Pubdate: Wed, 31 May 2000
Source: Canberra Times (Australia)
Copyright: 2000 Canberra Times
Author: Robbie Swan


Your Sunday Times editorial (May 28) which accused Independent MLA
Dave Rugendyke, of politically "blackmailing" the ACT Government, has
highlighted the long-term ramifications that this approach has for
both Liberal and Labor governments. His threat to block the Budget
over safe-injecting rooms was clearly explained by your editorial, but
how many other issues have there been where Mr Rugendyke and his
running-mate, Paul Osborne, have held an electoral gun to the head of
the Chief Minister? Last week it became clear to Canberra's sex
industry that both Rugendyke and Osborne had issued the same Budget
threat over the Club X shop in Civic and the gay sauna in O'Connor.
The situation we now have in the ACT Legislative Assembly is almost a
mirror image of the Federal Parliament last year when Independent
Senator and morals campaigner Brian Harradine held the balance of
power. His "blackmail" was a ban on phone sex for the sale of Telstra
and a ban on Internet sex for the GST. He gave them Telstra but
reneged on the GST even though he'd got what he wanted. What both
Liberal and Labor parties need to understand about this style of
politics is that not only should you not trust morals campaigners in
the Parliament, you lose votes by doing so. Along with hypocrisy,
cynicism is rapidly overtaking economic and social issues as a good
reason to change a vote these days.

Eros Foundation, Deakin West
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MAP posted-by: Allan Wilkinson