Tuesday, April 23, 2013

A Clash of Symbols

Full story here
Hmm. Sounds ominous.
Oh dear. I take it that this will shortly lead to the downfall of the O'Farrell government? NSW politics in crisis. Elekshun nao?

Maybe not.

Fred Nile sits in the Upper House along with fellow Christian Democrat Paul Green. Much like in the Federal Senate, the status of the Upper House has no direct relation to the stability of the government itself. O'Farrell does not have an outright majority in the Upper House with or without the CDP, and he doesn't need one.

He has no (public) written agreement with the two conservative minor parties (the CDP and the Shooters and Fishers). That's not just because he doesn't need one - he promised he wouldn't before the election. As Labor put it in their glossy brochure that I wrote about previously:
Moreover, the Coalition hardly has the CDP votes in the bag. One would expect the CDP to support most O'Farrell bills (both being from the same wing of politics), but one would also expect them to extract their pound of flesh from time to time.

Such is the major party/minor party relationship. Twas ever thus.

Why is it, exactly, that Nile is in such a frenzy? It's this:
See the story here
As I've explained before, it makes no (direct) difference what anyone in the NSW government says or thinks about the gay marriage debate. O'Farrell's position is a purely symbolic one - something he has said for the headline.

That's fine. If journalists are willing to publish a few positive pieces about O'Farrell being in favour of gay marriage, then good luck to him.

Nile's little tantrum is not quite as obvious. For all his flaws, Nile is not an idiot. He knows that O'Farrell's words make no difference to anything. Homosexual people will not be able to marry their partners until Federal Labor supports it outright or until the Federal Coalition makes it (at least) a conscience vote - and neither of those things will happen until it is electorally expedient (if even then).

So why is Nile throwing his toys? Simple.

Can you imagine the calls Nile must have been getting over the last few days? His star is hitched to the Coalition wagon - and I think it is safe to assume that his supporters are absolutely ropeable at O'Farrell. And they are surely letting Nile know about it.

So he has to kick up a bit of a stink. Once the fuss dies down, Nile will continue to support most of the Coalition's legislative agenda, and will continue to demand concessions as and when it suits him.

Two flagrantly symbolic and utterly irrelevant acts. Can you tell the two Houses aren't sitting at the moment?

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