My two Christmas requests

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My two Christmas requests; a little late, but it is not yet Candlemas, it is but the fourth day of Christmas: (1) May the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, keep our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord. (2) The complete obliteration of Santa Claus and and everything to do with him.

My submission to the Senate Select Committee on the Exposure Draft of the Marriage Amendment (Same-Sex Marriage) Bill

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This is a submission to the Committee with respect to paragraph (1) of its Terms of Reference, particularly "the nature and effect of proposed exemptions for ministers of religion, marriage celebrants and religious bodies and organisations".

I submit that the draft bill has two defects in relation to the proposed exemptions for ministers of religion, marriage celebrants and religious bodies and organisations.

First, the draft bill greatly overcomplicates the wording of exemptions. In its present form, section 47 of the Marriage Act 1961 already (and quite properly, in my view) provides ministers of religion with very considerable discretion concerning whether or not to solemnise a marriage—regardless of the reasons. This provision could be strengthened to apply "despite any law" and also applied to other marriage celebrants.  The following would suffice:

Ministers of religion and marriage celebrants not bound to solemnise marriages.
Despite any law, an authorised celebrant, (whether or not a minister of religion) may refuse to solemnise a marriage.

Similarly, the provision relating to exemptions for religious bodies and organisations could be simpler, more comprehensive and more straightforward, for example:

Religious bodies and organisations may refuse to make facilities available or provide goods or services
Despite any law, a religious body or a religious organisation may refuse to make a facility available, or to provide goods or services, for the purposes of the solemnisation of a marriage, or for purposes reasonably incidental to the solemnisation of a marriage.

Secondly, the identification of same-sex marriage as a ground of exemption is:
—redundant in view of the overarching nature of available exemptions; and
—itself hurtfully discriminatory, particularly as it is in any case redundant.

Sweaty, noisy, crowds are rubbish

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The news media report that Randwick City Council has banned alcohol consumption in its beachfront parks, especially Coogee, for the rest of summer after Christmas crowds left a disgusting mass of garbage. Fair enough. But what I totally fail to understand is why anyone, drunk or sober, would want to be part of a sweaty, noisy, crowd on a hot summer day … let alone on Christmas Day.

Pro-nun-sea-eh?-shun

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Dearest creature in creation,
study English pronunciation.
I will teach you in my verse
Sounds like corpse, corps, horse, and worse.
I will keep you, Suzy, busy,
Make your head with heat grow dizzy.
Tear in eye, your dress will tear.
So shall I! Oh hear my prayer.
Just compare heart, beard, and heard,
Dies and diet, lord and word,
Sword and sward, retain and Britain.
(Mind the latter, how it’s written.)
Now I surely will not plague you
With such words as plaque and ague.
But be careful how you speak:
Say break and steak, but bleak and streak;
Cloven, oven, how and low,
Script, receipt, show, poem, and toe.
Hear me say, devoid of trickery,
Daughter, laughter, and Terpsichore,
Typhoid, measles, topsails, aisles,
Exiles, similes, and reviles;
Scholar, vicar, and cigar,
Solar, mica, war and far;
One, anemone, Balmoral,
Kitchen, lichen, laundry, laurel;
Gertrude, German, wind and mind,
Scene, Melpomene, mankind.
Billet does not rhyme with ballet,
Bouquet, wallet, mallet, chalet.
Blood and flood are not like food,
Nor is mould like should and would.
Viscous, viscount, load and broad,
Toward, to forward, to reward.
And your pronunciation’s OK
When you correctly say croquet,
Rounded, wounded, grieve and sieve,
Friend and fiend, alive and live.
Ivy, privy, famous; clamour
And enamour rhyme with hammer.
River, rival, tomb, bomb, comb,
Doll and roll and some and home.
Stranger does not rhyme with anger,
Neither does devour with clangour.
Souls but foul, haunt but aunt,
Font, front, wont, want, grand, and grant,
Shoes, goes, does. Now first say finger,
And then singer, ginger, linger,
Real, zeal, mauve, gauze, gouge and gauge,
Marriage, foliage, mirage, and age.
Query does not rhyme with very,
Nor does fury sound like bury.
Dost, lost, post and doth, cloth, loth.
Job, nob, bosom, transom, oath.
Though the differences seem little,
We say actual but victual.
Refer does not rhyme with deafer.
Feoffer does, and zephyr, heifer.
Mint, pint, senate and sedate;
Dull, bull, and George ate late.
Scenic, Arabic, Pacific,
Science, conscience, scientific.
Liberty, library, heave and heaven,
Rachel, ache, moustache, eleven.
We say hallowed, but allowed,
People, leopard, towed, but vowed.
Mark the differences, moreover,
Between mover, cover, clover;
Leeches, breeches, wise, precise,
Chalice, but police and lice;
Camel, constable, unstable,
Principle, disciple, label.
Petal, panel, and canal,
Wait, surprise, plait, promise, pal.
Worm and storm, chaise, chaos, chair,
Senator, spectator, mayor.
Tour, but our and succour, four.
Gas, alas, and Arkansas.
Sea, idea, Korea, area,
Psalm, Maria, but malaria.
Youth, south, southern, cleanse and clean.
Doctrine, turpentine, marine.
Compare alien with Italian,
Dandelion and battalion.
Sally with ally, yea, ye,
Eye, I, ay, aye, whey, and key.
Say aver, but ever, fever,
Neither, leisure, skein, deceiver.
Heron, granary, canary.
Crevice and device and aerie.
Face, but preface, not efface.
Phlegm, phlegmatic, ass, glass, bass.
Large, but target, gin, give, verging,
Ought, out, joust and scour, scourging.
Ear, but earn and wear and tear
Do not rhyme with here but ere.
Seven is right, but so is even,
Hyphen, roughen, nephew Stephen,
Monkey, donkey, Turk and jerk,
Ask, grasp, wasp, and cork and work.
Pronunciation (think of Psyche!)
Is a paling stout and spikey?
Won’t it make you lose your wits,
Writing groats and saying grits?
It’s a dark abyss or tunnel:
Strewn with stones, stowed, solace, gunwale,
Islington and Isle of Wight,
Housewife, verdict and indict.
Finally, which rhymes with enough,
Though, through, plough, or dough, or cough?
Hiccough has the sound of cup.
My advice is to give up.