Marriage equality – what’s God got to do with it

Sat, 23 Sep 2017  |  

This article first appeared on the Yahoo7 website at this link: 


Marriage equality – what’s God got to do with it

The debate surrounding the survey on marriage equality is throwing up a range of issues that sit oddly with over 100 years of historical marriage patterns of heterosexual Australians.

Social media feeds, on line news, the radio, newspapers and television are heavy with people discussing the issue of marriage equality whose only real claim to be heard is their religious belief and their status within their church, synagogue, temple or other religious lobby group.

There are few, if any, declared atheists or marriage celebrants on these news and chat shows outlining their views on same sex marriage. This is despite there being more people of no religion than any other faith.

For some unknown reason, the overwhelming bias towards those with a religious affiliation promotes them to a point where they have a special status to pontificate as to whether people should vote yes or no to the marriage equality survey. Their views are getting a disproportionate coverage, including relative to how Australians are now choosing to get married.

For over 100 years, Australians getting married have been shying away from church based ceremonies and instead are opting for a marriage celebrant to allow them to legally tie the knot.

This alone should put the status of religious organisations and their spokespeople as authorities on the issue of marriage on very thin ice.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, just 25 per cent of marriages in 2015 were conducted by a minister of religion. This means that the other 75 per cent were conducted by a civil celebrant. This shows an overwhelming choice in favour of a non-religious service.

The 25 per cent of religious marriages is the lowest rate on record, with the data going back to 1902. There is no hint that the trend away from religion is slowing.

Interestingly, in the 1910s, over 95 per cent of marriages were conducted by a minister of religion. This was the peak use of religious services for those marrying. Since then, the trend away from religious services has been unrelenting and in 1999, civil marriages overtook religious ceremonies as the most common form of marriage.

Which begs the question of the authority of people of religion to have a dominant voice in the current discussion on marriage equality. There is no doubt the religious groups getting the coverage on the marriage equality issue are well funded and well organised with loyal supporters. Atheists and marriage celebrants, on the other hand, have no such organisational structure or financial power.

There are a few other quirky points about marriage in Australia.

Of people getting married in 2015, 28 per cent were getting remarried – ie, for a second or more time. This is against the teachings of most religions.

A massive 81 per cent of people getting married lived together before taking their vows. Another blow to the teachings of religion?

In 2015, of those getting married for the first time, there were 416 males and 1,464 females aged 16 to 18 years, with 495 males and 179 females aged over 75 years.

The two most popular months for marriages are October and March while the least popular are June and July.

And finally, the number of divorces rose 4.3 per cent in 2015, to over 48,000 with 47.5 per cent of those involving children under the age of 18. Unfortunately, this appears to be another blow for the religious push about the sanctity of the family.

Looks like when it comes to marriage, people are not only staying away from religious services in droves, but are also living a life of freedom, unshackled by the teachings and preachings of many religious faiths.

Think of that next time a person of religious appears in your news feed advocating a particular position in the survey on marriage equality.

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As house prices fall across Australia, should we be worried for our economy?

Tue, 13 Mar 2018

This article first appeared on the Yahoo7 Finance website at this link: 


As house prices fall across Australia, should we be worried for our economy?

Are you a home owner?

If you are in Sydney, Perth and Darwin, you are losing money at a rapid rate.

In Melbourne and Canberra, prices are topping out and there is a growing risk that prices will fall through the course of this year. If your dwelling is in Brisbane or Adelaide, you are experiencing only gentle price increases, whilst the only city of strength is Hobart, where house prices are up over 13 per cent in the past year.

The house price data, which are compiled by Corelogic, are flashing something of a warning light on the health of the housing market and therefore the overall economy. For the moment, the drop in house prices has not been sufficient to unsettle the economy, even though consumer spending has been moderate over the past year.

The importance of house prices on the health of the economy is shown in the broad trend where the cities that have the weakest housing markets tend to have the slowest growth in consumer spending and are the worst performance for employment and the unemployment rate. The cities with the strongest house prices have strong labour markets and more robust consumer spending.

Trump could cause the next global recession: here's how

Wed, 07 Mar 2018

This article first appeared on the Yahoo7 Finance website at this link: 


Trump could cause the next global recession: here's how

The Trump trade wars threaten the global economy. This is not an exaggeration or headline grabbing claim, but an economic slump based on a US inspired global trade war is a distinct and growing possibility as it would dislocate global trade flows, production chains and bottom line economic growth.

Up until a few weeks ago, there was a strong enthusiasm for the economic policies of US President Donald Trump. Tax cuts and planned infrastructure spending were seen to be good for the US and world economies. US stocks and many around the rest of the world rose strongly, to a series of record highs. At the same time, bond yields (market interest rates) surged as the market priced in interest rate hikes and inflation risks from the ‘pro-growth’ policies. It was seen to be good news.

Very few, it seems, were worried about the consequences for US government debt and the budget deficit from this cash splash, especially when the US Federal Reserve was already on a well publicised path to hiking interest rates.

About a month or two ago, a few of the more enlightened and inquisitive analysts started to focus on the fact that the annual budget deficit under Trump was poised to explode above US$1 trillion with US government set to exceed 100 per cent of annual GDP.

A debt binge fuelled by tax cuts was a threat to the economy after the temporary sugar hit.