A very interesting article by Judith Brett, emeritus professor of politics at La Trobe University, on the danger to Australian democracy posed by the advent of the “Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey”. Whatever one’s opinion on the subject matter of that vote… oops, I mean… survey, Brett’s article is certainly worth reading for the larger issue involved in the bending and twisting of Australia’s electoral traditions.
Once, the defence of Australia’s traditions of parliamentary democracy was the core of the Liberal Party’s conservative mission, but no longer. To appease conservative Liberals preoccupied with defending traditional marriage practices, the Coalition cabinet has foisted on the country a hybrid survey/vote that is a travesty of Australia’s democratic electoral traditions. It is a worrying development, no matter what the result, as it displays the authoritarian’s willingness to bend the rules of the game to achieve outcomes prevented by accepted political and legal processes.