The thin end of the wedge on anti-discrimination law?

The latest attempt to derail equal marriage was a proposal by a group of conservatives to remove anti-discrimination provision to allow a wide range of discrimination against same-sex married couples. The leading proponent of the proposal was James Paterson who, like so many Liberal MPs, is a former staffer at the Institute of Public Affairs.

Press coverage duly noted that Paterson had answered “Yes” in the postal survey and described him as a supporter of individual liberty, but didn’t as far as I can tell ask the obvious question: is Paterson’s position on discrimination specific to this issue, or does he support a general right to discriminate on racial, religious and other grounds?

The public record isn’t very clear on this. Insofar as he’s said anything about anti-discrimination law, Paterson has been opposed. This is consistent with the orthodox propertarian position that employers, business and landlords should be free from any interference from government. However, so far, he has only made this point explicit in relation to equal marriage and racist speech (Section 18C). So, it would be good to have a clear statement as to whether the current bill is intended as the thin end of the wedge, or whether he sees equal marriage as a special case.

39 thoughts on “The thin end of the wedge on anti-discrimination law?

  1. @D

    And, by your reasoning the percentage of the Australian population who voted NO is

    .384*79.5 = 30.528%

    The ratio of YES/No vote remains constant at 1.604.

    Now, where does this leave your ‘fact’?

    A response rate for a postal survey of 79.5% is impressively high and so is the ratio of 1.6 in favour of YES.

  2. Ernestine,

    It’s not MY reasoning, it’s mathematical fact. Just as your calculation is.

    The difference is that only you are supposing it to encompass that ‘percentage of the Australian population’.

    So, that leaves my ‘fact’… factual.

    Unless you are trying to argue that more than 50% of the electorate voted ‘Yes’, what’s your point?

    Maybe you want to suggest that ALP blocking the compulsory plebiscite was a good idea. I don’t think it was, I think it was cruelly playing pointless partisan games of the most despicable kind – typical of Shorten’s extreme-right ALP.

  3. D,

    The mathematical fact of relevance in your argument is that if the value of the denominator in a simple division is changed then the result changes. You apply this mathematical fact in a biased manner:

    Survey result:
    1. Y/S = x1
    2. N/S = x2
    3. x1+x2 = 1

    Your argument:
    1. Y/E = y1 S

    You are wrong in asserting that my calculation is the same as yours because I checked that y1+y2= 1 (implied in the stated ratio).

    I want to suggest nothing more than your initial post irritated me enough to reply. To be frank, I didn’t expect a reply.

  4. D,

    Some notation doesn’t seem to work. I try again, using letters.

    Your argument:
    1. Y/E = y1 LT x1 where E GT S.

    LT denotes “less than” and GT denotes “greater than”.

  5. @D

    Everybody who has followed this issue knows that the opposition of Labor and the Greens to a public vote reflected the position of same sex marriage advocates, so why are you bothering to do this? Who do you think you are fooling?

    If you want to attack Labor on this issue, why don’t you do so in a sensible manner? There’s plenty of blame to go around, starting with the Latham opposition’s support for Howard’s amendments to the Marriage Act.

  6. To unpack/expand: support for a vote is support for the notion that baseline rights are subject to vote and approval. And thus vote and disapproval: if you wouldn’t support a referendum to see whether equal-marriage rights should be removed, then you can’t support a referendum to see that they should be recognised.

    [and in any case, there’s nothing you can do to argue with bigots, definitionally, so structuring your process to provide rhetorical tools against bigots is… misguided.]

  7. @Julie Thomas
    “How about the notion of the common good as a concept that we could develop and use as a guide? ”
    Good luck with that, when most people seem to be at least two of greedy, selfish and stupid.

    The LNP’s basic manifesto is to preference personal profit over common good.

    When you have the war mongering lying rodent up here campaigning for the LNP, and claiming the Greens are the most dangerous party there is, well, you know there’s just about no hope.

  8. everybody has moments of being greedy,selfish and stupid.

    the same as everybody can elicit individual traits included in the condition psychopathy.

    we all live with that but not that many have all those traits all the time and are in positions of influence and/or authority.

    their was a lib MP who said in parliament that his “religion was a refuge not a platform”.

    while not impressed with ideologists as a tribe (as such),

    i can live with that

  9. @bjb

    yeah we will need some good luck but I’m of the opinion, despite living among the barbarians in regional Qld and even having a neighbour who has put up a vote for One Nation election sign that the greedy selfish and stupid human tendencies that are so apparent are not a necessary feature of human nature.

    At some stage surely it has to become apparent to enough people that there is such a thing as society and that the vast majority of individuals benefit more from living in a non-discriminatory society that aims for equality of opportunity for all than they do from living in an individualist competitive non society in which only those able to take advantage of less able individuals prosper.

    Of course such an ideal society is a ‘horizon value’ but as in the quest for individual enlightenment, the pathway toward this state is as important as the destination.

    The common good is recognised by Catholics if not all ‘true’ Christians as a concept and has been part of the philosophy of western civilisation for a long time and there are a lot of ideas about what it is or could be. Perhaps it is only libertarian philosophy that denies that there is a society and a common good?

    So it shouldn’t be impossible to create a conversation in which enough people are introduced to the concept and recognise it as an idea that we have ignored for too long.

    Also, human nature is capable of both right wing tendencies – that is people can turn out to be greedy, selfish and stupid – or they can be left wing – we can grow to be generous to our fellow humans, see the benefits for ourselves in acting fairly and having self-insight and as May points out most of us are both at times.

    What is it that makes it more likely that people will become right wing than left wing? Right wing ism isn’t genetic so there must be a way to create people who are capable of understanding the rationality of collectivism over individualism and behaving sanely rather than being psychopaths or sociopaths.

  10. Conservatives were not concerned about religious freedoms whilst Muslim bashing for votes. I think it was J Lambie who wanted CCTV in all mosques. Also a 51% win in an election is often said to be a mandate ,now they are suddenly worried about the losers feelings?

    Fear of others seems easier to generate than trust ,especially when our society has been one of winners and losers for so long now . There are several generations with experience of nothing but greed is good society .The Left and Right face the same enemy -grotesque inequality. Rightists have just been fooled into blaming foreigners for it. Still, I am optimistic -hoping for a youthquake.

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