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Adriana Taylor

• The LegCo’s Claimed Reasons For Rejecting Same-Sex Marriage

Advance Summary:

1. Analysis of the speeches of the eight Legislative Councillors who recently opposed the Tasmanian Same-Sex Marriage Bill 2012 shows that at most five spoke against the concept of allowing same-sex marriage at this time in general.  These five were Tania Rattray, Dr Vanessa Goodwin, Adriana Taylor, Ivan Dean and Rosemary Armitage.  (Of these, in Rattray’s case the evidence is arguable and limited.)

2. The remaining Legislative Councillors to vote against (Paul Harriss, Jim Wilkinson and Greg Hall) did not indicate an explicit view for or against federal marriage equality, but expressed reservations about the concept of state-based legislation and/or its delivery.

3. The defeat of the bill cannot therefore be interpreted as a rejection of the concept of marriage equality by the Upper House, and represents only the rejection of a given state-based proposal.

4. Every MLC arguing against the bill argued that it was a federal issue, and every MLC arguing against the concept generally supported the idea of marriage as being only between a man and a woman. 

5. Other common arguments against the bill included the risks, success chances and costs of a High Court challenge, the bill being a second-rate version of the concept, that the bill would not end discrimination, and that the State Government lacked a mandate.

6. Some MLCs voting against the bill made extremely unsound arguments about public opinion.  This suggests a need for politicians to be better briefed on how to (and especially how not to) understand and measure public opinion.

[..]

Mr Wilkinson did later admit that math is not his strong suit, but I suggest it takes something special in that regard to divide half a million by half a million and come up with a thousand as the answer!

It surprised me that the speech by Adriana Taylor, who was never considered especially right-wing or socially conservative in her successful tenure as Mayor of Glenorchy, was the one that most stridently opposed same-sex marriage in general.  Possibly Taylor was saying things some other MLCs also thought but were far too cautious to spell out, but her speech deserves at least two Bernardis out of five for blatant wedge material like the following:

[..]

Well Mr Dean, you may have spoken to a number of people but you did not speak to the right people.  Had you spoken to me I could have explained it to you faster than you could catch an FEP bureaucrat planting bandicoot hairs in a fox scat! (NB I do not believe this happens.)  The explanation goes like this:

[..]

Thirdly, and probably most importantly, opt-in polling of this kind (where a paper puts a poll in its print edition or online and asks people to vote) is prone to what is called “motivated response”. The vast majority of readers do not respond to the survey. Only those who care enough to make the attempt to respond do so.  There are many issues on which majority opinion goes one way but the minority view contains a small core that holds its views extremely strongly and will always mobilise to express them.  Same-sex marriage is a case in point: while the majority supports it at least federally, those who disagree tend more to very strongly disagree.  Some of them are actually genuinely petrified of the prospect of same-sex marriage and its impact on mixed-sex marriage, which is odd, because there is no reason to believe there will be any.

Full article at: http://kevinbonham.blogspot.com.au/2012/11/the-legcos-claimed-reasons-for.html

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• Legislative Council voting patterns since the last Lower House election

Advance Summary

1. This article presents an analysis of voting patterns in the Legislative Council (the upper house of Tasmanian Parliament) based on contested divisions since the last Lower House election in 2010.

2. This article confirms that voting on such issues in the Legislative Council is quite independent, individual and often unpredictable.  Clusters of members with similar views are few and relatively weak.

3. Despite this, the Legislative Council has a “conservative” lean with all members bar possibly one voting to the right of the sole Labor MLC, Craig Farrell.

4. Furthermore, six members of the Council have occupied positions to the right of the sole Liberal MLC, Vanessa Goodwin.

5. Ivan Dean has been the most “conservative” MLC during this period, with either Farrell or Rob Valentine (very limited data available for Valentine) at the other end of the scale.

6. The voting pattern on contentious issues alone is not a fair reflection of the full behaviour of the Council.  Nonetheless it shows that the LegCo can be expected to, from time to time, behave very conservatively on major issues.

[..]

The graph shows that the sole vestige of the once mighty Labor LegCo empire, Craig Farrell, doesn’t have a lot of close colleagues on divided votes.  Rob Valentine and Mike Gaffney display vaguely similar voting patterns.  Ruth Forrest and Kerry Finch are shown as having vague leanings in that direction, though neither of them vote with Farrell all that much.

However, rather than the graph showing that the majority of the chamber is actively anti-Labor, a lot of the other arrows go off more or less perpendicular to Farrell’s.  And this is because there are a few MLCs, Dean and Rattray in particular, who are shown as more or less diametrically opposed to Farrell.  Several Councillors (Goodwin, Taylor, Rattray, Hall, Armitage, Wilkinson) are shown as close to half-way between the left wing of the LegCo and Dean and Rattray.  These are loosely clustered, except that Taylor is much closer to the centre than the others.

[..]

And at a time when independent MLCs are probably seen by many (even me on very rare occasions!) as the last bulwark against the sillier decisions of the Labor-Green coalition, this is probably hardly the time when talk about reform will gain any traction.  While the voters think that there is little or no disease, the physician hardly needs to “heal thyself”.

Full article at: http://kevinbonham.blogspot.com.au/2012/11/the-legcos-claimed-reasons-for.html

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