IT'S a faded institution on its way out but having a resurgence because of the vote on same-sex marriage. No, not the institution of marriage and not the Catholic Church. I'm talking about Australia Post. This may be its finest hour for a long time.
Back when I lived in inner Sydney we had an older postie called Eddie who was near retirement and it took him the whole of his shift to sort and deliver the mail. When Eddie was on holidays, his replacement was Jack, a younger man who preferred to sit in a pub. Jack would sort and deliver the mail and be in the pub hours before his shift finished.
Why did Eddie take so long? It wasn't his age, nor the lack of appeal of a beer and salami. I found out one morning when Eddie knocked on my door. My flatmate Julia was in Malaysia - an exotic place in the mid-1970s when few Australians had been there. He handed me a postcard. "G'day Michael - looks like Julia's having a good time there."
Eddie knew almost everyone on the run and obviously put a lot of time into knowing their business. It's a pity MPs don't know their business and constituents as well as Eddie knew his.
Senator Cory Bernardi thinks he knows the constituency and has called same-sex marriage a "rainbow Trojan horse" because it will be followed by all sorts of political correctness.
But given that a recent poll of 5000 young Britons found half of them identified as non-heterosexual, I'm suspecting Australia Post may not be the only institution facing an uncertain future.
The same-sex marriage survey was aimed at stopping a small group of Libs crossing the floor and voting with Labor to allow such shenanigans. But now, Tony Abbott, its main driver, says if Malcolm Turnbull introduces any form of clean energy target, he will cross the floor with up to six backbenchers in tow.
Abbott argues the recommendation by the chief scientist for such a target should be ignored.
We elected the Rudd government in the belief we would take steps to cut our carbon contributions. Kevin Rudd couldn't deliver on that or much else and the baby was tossed with the bathwater. But if Abbott wants to cross the floor on this issue, why was he so determined to stop others doing it on marriage?
There's a saying in business "No decision is a bad decision." It has two parts to it. The first is that not making a decision is a bad idea because it leads to stagnation - sound like any government or opposition you know?
The second is that any decision is decisive because it declares something and that clarifies things or at least allows forward movement instead of going round and round in circles.
A quick number crunch - 16 million voters and $122 million - shows a bit over $7 per voter so that 76 Libs and Nats in the house of reps don't have to modify a decision made under John Howard. That's outsourcing MPs' decision making to the max.
It's comes out as $1.6 million for each of them. It would be cheaper to pay each Nat and Lib $1.6 million to retire and let a fresh crowd get on with making decisions.
But could they decide to take it? I have my doubts.
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