The five worst arguments for voting ‘No’

Today, the High Court is hearing arguments about the same-sex marriage plebisurveythingummy, which, in the opinion of constitutional guru George Williams, is likely to be struck down. But while the silks slug it out, what better time to look at the arguments that have been playing out in the public space?

The curious thing about the No campaign is that the arguments advanced rarely have much to do with the central question of whether two people of the same sex should be allowed to enter a secular marriage.

So let’s take a look at some of the things the No campaign has been talking about instead of the question being posed in the ABS one-question questionnaire — “should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry?” Continue Reading →

If Trump can be president, why shouldn’t Tom Hanks be next?

Whether you consider yourself one of “Trump’s Aussie Mates” like Mark Latham, or view the President-elect as one of the Four Businessmen of the Apocalypse, one thing cannot be denied about Donald J. Trump. Of all the candidates who ran in the US election, he was undoubtedly the most entertaining.

Hillary Clinton was predictable, safe and samey, a policy wonk who probably spends her holidays devouring briefing papers by the pool. Whereas Donald Trump spent his career slapping his name on gaudy buildings, and firing people on television. If the voters had been looking for traditional qualifications like experience, it would have been as easy as choosing between Trump University and Harvard.

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2016 might be ending, but we can expect worse in 2017

David Bowie. Alan Rickman. Prince. Muhammad Ali. Leonard Cohen. Sharon Jones. George Michael. Carrie Fisher. The list of the icons that we’ve lost this year reads like a morbid update of We Didn’t Start the Fire.

At times, the deaths have come so rapidly that we haven’t had time to process one before being slugged by another. In January, David Bowie, Alan Rickman and Glenn Frey within eight days. And just since Christmas, George Michael, Carrie Fisher, and then her mother Debbie Reynolds.

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Visiting the world’s oldest café

I love cafés. I love proper espresso coffee, idle chatting while I sip it, and those little cakes that are just small enough to let me pretend that they’re not unhealthy.

I like my water served sparkling, my toast with ‘smashed avo’, and I like using my local café as a ‘coffice’ even though that’s the worst portmanteau word besides ‘webinar’.

Yes, I’m an inner-city, lattè-sipping, walking stereotype, so when I recently visited Paris I made sure I visited as many of them as humanly possible. Continue Reading →

I’m over Pokémon Go… what’s next?

On Sunday night, I found the best Pokémon I’ve ever seen. Right in the middle of Hyde Park, inappropriately close to the Pool of Reflection, I discovered a Golduck worth a whopping 917 combat points – more than anything in my Pokédex.

If you’re one of the rapidly dwindling number who isn’t playing Pokémon Go, that’s like coming across a $100 note, if the $100 wasn’t worth anything except in some stupid game.

But I was excited. With this spiky-headed blue creature in my Pokéarsenal, I could win my first Pokégym battle and capture the nearby obelisk for Team Red. Continue Reading →

Who’s up for another election?

Hallelujah, the election is over! Well, overish. Well, a result seems likely, at some point in the not too distant future, definitely this year. Probably. Once the AEC, the planets and Antony Green are all in alignment. Subject to recount, rethink, relapse, the Court of Disputed Returns, and the mercurial whim of Bob Katter.

At the time of writing, Malcolm Turnbull was the more likely prime minister, not least because he’s currently the prime minister, and will remain so until anybody else is.

And while his plea of “stick to the plan” has been met by the electorate with “no thanks, we prefer knife-edge near-chaos, if it’s all the same to you”, the PM is likely to be able to make the stronger case to the crossbenchers. Perhaps not numerically, but as we saw on election night, certainly in terms of emphatic, fistpumping rhetoric. Continue Reading →

Sydney shouldn’t shut down just because it’s cold

Sydneysiders used to hibernate in cold weather. After months of beach dips, backyard barbecues and outdoor festivals, we’d shut ourselves away from May to August, only leaving the house if paid to do so.

In winter we shivered under our doonas and hugged hot water bottles because as a matter of pride, we refused to build our houses with central heating. I mean, we aren’t Melbourne.

It’s a vibrant time of the year for Sydneysiders, when the glow from the 23-day festival takes over the city.

Our winter social calendars were emptier than a screening of Zoolander 2. It was unthinkable to attend weddings, parties, or anything beyond a pub with a roaring fireplace and the footy on a big screen. Continue Reading →