US Defense Secretary Robert Gates is currently in Australia and the news outlets in the United States are reporting that Gates wants the Lame Duck Congress to repeal Don't Ask Don't Tell [DADT]. This is how the AP is reporting it which is appearing on Yahoo News
and Huffington Post;
By ANNE GEARAN, AP National Security Writer Anne Gearan, Ap National Security Writer - Sun Nov 7, 10:45 am ET
MELBOURNE, Australia - U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Congress should act quickly, before new members take their seats, to repeal the military's ban on gays serving openly in the military.
He, however, did not sound optimistic that the current Congress would use a brief postelection session to get rid of the law known as "don't ask, don't tell."
"I would like to see the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell" but I'm not sure what the prospects for that are," Gates said Saturday, as he traveled to defense and diplomatic meetings in Australia.
That suggests that Gates wants Dont Ask Dont Tell repealed in a special session of Congress. The United States has a caretaker convention in the same way Australia does. While it is a formalized convention in Australia, it is highly informal in the United States.
Basically, under the caretaker convention, a congress, or president, that has been voted out does not enact any new policy while they are in a lame duck session or when the president elect is waiting to be sworn in. This is usually a two month period.
The same thing occurs in Australia. A caretaker government starts when the executive calls an election and the government is restricted - through convention - into just ensuring that the wheels of government keep turning. No new policy is enacted and no new directions are taken in policy. If there is an emergency, then the opposition is taken into confidence and the new policy is enacted with the support of both parties.
It is an important convention as the incumbent can use government to politically and electorally isolate the opposition during an election and after an election. In the case of Don't Ask Don't Tell there was a bill passed by the House in the United States but there was not enough votes to get it beyond cloture in the Senate, so it was effectively filibustered by the Republican Senate minority. It would not be proper for a caretaker Congress to push this through as it would be breaking that convention of no new policy.
Anyway, it appears to be moot, as the media does not seem to be reporting correctly what Robert Gates said. This is the transcript from the Defense.gov website
Q: Mr. Secretary, I want to ask you about the election outcomes. Do you think that the -
SECRETARY GATES: Ours?
Q: (Laughs.) Yes, exactly, ours, [inaudible] one in Australia, too, but - yeah, U.S. election outcome. In the short run, do you see any prospect for passage of START [Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty] and repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" in the lame duck? And then going forward into the spring, do you think the election outcome makes it more or less likely that President Obama will decide to pull a significant number of forces from Afghanistan in the summer?
SECRETARY GATES: Well, first of all, I hope that the Congress will - that the Senate will ratify a new START. I think it's in our interest. Both the chairman and I have testified why we think it's in our security interest to ratify the treaty.
I would like to see the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," but I'm not sure what the prospects for that are and we'll just have to see.
In terms of the second part of your question, I think it remains to be seen. Partly, I think, things will depend on our assessment next spring and early summer of how we're doing. I think that will have the biggest impact on the President's decisions in terms of the pacing. We've talked all along about beginning of the withdrawals in July being conditions-based in terms of the numbers and I think that continues to be the position. It will be based more on that than on, I think, domestic politics.
I can't see anything in the transcript that says Robert Gates wants the lame duck sessions to repeal it. That is the reporter asking it. So the media report from AP appears to be a flat out lie. Gates is now going to have to say it was misreported but that is already doing the rounds in the news and internet. I am sure Fox News will be all upset over it as well.
Gates has been around a long time, I am sure he knows about the caretaker convention, and wouldn't suggest that new policy be conducted during a lame duck congressional session. This is bad media reporting. They made something up.
Phoenix Eats Out
is the restaurant review site for Phoenix
and Old Town Scottsdale
which lists the modernist and contemporary restaurants, taverns and bars in the greater Phoenix area.
This is the list of the most popular restaurants pages from phoenixeatsout.com that have been viewed the most;
My personal favourite restaurants in Phoenix are AZ88
, Humble Pie
, Orange Table
, The Vig
and others coming close behind. View the complete list with the photo-journalistic style images on phoenixeatsout.com
Arizona is an outdoor state and has lots of hiking in the city and around the state. Phoenix is unusual for most cities in having several large mountains in the center of the city with great hiking. Anyone who comes to Phoenix has to do the Echo Canyon trail on Camelback
and the Summit Hike on Squaw Peak
or Piesta Peak. The views of the city, suburbs and surrounding mountains are wonderful from Camelback and Piesta Peak.
For more experienced hikers there is the McDowell Mountains in North Scottsdale that has several difficult and strenuous hikes in Tom's Thumb
and Bell Pass
. Alternatively, you can hike the highest mountain in Arizona. At 12,600 feet Humphrey's Peak
is a long and difficult hike.
Between 2004 and 2009 this site, southsearepublic.org
, was a constitutional blog based on scoop which focused on Australian and global constitutional issues.
One of the strongest aspects of it was the development of constitutions by those involved in the blog. These constitutions are the outcome:
The constitutions were built using principles from Montesquieu's separation of powers, the enlightnment's universal political rights and the ancient Athenian technology of sortition and choice by lot.
South Sea Republic started in 2004 as an Australian constitutional blog in 2004 based on scoop software. It was an immigrative outgrowth of Kuro5hin. The archives for each year since then;
The articles are ordered by views.
I am an Australian living in the United States as a permanent resident.
I am a software developer by trade and mostly work in Java and jump between middleware and front end.
I originally worked in the New York area of the United States in telecommunications before moving to Washington DC and
working in a mix of telecommunications, energy and ITS. I started my own software company before heading out to
Arizona and working with Shutterfly. Since then I have joined a startup in the Phoenix area and am thoroughly enjoying myself.
I do a lot of photography which I post on this website, but also on flickr. I have a photo-journalistic website which lists
the modernist and contemporary restaurants in phoenix. I have a site on the Australian Flying Corps [AFC]
which has been around since the 1990s and which I unfortunately
lost the .org URL to during a life event; however, it is under the www.australianflyingcorps.com
The AFC website has gone through several iterations since the 90s and the two most recent are Australian Flying Corps Archives(2004-2002)
Australian Flying Corps Archives(2002-1999)
which are good places to start.