Thursday, April 18, 2013

Marriage Bill Displayed Parliament at its Best


I listened (until a late hour) to all the speeches to the Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill. I was impressed by many who I wouldn't normally support, such as John Banks, who presented reasoned, rational arguments. I was impressed by almost all speakers from all sides of the house and even those who spoke against the bill. I appreciated the way that Jonathan Young graciously accepted that he was in the minority. I was moved by the references to those who had pioneered the way to this day and had endured some appalling treatment in doing so. This was Parliament at its best.

If only we could remember this moment where party politics were forgotten and MPs voted according to their conscience and their core values. Where  economic considerations and restrictive budgets were set aside and the focus was purely on what was just and fair. It is wonderful that this process was used to give our GBLTI community the equality, justice and recognition they have dreamed of for eons.

I just wish that this example of how our political system could operate could be transferred to other issues. Some of these are:
  1. The right of a child to be properly supported and cared for and not have to experience poverty.
  2. The protection of our environment for future generations.
  3. The valuing of female dominated jobs that involve caring for our most vulnerable through fair pay and working conditions.
  4. The protection of our indigenous species and biodiversity for future generations.
  5. The rights of refugees to get support and protection from other nations.
  6. The right of families to be able to live in warm, healthy homes.
  7. The equal right to a quality education.
  8. The right to financial support when it is really needed without judgement or persecution.
  9. The right to question and protest decisions that may have a negative impact on people and the environment without persecution.
  10. The right to the necessities of life (food, shelter, heating, communication...) in an economic environment doesn't take advantage of those needs to increase profits unreasonably and restrict access to those who are economically disadvantaged.
  11. The right to legal support to ensure just and fair outcomes. 
  12. The right to exist within an economy that is sustainable and equitable
Just imagine the different outcomes to budgets and legislation... 

11 comments:

Shane Pleasance said...

Are you suggesting then that, like last night, the government ought to have the ability to grant rights?

bsprout said...

I think it is more about recognizing rights, Shane. The UN's Declaration of Human Rights should be non-negotiable and yet our Parliament regularly passes legislation that contravenes it. Excuses to do this are often fiscal ones and are generally about ensuring that those who have wealth and privilege have their status protected.

http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/index.shtml

bsprout said...

Gordon Campbell also provides a supporting view: http://gordoncampbell.scoop.co.nz/2013/04/18/gordon-campbell-on-the-same-sex-marriage-vote-and-the-current-dotcom-law-case/

Shane Pleasance said...

We have already discussed human rights. The UN list is a laughable collection of logical fallacies and a roadmap to totalitarianism. Nothing more.

bsprout said...

I guess we will have to disagree on this. :-)

Shane Pleasance said...

Its not a matter of agreeing or disagreeing, it is a matter of fact.

First of all, rights are inherent, and cannot be granted.

Secondly, how can you have a right to freedom and property, AND free education?

robertguyton said...

The Government doesn't have the right to grant rights.
Nor does it have the right to deny them :-)

bsprout said...

Shane, how would you ensure that people don't have their rights ignored or abused (I won't get into a debate on what determines a right at this point)?

Armchair Critic said...

Shane, your last comment reads like you want to deny Dave the right to disagree. That's kind of bizarre.

Shane Pleasance said...

@Rob - great to see we have agreement that the government cannot grant rights.

@Armchair Critic - Of course he can disagree - it is his blog. But he is wrong. Black is black unless Dave says it is white?

@Dave, unless there is agreement on the rights of the the individual, it is not worth having a debate.

robertguyton said...

You're doubtless agreeing with the second part of my comment also, Shane (you forgot to mention it).