Minister for Defence Christopher Pyne has gone back to toeing the party line – and the Coalition’s plan for a plebiscite on same-sex marriage – after a leaked tape revealed him saying the government must deliver marriage equality “before too long”.
The leaked audio was of Pyne talking to members of the Liberal Party while out at a bar on Friday night.
He was recorded reportedly saying same-sex marriage will be made legal “sooner than everyone thinks”. And that “one of those things that we’ve got to deliver before too long is marriage equality in this country”.
This sounds like good news, right?
Problem is, the claim has since been rejected by fellow party members who weren’t at the bar; the audio has led to rumours of division within the Liberal Party; and the whole thing has re-ignited the debate around same-sex marriage and the merits danger of a referendum on the issue.
Worst of all, Pyne is now carefully treading the party line. Away from talk of the “government delivering” and back to talk of a plebiscite.
— ABC Q&A (@QandA) June 26, 2017
The frontbencher was quizzed about the issue on last night’s Q&A.
“Behind closed doors, Christopher Pyne has said that same-sex marriage is to be legalised sooner rather than later – a claim that has been rejected by key Cabinet members,” the questioner told the panel. “Will this disagreement within the Coalition advance the case of same-sex marriage, or will it hinder it?”
And Pyne’s response:
“Well, I’m in favour of marriage equality. I always have been. I spoke to a group of supporters – generally – of marriage equality on Friday night, and told them what I’ve said many times before in the media, which is to have hope that there will be marriage equality in Australia, that it will come eventually.”