Jakarta confused by status of Prime Minister's first bloke, insiders say

Mark Dodd - The Australian

Julia Gillard's unmarried status presented a diplomatic difficulty ahead of her first visit to Indonesia last November, insiders said yesterday. The Australian understands Indonesian officials delayed issuing a visa to Ms Gillard's partner, Tim Mathieson, because they were uncertain about his status during the Prime Minister's visit to Jakarta. Nifty diplomatic footwork was needed to assuage concerns about Ms Gillard's long-term partner, insiders familiar with the trip have claimed. According to a senior Australian diplomat who asked not to be named, the visa delays were compounded by uncertainty over hosting protocols for Mr Mathieson during the official tour.

Fresh problems for Labor

Paul Kelly - The Australian

The current push to remove the Australian government's executive veto over laws passed by the ACT's Legislative Assembly is inexorably tied to same-sex recognition. The Chief Minister for the ACT, Jon Stanhope, leads a government that has waged a long and aggressive campaign to advance same-sex recognition. Indeed, the history of bills on this subject suggests a crusade by the Labor-Green majority in the ACT assembly. If the ACT had the constitutional power to legislate for same-sex marriage then it would do so. Such a law would almost certainly be unconstitutional and Attorney-General Robert McClelland has been at pains to ensure that existing ACT laws do not infringe on the national government's marriage power under the Constitution. But the history of this issue shows an ACT assembly that will push to the limits.

States could form conservative bloc

Shane Green - The Age

Victoria and NSW could go it alone and strike bilateral agreements on key reform issues under plans outlined by the man almost certain to become NSW's next premier, Barry O'Farrell. The move would involve Australia's two most populous states implementing reforms as a politically conservative bloc, when national agreement can't be reached through the Council of Australian Governments. In an interview with The Age ahead of the March 26 NSW election, Mr O'Farrell said that should the NSW Coalition win government, he wanted to explore the idea with Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu.

Pauline Hanson eyes Upper House seat in NSW state election


Pauline Hanson's return to politics has been attacked by the NSW Premier, as both sides of politics vow not to lend her their support. The former One Nation leader has nominated to run for the NSW Upper House in a bizarre twist ahead of this month's state poll. Ms Hanson's return to the political spotlight comes a year after she said she was moving to the UK because Australia was no longer the "land of opportunity" and two years after she said she was quitting politics for good after a failed bid for a Queensland state seat, The Daily Telegraph reported.

House Republicans Move to Uphold Marriage Act

New York Times

House Republicans quietly moved Friday to uphold the Defense of Marriage Act, the 1996 law that bans federal recognition of same-sex marriages, saying they would step in to argue for the measure’s constitutionality after the Obama administration’s decision to stop defending it. Republican leaders had the option of inserting themselves in the case by introducing a resolution on the House floor and allowing members to speak out on the issue. Instead they released a statement of their intent on a Friday afternoon when the House was out of session.