Opinion

Our silence means more Aussie girls will keep being abused

Our silence means more Aussie girls will keep being abused

This week a 35-year-old man was sentenced to jail for a year for marrying a 14-year-old girl last year.

They were not married in any legal way, but were married in the eyes of their faith.

An Imam in Victoria agreed to marry the pair despite the fact the girl was clearly younger than 18.

When he went before court he was effectively given a suspended sentence and he'll never go to jail for what he did.

The 'husband' in this crime got 18 months in jail, but with time served and good behaviour, he's out in two weeks.

This is insane; the man who was willing to marry a teenager is out of prison (then back to immigration detention) in a fortnight, while the man who married him to a teenager doesn't spend a day behind bars.

We spend a lot of time talking about the role of women in society and how they are and should be treated.

Surely the usual outrage machine could spare a few column inches for this clear case of abuse. But silence on all fronts. No outraged tweets, no blog posts, no impassioned pleas from celebrity feminists on TV. Why?

Why didn't a single state or national leader say a word about this failure of the system? Where was the media demanding Islamic leaders say this is wrong and is not allowed under Australian laws?

The silence of the outrage brigade means abuses like this case will continue in secret. The failure of our leaders to say Australian laws outrank religious law mean this disgrace will continue.

The family failed this girl, the faith failed this girl, the courts failed this girl and people with a powerful voice failed this girl.

 

Time to debate bigger issues than marriage.

In all the fire and fury about same sex marriage we are missing a debate that's actually about life and death.

This week laws were introduced in New South Wales and Victoria to introduce 'Euthanasia' to Australia.

They aren't the usual stunt by 'The Greens' that goes nowhere,  but laws that come with support from all parties and are a serious chance of passing

For the record I support the idea of being able to control your final days and want MPs to come up with the best system for us to 'Go Gently'.

But it strikes me as very strange that when laws that will affect us all are being debated we are obsessed with who can get married.

I'm not saying that debate isn't important.

It is and I'm voting yes. 

But we have to be able to handle more than one big issue at a time.

The marriage debate has taken up way too much time and too much energy at the expense of dozens of issues that will change millions more lives.

Maybe it's because the topic reminds us of our own inevitable end?

Or maybe it's a reminder of how far the media have taken their eye off the ball about what really matters.

**Paul Murray LIVE, Monday - Thursday at 9pm AEST on SKY NEWS LIVE

Topics:  islam marry paul murray underage

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