Tony Abbott has successfully killed off a backbench push to legislate for same-sex marriage in a snap meeting that delivered a substantial win for the embattled Prime Minister and his conservative backers. In a marathon five and a half hour meeting called at short notice in Canberra, Coalition MPs voted two to one in favour of the Coalition’s existing policy of marriage being defined exclusively as the union between a man and a woman. Mr Abbott said, if the Coalition changed its policy before the end of this term, supporters would feel “dudded”. A shift to a free vote could have seen the reform passed in the House of Representatives with progressive Liberals and even some Nationals teaming up with Labor and crossbench MPs to form a majority. Whilst the meeting was a combined Liberal/Nationals meeting an observer noted that the outcome of the vote would have been the same even amongst the Liberals alone.
Tony Abbott promised supporters of traditional marriage, “the Coalition is absolutely on your side,” as he declared his government would not bring on a private member’s bill in this term of parliament to change it, nor allow its MPs a free vote on gay marriage. But the Prime Minister also tried to convince supporters of same-sex marriage that his party “is prepared to make that potentially possible” through a constitutional referendum or plebiscite. After a six-hour Coalition party room meeting last week to discuss whether to allow a free vote on the issue and bring on a private member’s bill, Mr Abbott admitted “if we were starting from scratch this would almost certainly be a free vote; but we are not starting from scratch”. He said there was long and contentious history and promises at past elections. If there was a change now “a lot of the people who voted for us were going to feel dudded”.
“If you support the existing definition of marriage between a man and a women, the Coalition is absolutely on your side. But if you would like to see change at some time in the future the Coalition is prepared to make that potentially possible,” he said. “The disposition … is that it should happen through a people’s vote rather than simply through a parliament’s vote.” Mr Abbott said that there was 66 MPs who voted to support the existing position and 33 who wanted a free vote, although a dozen of those would vote to keep the existing system. “That is strong support for the existing position that the Coalition has held since 2004 that marriage is between a man and a woman,” he said. But it would also be the last term at which MPs could be bound and at the next election it should be put to the Australian people “to settle this matter once and for all”. “I suppose we could have a plebiscite or a constitutional referendum.”
“We want to look at the ramifications of each option,” Mr Abbott said. The government had not decided to embrace same-sex marriage. “We certainly haven’t decided to do that.” Mr Abbott admitted several frontbenchers “would have preferred a different outcome”. Bill Shorten said millions of people would be disappointed with their Prime Minister. “Tony Abbott is holding our country back,” the Opposition Leader said. “It’s a terrible shame this issue was dealt with behind closed doors. It belongs in the house of the Australian people.” He said a Labor government would introduce a bill for marriage equality within 100 days of being elected. “A number of Liberals could lose their seats over this, because about 70 per cent of Australians want change and now it’s only Labor that can promise it” Mr Shelton said.
Australian Christian Lobby Managing Director Lyle Shelton said that the Coalition Party Room had decided to stand as one to preserve marriage. This means the Liberal and National Parties will continue to vote as a bloc to oppose any attempts to redefine marriage. This is a tremendous outcome. “However we know the opponents of marriage will not rest. This is a much-needed reprieve; it is not a final victory.” Mr Shelton said. National Director of FamilyVoice Australia Dr David Phillips said “This is a great result! My sincere thanks go to everyone who made a difference during this critical campaign.With your help, over 160,000 emails were generated using our marriage website. There is still work to do in bypassing the media brick wall to get the truth about real marriage to the mums and dads in the street – but right now we are giving thanks!
AUSTRALIAN CHRISTIANS SHOW SUPPORT FOR TRADITIONAL MARRIAGE WITH FLOWERS
Thousands of flowers were placed in front of Parliament House from Australians last week by those wanting to thank Tony Abbott for standing by traditional marriage. But the prime minister was unable to personally accept their thanks. The gesture was organised by the Christian Federation, which has called for a civil conversation on changing the Marriage Act. “There are millions of Aussies who very much feel in their heart the best way to raise children is with a traditional mum and dad,” executive director Peter Kentley said. The way marriage is now is pretty good, the federation believes. “No one’s being discriminated against with civil unions and de factos,” Mr Kentley said. Family First senator Bob Day, who greeted the organisers, said it was refreshing to see an innovative and “nice gesture” instead of a gimmick. If there was a referendum over the issue he predicts the public would vote no.
But the sea of floral colour on the forecourt was different to the rainbow lights greeting MPs flying into Canberra for the return of parliament. The capital’s terminal also had a giant #WeCanDoThis campaign sign out the front. Opposition Leader Bill Shorten’s same-sex marriage legislation will get 10 minutes of debate in parliament on Monday evening. Liberal backbencher Warren Entsch is expected to give notice of a cross-party bill which is unlikely to be debated for at least a week.Some 3000 bunches of flowers held pride of place on the lawns of Parliament House. Christian staff working for some of our Federal Politicians said that the flowers that were brought into parliament gave out such a sweet smelling fragrance it was as if God’s presence came in with the flowers”.
FRED NILE APPLAUDS COALITION PARTY ROOM ON VOTING TO DEFEND TRADITIONAL MARRIAGE
The Christian Democratic Party (CDP) has applauded Prime Minister Tony Abbott and the 66 Liberal and National Party MPs who voted to support the definition of marriage in line with the status quo. “The party-room result has relieved millions of Australian people who believe strongly in traditional marriage, the historic sacred unity between a man and a woman,” stated Rev Fred Nile, Leader of the Christian Democratic Party. Following six hours of robust party-room discussions, The PM announced that the Coalition MPs had voted not to allow a conscience vote on marriage equality. ” The strong support for the existing definition of marriage is clear evidence that the majority of Australians have become more aware of the severe consequences and risks involved with any changes to the fundamentals and principles of the institution of marriage” Mr Nile said.
The CDP believes that Australians are most fortunately advantaged, as we can learn from the detriments caused by the hasty path which some countries have adopted in legalising same sex marriage. “It’s not at all about equality because what many people don’t know is that same sex couples have the same legal rights as married couples. It’s about the worldwide aggressive movement with a hidden agenda, which aims to shift our society and it’s values and rights. “It’s evident that the legalisation of same sex marriage is detrimental to freedom of speech, rights and of religious practices. Most importantly, is the inhumane indignity which legalising same sex marriage causes in the abolishment of the natural rights of a child to their biological mother and father. “The immensely pleasing result is a victory to all the families, individuals and institutions who value traditional marriage. The CDP will continue our pledge to protect the definition of marriage, “said Mr Nile.
Source: Press Release from Christian Democratic Party