Coleridge and the rime of the ancient marrier

It was uplifting to see Father Paul Kelly, editor-at-large of The Catholic Boys Daily, beating the drum for a religious freedom bill.

Never mind that already we have too much religious freedom; Father Kelly wants more.

It was one of his traditionally wordy pieces, but he still didn’t have enough words to explain just how religious freedoms would be trampled should same-sex couples be treated equally by the law, or just what freedoms were at risk.

Possibly Mark Coleridge, the Roman Catholic archbishop of Brisbane, answered the puzzle. He said same-sex couples don’t “qualify” for marriage, just as a parent and a child don’t qualify, or a brother and a sister.

Coleridge was apparently practising the religious freedom to say any idiotic and vile thing that wanders into his head.

We’re now supposed to grapple with the invisible threat to religious freedom, even though PM Bollards Trumble has reminded us that churches are and will be free to marry or not marry anyone they want and already these institutions have wide power to dismiss or not hire anyone that doesn’t accord with their feudal view of the world.

Archbishop Denis Hartless of Melbourne already has warned that employees of the church face the sack if they enter a same-sex marriage.

It makes a nice change from not sacking priests who rape children.

Two Lips Tony

Facebook picked up via Instagram footage of a young bearded fellow by the name of Daniel Oh passionately kissing Tony Abbott on the mouth.

Actually, it was a bronze Abbott, holding stationary and still in the Ballarat Botanical Gardens’ avenue of prime ministerial busts.

Young Daniel was getting quite excited and moaning “yes, yes” as his pashing became more intense. Suddenly the video disappeared from Facebook. Did the tyrants at the global social media operation deem this footage to be unacceptably tasteless?

It seems Daniel had to lay low while the Ten Flags Tony Fan Club started heaping abuse on him. For instance, this, from Leila Lamela Toal: “I hope this maniac gets contagious disease from the bird’s poo. If I have known that this maniac likes poo I could have splattered it with my poo. Do it again tomorrow maniac ...”

What she lacks in style she makes up in her liberal use of the word “maniac”.

Happily, the footage has returned and you can see that Daniel is a top-rate kisser.

Nutcracker sweet

And what about Tasmanian anarchist and DJ, Astro “Funknukl” Labe, who now faces assault charges over his version of the Liverpool kiss planted on Tone?

Funknukl spoke for millions when he said, “All it was is I saw Tony Abbott and I’d had half a skinful and I wanted to nut the cunt.”

The phrase “nut the cunt” should by now be well entrenched in the local dialect and spreading fast into dictionaries and phrasebooks around the world.

Cake speech

Staying with our theme, the US Supreme Court has the “wedding cake” case listed for a hearing in October. This is Masterpiece Cakeshop v Colorado Civil Rights Commission.

The baker, Jack Phillips, claims his sincerely held Bible-based religious beliefs prevent him making cakes for same-sex couples. He must have found passages in the good book confirming the stand he has taken.

Curiously, the Department of Justice, under dwarfish KKK admirer Jeff Sessions, has filed a brief in support of the baker. Lawyers in Washington can’t recall the DoJ previously briefing in favour of discrimination, although the department had run a case against gay rights in a separate matter dealing with employment discrimination.

Phillips contends that his freedom of speech is being violated because he expresses himself through his cakes and being compelled to bake a cake for gays would force him to say something with which he disagrees. It would be like speaking against his will through his cakes.

While they’re at it the court should revisit the right not to serve black people in restaurants and bars.

Parrot bay

A million miles from Struggle Street the stately Art Deco apartment building Macleay Regis in bobo Potts Point is home to genteel types who would never set the wireless dial on 2GB. Imagine the horror when they learnt that schlock jock Alan Jones was casing the penthouse, which was on the market after the death of medico Professor Malcolm Coppleson.

Old ladies and nature’s bachelors hovered inside their apartments for fear of being caught in the lift with Alan and a scrum of his young adoring footballers. What would this do to the value of apartments?

Selling agent Jane Schumann, from Di Jones Real Estate, has relieved a lot of the concern. She confirms, “Alan did come through but we have not had any contact since and I would say that he really isn’t out looking to purchase.”


The Bombing of Harwin

There’s been an interesting turn of events following Gadfly’s item about the Israeli arms manufacturer Elbit getting into bed with the dear old New South Wales Royal Flying Doctor Service.

The minister for energy, utilities and the arts, Don Harwin, MP, told an upper house committee that, to the tune of $2.5 million, “the government is proud to be partnering with Elbit and the RFDS to provide a new state-of-the-art flight simulator in Dubbo”.

Then the other day an announcement lands from Palestine Support Network Australia, saying the deal is off and the RFDS is considering alternative flight training options.

Apparently this was the result of an 18-month campaign by the Palestine Support Network and others to scupper the arrangement, pointing out that Elbit produces about 85 per cent of the drones used by the Israeli military in attacks in Gaza, for surveillance in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza, as well as electronics for the “separation wall”, deemed illegal by the International Court of Justice, and the production of phosphorus bombs.

Just as well that the flying doctors had second thoughts, as the NSW funding deed includes an obligation that projects should not “be brought into disrepute”.

Compare a mellow koala

Correspondence arrives from a disturbed member of the Koala Preservation Society objecting to a description in this column of John Winston Howard as a “diminutive koala”.

The member wants it placed on the record that the society finds this “quite insulting”, although no koala has actually lodged a complaint.

In the circumstances it was an understandable slip. Since Howard’s laser treatment he has thrown away his eye furniture and let clumps of marsupial hair take control of the side of his head. His eyebrows, meanwhile, wander about in search of Menzian splendour.

I don’t know who is behind this personal styling, but clearly they need to be spoken to.

For the record, this is an accepted description of a koala: “It is easily recognisable by its stout, tailless body and large head with round, fluffy ears and large, spoon-shaped nose.”

Trumpette #41

So far, North Korean supreme leader Kim Jong-un is way ahead in the insults stakes. He was on target when he described the president of the US as “the mentally deranged US dotard” and his threats as the “sounds of a dog barking”.

An archive of Trump’s radio interviews with Howard Stern confirms what Kimbo is on about, and fortunately The Independent has selected some of the choicest morsels.

The president confirms he is a germaphobe, washing his hands “as many times as possible” during the day. He admits this “could be a psychological problem”, but has not sought therapy to cope with it. “I like cleanliness. Cleanliness is a nice thing. Not only hands: body, everything.”

He avoids touching his children when they are unwell, but is quite keen on touching Melania, confessing to “feeling her up” in public places but adding, “I’m very well behaved, actually, and almost always I’m very down the middle”.

“You know, she’s naturally in good shape ... She’s a very beautiful woman. Considered one of the great beauties of the world. So I don’t know how I got her because ... beauty doesn’t matter to me.”

After the September 11 attacks, Trump came up with an ingenious way to combat terrorism, which he shared with Stern and his listeners: “You have a red button in the plane, and the pilot has a huge problem in the back. He’s got two or three terrorists, you know, going crazy ... He presses a button and sleeping gas comes out, the entire back of the plane goes to sleep.”


Tips and tattle: [email protected]

This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on Sep 30, 2017 as "Gadfly: Coleridge and the rime of the ancient marrier". Subscribe here.

Richard Ackland
is the publisher of Justinian. He is The Saturday Paper’s diarist-at-large and legal affairs editor.

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