taking a policy into the next election “against the will of Australian voters”.

  6. casewithscience

    Hang on – I know some people on here think that government is just about money and economics, but the Commonwealth Parliament have a legitimate role in determining the status of legal relationships between citizens. It is literally in the Constitution:

    The Parliament shall, subject to this Constitution, have power to make laws for the peace, order, and good government of the Commonwealth with respect to:
    (xx) foreign corporations, and trading or financial corporations formed within the limits of the Commonwealth;
    (xxi) marriage;
    (xxii) divorce and matrimonial causes; and in relation thereto, parental rights, and the custody and guardianship of infants;
    (xxiii) invalid and old-age pensions;

    The Parliament has a job to review these policies and the tories literally have division about it. I don’t think Malcolm Turnbull wants to look at any of these issues. He is being forced into it. That is not distraction politics. Distraction politics is when you are in the hot seat (because your latest attempt to make Mexico build a wall is failing) and THEN you start wailing on the poorly defended social group.

    • migtronixMEMBER

      It says a lot idiotic things

      “viii.) Astronomical and meteorological observations:”

      • The Traveling Wilbur

        So my horoscope’s compiled using public monies? Someone should have seen this coming and warned us!

      • casewithscience

        No – but the regulation of the GPS system and BOM are actually vital to our economy.

        Just saying.

      • migtronixMEMBER

        No they’re not, GPS is from the US military and BOM is bullshit, everyone uses Accuweather

        Just saying

    • We know its the polly’s job, thats why its offensive. Can you imagine doing a $120m survey for each of the topics the feds are responsible for?

  7. number one reason they opposed the plebiscite is bc they want to stack the cards 100% to ensure without a doubt they win. even though there was a really low chance the plebiscite would return a “no” vote the gays knew if that eventuated gay marriage would be off the table for the next 25 years. a parliamentary vote loss is NBD, just wait for a political reshuffling.

  8. I’m of the opinion that if they put it through Parliament as law without consulting me, I’d give less than half a shit. But if they make me postal vote I’ll vote no.. 😛

  9. Jumping jack flash

    Its politics 101, or maybe 201…

    With nothing else to do, because all responsibility has been sold off…
    Hopelessly out of touch with the people you govern because you don’t have really any control over anything that directly impacts them any more…

    The people start thinking “why do we need these jokers, sucking up our taxes for actually doing nothing?”
    Slowly at first, then faster and faster.

    Suddenly, a wild gay marriage appears!
    A manufactured problem, that isn’t actually a problem for anyone, but it is blown all out of proportion by the media (for no reason).

    Conveniently, the government spends months deliberating, musing, arguing, postulating and promulgating solutions to this problem they themselves created, because they really had nothing else to do instead.

    You can only quaff so much red in the parliamentary cafeteria before the barman asks you politely whether they should call your car to take you home.