What next, ban on mum and dad? says Hanson

Pauline Hanson has warned legalising same-sex marriage could result in a ban on children calling their parents “mum and dad”.


The One Nation leader has told parliament she will ignore a majority “yes” result of a postal survey on the issue.

“I feel it’s a sham, it’s farcical and it’s a waste of money,” she said of the $122 million ballot.

Senator Hanson also slammed gay couples for trying to “take the word ‘marriage'”.

“Why won’t you try and compromise?” she said.

Senator Hanson warned marriage equality meant school children would be banned from calling their parents “mum and dad” so as not to offend the children of same-sex couples.

She feared anti-vilification laws, which cleared both houses of parliament on Wednesday, would shut down the “no” campaign and free speech.

Earlier senior Labor figure Penny Wong delivered an impassioned speech urging the prime minister to protect children like her own.

“How do you think it feels for children in same-sex families … to be told politely and courteously `Actually you’re not quite normal, your families aren’t as good’?” asked Senator Wong, who is a parent in a same-sex relationship.

The new laws make it an offence to vilify, intimidate or threaten to cause harm to a person on the basis of their sexual orientation, gender identity, intersex status or religious conviction during the survey.

The legislation was introduced on Wednesday morning and passed swiftly after the government and Labor agreed to the temporary safeguards.

Senator Wong lamented that those opposed to gay marriage were using “odd, bizarre and unconnected things” to make their argument.

“They want to talk about our children, they want to talk about – what’s the phrase – `radical gay sex education’.”

The legislation could not protect the LGBTI community from hurt, she said.

Greens senator Janet Rice – who married her transgender wife Penny 30 years ago when she was Peter – said she wanted to be able to hold her partner’s hand in public, the way they used to, without fear of abuse.

“We used to hold hands, we used to kiss in public but over the last 13 years we self-censor,” she told parliament.

Cabinet minister Mathias Cormann said the new laws aimed to add protections to existing safeguards in federal, state and territory legislation.

Conservative crossbencher Cory Bernardi, who also opposed the legislation, warned there would be spurious claims from people claiming to be upset.

“This is essentially 18C on steroids to protect people from being upset,” he said, referring to race hate-speech laws he has fought to scrap.

It was “wholly inappropriate” that Attorney-General George Brandis had responsibility for judging complaints, given he supports marriage equality.

Senator Cormann rejected the argument, insisting the senator’s view did not prevent him doing his job, just as his position as an opponent of marriage equality did not prevent him doing his.

He also rejected claims the new laws would shut down debate and urged “yes” campaigners to empathise with good Australians with strong and sincere views about traditional marriage.

UN Security Council approves harsher sanctions on North Korea

The war of words between North Korea and the United States has escalated, with the isolated nation warning the US to prepare to “suffer the greatest pain it ever experienced in its history”.


North Korea says it’s “ready to use a form of ultimate means”, though it didn’t provide any further explanation.

The ominous message comes after the United Nations Security Council approved a US-led resolution further tightening sanctions on North Korea.

Among other measures, the resolution imposes a ban on the nation’s textiles, caps its fuel supplies, bans joint ventures with North Korean entities and prohibits countries from bringing in new North Korean workers.

It’s the ninth such resolution unanimously adopted by the 15-member Council over North Korea’s ballistic missile and nuclear programs since 2006.

Speaking on a visit to Malaysia, US President Donald Trump downplayed the significance of the action.

“We had a vote yesterday on sanctions. We think it’s just another very small step, not a big deal. Rex (Tillerson) and I were just discussing, not big, I don’t know if it has any impact but certainly it was nice to get a 15-0 vote – but those sanctions are nothing compared to what ultimately will have to happen.”

North Korean ambassador Han Tae Song angrily rejected the announcement.

“The adoption of the sanctions resolution against my country is an extreme manifestation of the US intention to eliminate at any cost the ideology, social system of DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea/North Korea) and its people. Such acts constitute a blatant infringement of the sovereignty of my country and a grave challenge to international peace and justice.”

The initial proposal had to be cut back before China and Russia would agree.

It also stops short of imposing a full embargo on oil exports to North Korea, most of which come from China.

President Trump has fluctuated between criticising China for not doing enough on North Korea, to praising Chinese President Xi Jinping.

China’s UN ambassador insists a diplomatic solution is the only option.

“China is a close neighbour to the Korean peninsula, we’ve been consistently committed to the denuclearisation and we are against war and chaos on the peninsula. The strategy of the military deployment on the Korean peninsula and the goal of denuclearisation and reaching peace and stability run counter to each other.”

At the European Parliament, the European Union’s foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, applauded nations for showing a united front.

“Because it sent a message to North Korea that the unity of the international community, from China – that yes, indeed, plays a crucial role – to the Russian Federation, to the United States, to the European Union, to all the other members of the UN Security Council, so the entire international community, is strongly investing in this path: more pressure to open diplomatic channels. North Korea has to feel the diplomatic pressure of a united international community.”



France, Netherlands boost aid in Caribbean after criticism

Irma killed at least 38 people across the whole of the Caribbean and devastated basic services.


The World Health Organisation estimates that over 17,000 need emergency shelter in the region.

Residents and tourists on islands that bore the brunt of Hurricane Irma say help has been slow to arrive.

Many have been stranded with little food, shelter or drinking water.

Law and order has also been under threat with looting erupting.

French President Emmanuel Macron has paid a visit to some of the affected French territories, promising a large-scale rebuilding effort in the devastated islands.

He was accompanied by his health and education ministers, and officials overseeing the aid mobilisation on Saint Martin and Saint Barthelemy.

Speaking during his visit to Guadeloupe, Mr Macron moved to reassure the public.

“For those who live on the island there is anger because people are tired. I understand this anger and I am also going to St Martin because of this to reassure people, to show them full determination to console and also to listen to their anger because it is there, it is normal and it is my role also to accept this.”

Mr Macron also says he’ll support a parliamentary inquiry, following criticism from political opponents who say the government didn’t properly anticipate the disaster.

French authorities are continuing to evacuate the most vulnerable residents from Saint Martin.

Rescuers struggled to ferry people to nearby Guadeloupe, where infrastructure was spared by the storm.

This military policeman is helping to coordinate evacuations.

“The problem that we have is that we have two planes: one with a capacity of 35, the other 72, so we can evacuate about 100 people with every journey. There are four planes so we can evacuate 100 people every two hours. The evacuations began from the day after the storm and today from 7am we already had 100 people with lots of babies, injured people.”

Dutch King Willem-Alexander has also visited the Dutch-ruled part of Saint Martin, as the military were continuing to deliver water, food, and hygiene supplies to the population.

The Dutch Red Cross says nearly a third of all buildings on the island were destroyed and more than 90 per cent were damaged by Hurricane Irma.

The aid agency had surveyed 5,500 structures before the storm and made the assessment based on photographs provided by the Defence Ministry in the Netherlands.

The Dutch King, Willem-Alexander, says he was shocked by what he saw.

“From the moment we could see the island from the aircraft I thought, I’ve never seen this before. I’ve seen a lot of devastation caused by forces of nature or by war but this I’ve never seen. Everywhere you look you see destruction and desperation. At the same time you also see people who are working hard cleaning up. We say we stand together, shoulder to shoulder and we will rebuild this island. There’s hope for the future. That’s good to see.”

Britain has delivered its first humanitarian aid and disaster relief to its territory, the Turks and Caicos Islands.

The British Royal Air Force says it has flown more than 20 sorties within the Caribbean since Friday, moving more than 700 passengers into and around the region and delivering more than 70 tonnes of freight to hurricane-stricken communities.



US gay marriage pioneer Edith Windsor dies

Edith Windsor, the New York woman whose successful challenge to a federal law that defined marriage as between one man and one woman helped pave the way for gay marriage nationwide, has died.


Her death at the age of 88 on Tuesday, was announced by her wife, Judith Kasen-Windsor, and lawyer Roberta Kaplan.

The 2013 US Supreme Court ruling in United States v Windsor, which struck down the core of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, was credited with laying the groundwork for the court’s 2015 ruling in another case that legalised same-sex marriage.

“I lost my beloved spouse Edie, and the world lost a tiny but tough as nails fighter for freedom, justice and equality. Edie was the light of my life,” said Kasen-Windsor, who married Windsor last year.

In a statement, former President Barack Obama said he spoke with Windsor a few days ago and told her again how important her work had been to the country.

“America’s long journey towards equality has been guided by countless small acts of persistence, and fuelled by the stubborn willingness of quiet heroes to speak out for what’s right,” he said. “Few were as small in stature as Edie Windsor – and few made as big a difference to America.”

The case, which made Windsor a revered figure in the modern gay rights movement, originally stemmed from a tax dispute. Windsor, a former IBM consultant known as “Edie”, and Thea Spyer, a psychologist, met in the 1960s in a New York restaurant and spent four decades engaged to be married before they finally tied the knot in Canada in 2007.

Spyer died in 2009. Under the Defense of Marriage Act, same-sex marriages were not federally recognised, depriving Windsor of an estate-tax break afforded to heterosexual surviving spouses.

The Supreme Court’s Windsor decision applied to gay marriages only in the 13 states that permitted them at the time. In the ensuing months, the central reasoning of the case was cited by courts in several states that found gay marriage bans unlawful.

In 2015, the Supreme Court declared that same-sex marriage was protected by the Constitution.