Got to get back into the swing of thinking again after a month's break.
Some of you out there might also need a bit of mental exercise, so try and stay with me.
We're going to do a socio-geographical exercise together. If that's not a real term then I already get a bonus point for thinking up a new term that will doubtlessly end up being one of 2016's new additions to the English language.
Now you need to carefully study the two pictures that accompany this post. They're both picturesque stock photos of landmarks and probably recent enough to be indicative of the the cities they represent.
Okay, first stumbling block. One is a city state and the other is widely considered a great big country town with a harbour. But for simplicity let's just call them representative.
One of these cities is chock full of disgruntled queens. The other, Sydney, also has its fair share of unhappy queens, but for differing reasons.
One has a history that traces back hundreds and hundreds of years- replete with its own banking, postal and diplomatic systems. The other only dreams of having that kind of cred.
One has its tentacles firmly entrenched in the business of the larger state that land locks it- a place home to at least 65 million- and whose modern history has often had to be curbed in deference to the undeniable influence that radiates from its walls. A place that has defied and mocked the modern world's emphasis on democracy and church/state, which continues to remain omnipresent even today.
The other is a seemingly unpretentious place, built as much on the idea of modernism as it is on conventions like freedom and equality. Yes there's some nasty nepotism to be found, some unruly groups who are tired of the cultural melting pot and of minorities, but for the most part, a place that doesn't appreciate the meddling of institutions like the church in the affairs of its citizens.
So, back to our quiz.
Today, in 2016, despite the concerted efforts of the church, the passive aggressive meddling of the Vatican and its leader, the conservative media and an endless assortment of private lobby groups, same sex couples can now marry (sorry, have a civil union) in this country.
Yet, to appease a handful of conservatives in a political party, bank rolled and supported as they are by an assortment of private lobby groups, a comparatively minuscule church - which, does not represent the public position of other Christian entities, LGBT couples are still being denied not only the right to be legally recognised, but the bare minimum of respect to have their plight debated in parliament. Parliament, a place which by definition exists to discuss the issues faced by the people and not by political groups who seek to simply retain and renew their grip over power.
Never thought I would live to see the day that Italy offered a set of rights to a segment of its people- despite considerable opposition from a church that still spiritually steers it (and profits from it)- that Australia- a declared secular country thought to be at the forefront of modernity, civility and community spirit won't.
You can spin it all you want Aussies but it's a sad, sad day when a handful of career politicians can undermine democracy just because they can.
Dave Di Vito is a writer, teacher and former curator.He's also the author of the Vinyl Tiger series and Replace The Sky.
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