Yesterday, Prime Minister Tony Abbott blocked a vote on marriage equality in the Parliament. Today, Labor Leader in the Senate Penny Wong explains why Mr Abbott missed a major opportunity last night to show true leadership…
Millions of Australians will be dismayed by Tony Abbott’s manoeuvring in Canberra last night to block a vote on marriage equality in the Parliament.
Instead of showing leadership, Mr Abbott has that shown he is stuck in the past.
Instead of showing flexibility, he has shown stubbornness.
Instead of showing that he is willing to listen, Mr Abbott has shown that he has a closed mind.
It is sad that Mr Abbott is so far out of step with mainstream opinion.
Australians overwhelmingly support marriage equality. Members of all political parties, activists, business leaders, unionists, sporting heroes, the parents of gay and lesbian children, and people throughout the country have voiced their support.
The Prime Minister’s stance will have real impacts on gay and lesbian Australians – it makes it clear that marriage equality will not be achieved while Mr Abbott remains Prime Minister.
Mr Abbott has acted to stop the Parliament from resolving the issue.
He is telling same sex couples they cannot express their love and commitment for one another through marriage, in the same way as heterosexual couples.
He wants to entrench discrimination.
Mr Abbott’s confused and contradictory statements this morning about putting the issue to a plebiscite are only more delaying and blocking tactics.
The High Court has made it clear that it is up to the Parliament to reform the Marriage Act.
A bill to allow same-sex marriage has been drafted and has cross-party support.
If the Liberal Party gave its MPs a free vote, this bill could be decided on by the Parliament before the end of the year.
Mr Abbott’s conduct shows the only way to achieve marriage equality is to change the government.
The next federal election will be the real plebiscite on this issue.
I say to all of those who support marriage equality, do not lose hope.
Today’s disappointment needs to be translated into renewed commitment to continue campaigning for this reform.
It is a reform supported by more than two-thirds of all Australians.
It is a reform supported by MPs and Senators from all political parties.
And it is a reform that we will achieve because it is about the people we love.