26 June 2008

Polygamous Marriage in NSW

The New South Wales Premier, Morris Iemma, has unequivocally stated that polygamous marriage is not going to see any legislation that will recognize the practice. Simply, polygamy is illegal and will remain so.

There have been recent rumblings from within the Muslim community in NSW that recognition of polygamy is the right thing to do because some clerics in Australia and particularly NSW that are performing polygamous marriage ceremonies. The argument then goes, well seeing it is already happening then it is necessary to recognize that it happens in order to protect the rights of women in a polygamous marriage. This seems to be the introduction and recognition of a prohibited practice by default.

On the contrary, rather than recognize that polygamous marriages are being performed, the government must be proactive in ensuring that the community is aware that polygamy is prohibited and will not be recognized legally. In fact the government needs to make sure that liaison officers are in place in the community, if they are not already, to educate the community to the prevailing laws.

Perhaps rather than asking the government to recognize polygamous marriage by default perhaps a better line of attack is to look at whether or not the lack of recognition is a form of discrimination. The emphasis that modern politics puts on political correctness means that chances of success, although remote, might be better than just saying "make it so".

Then we must take this political correctness to the extreme and recognize polyandry as well. What is good for the gander must also be good for the goose as well.

Polygamy is not going to be recognized any time soon in Australia or in NSW more specifically and I am OK about that!


Polar Bear said...

Well, I feel sorry for Muslims who find that they cannot live in the lifestyle to which there forefathers did. Sadly its the price they must pay to live in NSW.

I am sure that if they really want to have multiple wives that are recognized by the state they could migrate to a more Muslim friendly state.

Rob Baiton said...

or simply wait until NSW becomes predominantly Muslim place :D

Polar Bear said...

Which it will in about 50 years. Pity they dont fix up the ones they already control before moving onto my doorstep....

treespotter said...

and we're back on the subject...

Rob Baiton said...

Which subject would that be?

Marriage? Male / Female realtionships? Religion? Immigration? Assimilation? Integration? Multi-culturalism? or Life?

Polar Bear said...

The subject is self evident treespotter. Name me one country with an Islamic majority that isn’t a complete shambles one way or another?
The top ten according to the UN Human Development Index: Canada, Norway , USA, Japan, Belgium, Sweden, Australia, Netherlands, Iceland, UK.

Indonesia ranked at 107th (80% Islamic)

The worst according to the same index: Djibouti (94% Islamic) at 165th.

Need I say more?

treespotter said...

back on the subject of polygamy. always an interesting debate for me. I wrote a bit about this, i think,

funnily enough, it always attrack the funniest kind of people too.

Polar Bear: your analysis is interesting. Name me one too that wasn't really a creation of any of the western imperials.

Boy, i've such a fascination for polar bears... really..

Rob Baiton said...


I actually was not looking at this as an Islam issue. I am a Hindu and I am entitled under my religion to have multiple wives with no apparent restrictions on numbers :D

I was more looking at this from the angle of whether the current NSW community would tolerate polygamy; my take is it will not.

I was also a little bit more tongue in cheek looking at the discriminative nature of this. Particularly in the sense of if there is tolerance of polygamy then should there also be tolerance of polyandry.

As an aside. After NSW accepts polygamous marriage should we then go down the road of establishing Islamic Courts to deal with Islamic disputes and crimes. If that is the way we won't to go then are we willing to accept the cutting off of hands, stoning, decapitations?

Just a thought.

treespotter said...

frankly, I have always said that my opinion on polygamy in indonesia was very specific on its current cultural/traditional/social context for Indonesia and i am by no means advocating one way or another on the merit of the idea.

on the other hand, i can't resist to notice that while people explicitly say other otherwise, they almost always raise the islam issue at some point.

The references i use for Polygamous marriage - and indeed probably the only readily available legal research on the matter - are based mostly on the mormons in the US. It's a social issue that bears only minimal relevance to religion.

Where islamic court is concerned, your view contradicts itself. You must've known better than me that Indonesia keeps such a system and we do not have canings or cutting hands in our national islamic court system. England and Israel and Turkey all similarly have religious courts, none of them have those barbaric practices you mentioned.

In fact, Saudi Arabia is the only regime in the world where the court still sanctions such brutal punishments (going back in history, the French and the English would lead in judicial executions in its various forms, i'm sure).

It has nothing to do with Islam, Saudi Arabia being a stupid barbaric monarch doesn't equate for an argument against religious courts.

Polar Bear said...

Its not fair to hijack Robs blog , so i have made a post about it elsewhere. Feel free to comment Tree.

Polar Bear said...

Treespotter, if you read the article, the people who were advocating polygamy in NSW were Muslims, and were not of Indonesian descent. They were not advocating it based upon some Indonesian " cultural / traditional/ social context, but upon the Koran.

treespotter said...

dude, what do i care who advocates what in NSW - i don't understand NSW cultural/social context one bit, but i know what i know.

this subject intrigued me and always get my interest. strangely enough, it always captures the imaginations of bigots such as yourselves all at the same time.

maybe it makes it more interesting.

Polar Bear said...

Tree, if you take a look , the BLOODY POST WAS ABOUT NSW. Duh!!!

If you don’t understand the NSW context i can help you out for a small fee :)

Ps. A bigot is a person who is intolerant of opinions, lifestyles, or identities, not someone who tries to stop idiots bringing cultural practices that have been seen to restrict health and well being of citizens in other countries.

treespotter said...

exactly, it's about polygamy in NSW - which is always interesting for me.

It has nothing to do with islamic countries performing poorly.

as for your definition of bigot, i'm so proud that you could do that on top of your head. Obviously it rings familiar.

Polar Bear said...

I looked up bigot.

I see no difference between a guy having two or three girlfriends on the go, and a guy who marries two or three.

Change the laws. I see no problem. BUT - no financial advantage. Its says in the Koran you can have more than one wife if you can afford it. Not if the state pays...

treespotter said...

since we are on the subjects of bigots, let me be clear: i'm tired of people taking short cuts when dealing with social factors. Economics, funny cultures, strange languages and bad habits, it will be far too easy to blame everything on religion. If only life's that simple.

Bigots are those who are too damn thick to even consider other ills. If one were to really pay attention to issues, obviously the approach must be constructive.

To pick your favourite pet scapegoats such as penguins and polar bears and moslems as the mother of all ills only proves that you are too badly suited to analyze any problems in a truly pluralistic society.

bigots and idiots, too, often observed to share genetic traits, so that makes all our lives ever more difficult.

and uh, no, i'm not hijacking Rob's page, i know for a fact that he's not hairy enough to count as polar bear (or penguins).

Nor does he qualify as bigots or idiots.

Sorry rob!

Rob Baiton said...


I am happy for you to visit and comment regularly as it bumps up my stats and gives me that warm fuzzy feeling of being relevant.

However, hopefully the comments can remain generally civil nevertheless it seems somewhat tit for tat over the last couple of posts. Whatever takes your fancy and I am loathe to censor heated debate and blogs do not lend themselves to a 5-second delay like the tele!

I agree that Indonesia and the National Islamic Court system does not tolerate the sort of barbaric punishments that I alluded to. The questions were really debate starters.

Saudi Wahhabism does lend itself to the imposition of the barbaric practices that I noted.

Nevertheless, caning is now part of the Qanan regulatory system in Aceh. There has also been debate in Indonesia about the introduction of some more severe punishments as part of the Sharia adoption process.

It is also worth noting that some vigilante justice in Aceh recently saw some people attempting to cut the hand of a thief off. Their reasoning was that the Qur'an permitted it.

All said and done though, these punishments are not features of the Indonesian criminal legal system.

On who is advocating what in NSW. The two chaps quoted in the article are individuals who haev in the past advocated a very strict interpretation of the Qur'an and would be likely to want to see special Islamic Courts develop for the hearing of "Islamic" legal issues. The question I was really asking was would the people of NSW accept this strict interpretation of the Qur'an?

My current belief is that the majority of Australian born Muslims would not be inclined to accept such strict interpretations and punishments.

The next issue for me would be if religious courts were permitted, then would Muslims have to choose a religious court or could they choose a general court where the punishments might be different and less severe? I see a litigable discrimination issue here.

I did post on this topic because it is an issue that interests me. I did hope to generate discussion and debate. I did not expect the increasing personal nature of some of the posts but then again it is an emotive issue so I am not all that surprised either.

Have a nice evening!

I am going out for a wine and might watch the soccer! Then again I might just go home and dream of polygamous marriage and world domination through the spreading of my seed far and wide :D

Rob Baiton said...

BTW...hijack away!

As I said the more you comment the better looking my stats are :D

Let's face it 17 or 18 comments is hardly a case of hijacking...

treespotter said...

the issue of a separate court system is one that interests me, as you pointed out, there are always problems. the UK, Israel, Turkey all showed exciting possibilities.

treespotter said...

and yeah, wine, where?

Rob Baiton said...

the cork my screw or the screw my cork?

Open to offers :D

(especially offers from people who want to pick up the tab at the end of the night)

Polar Bear said...

It is sad when people who find themselves losing a rational discussion based upon facts and hard data suddenly jump to the personal level, and start shouting bigot. I rather expected more.

Please note that I did not mention social factors. Economics, funny cultures, strange languages and bad habits – I simply looked at the UN index and extracted the ranking compared to the percentage of Muslim population.

That isn’t picking my “favourite pet scapegoats” but a simple analysis of the data from the UN.

If you wish to imply that I am thick – that’s anyone’s prerogative (you might want to read my comments upon how bold keyboard bloggers can be, and how timid they can become ….)

Rob Baiton said...


My take on statistical data is that it can be worked to provide support for whatever arguments that one would like to promote.

I have no take on the bigot issue as that is between you and the Tree. You can settle your differences either here or elsewhere, up to you fellas.

baratos muebles barcelona said...

This will not really work, I think like this.

Anonymous said...

It's legal for a person in this country to cheat on their marriage partner. They can even cheat with dozens of one night stands. Or a couple can divorce, see other people, but continue to live in the same house. One can even bring their new partner into the house, and jump into their ex's bed - and impregnate both unmarried women. Those two women can also have sex while the man is at work, or all three can have threesomes.

All legal and supported by the government.

But when two women love the same man and want a COMMITTED, LONG TERM relationship (plural marriage), not only is that not accepted, but it is deemed illegal. That's 100% discrimination! What the government is effectively saying is, you can have as many IMMORAL relationships as you like, but as soon as you want to make it legal by COMMITTING to all of them - then we'll prosecute you!

Australian law and politicians really are a sick joke.

And no - I'm not muslim, hindu, , JW or a mormon. I'm a protestant Christian.