The Unshackled Waves Ep. 90 Marriage Debate Controversies, Gas Exports, Budget Deficit and NFL Anthem Protest

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Back from New Zealand we turn our focus to current events from Australia and around the world. To do this we are joined again by Unshackled Contributor Jacob Watts.

What is happening in the world right now is more controversy in the same sex marriage plebiscite debate, the Turnbull government has taken action to restrict gas exports, the budget deficit for 2016-17 was announced to be lower than expected, seven MPs are now before the High Court to determine their eligibility to sit in parliament, the outcome of the German federal election has been Angela Merkel to remain Chancellor despite the rise of nationalist party Alternative for German, Uber has been banned in London for a lack of compliance, North Korea has claimed war with the US is inevitable because of Donald Trumps rhetoric and more NFL players have knelled before the national anthem to protest police brutality against African Americans.

The same sex marriage plebiscite debate hit some new extremes over the past week. Tony Abbott was headbutted, many Australians received a Vote Yes text message and we saw yes campaigners doorknock around Australia. Then there was a protest at Coalition for Marriage Melbourne launch which featured a banner which said burn churches not queers. We discuss how these people can think they are helping the yes case and note the tightening of the polls. We also question whether it is appropriate for white US rapper Macklemore to sing his song Same Love at the NRL Grand Final given we are in the middle of this plebiscite and also because it is a political statement at a sporting event.

Malcolm Turnbull this week used the strongarm of government to force gas suppliers to keep more gas available for the domestic market under the threat of introducing export controls. This follows his meetings with the energy retailers to convince them to find ways to reduce electricity prices. It is quite concerning that the Turnbull Governments approach to energy policy appears to be further interventions in the market rather than exploring free market solutions or reducing red and green tape. We also discuss the option of utilizing our rich uranium deposits to have more nuclear power in Australia.

There was finally some good economic news to come from the federal government. The budget deficit for the 2016-17 financial year will now be $33.2 billion down from $37.6 billion projected in the May budget. These were due to lower spending in social services employment services, NDIS and most notably border control which shows that stopping the boats makes economic sense. A budget surplus is still not projected until 2020-21 but it is still promising that the Coalition has achieved this given the roadblocks to budget repair it has faced in the Senate.

The biggest story to come out of the United States regards National Football League as more players have decided to kneel while the national anthem is played before games to protest the treatment of African Americans by police. It was started last year by player Colin Kaepernick and has happened again at the beginning of 2017 NFL season. Trump said that NFL owners should fire kneeling players and fans walk out which has meant that even more players have participated. Nobody is denying the NFL players have free speech but using their workplace and the national anthem to make a political point seems to be an inappropriate forum. We also question whether it was wise of Trump to get involved in this controversy given it has made the problem worse.

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