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The gay marriage bill in Australia was defeated by a large margin a few days ago. Both the Prime Minister Julia Gillard and the Leader of the Opposition Tony Abbott voted against it, with the Leader of the Opposition not allowing a conscience vote despite several Liberal Party MPs being in support of the bill.

Similarly, bipartisan support was given to continue to imprison refugees indefinitely in privately run overseas detention centres. This includes imprisonment of children including children that arrive separately from their families. The conditions have been repeatedly shown to punish and be physically and mentally detrimental to people who are already traumatised by war and torture.

Another policy with bipartisan support is the Northern Territory “intervention” in which poor Indigenous people living in the state with the second highest cost of living have their dole money quarantined from them. Oh, and of course a policy slanted towards removing children from their extended families “for their own good”. And no replacement for the body that used to represent Indigenous people, ATSIC.

What these policies have in common is a complete failure and lack of moral leadership. It’s easier, it seems, to prey on homophobia, xenophobia and racism for votes in “marginal seats” or from “factions” than it is to improve the country and make some kind of meaningful change for the better.

Australia’s policies are roundly condemned by the UN and people in countries around the world. Australia is thought of as a country full of redneck bigots who don’t give any sort of a flying fuck about anyone but themselves and are complete hypocrites when it comes to world affairs.

Hilariously, people here get quite uppity about the Australian episode of the Simpsons.

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