politics

We can't believe this man used to be Prime Minister of Australia.

This morning, former Prime Minister and current Liberal backbencher Tony Abbott fronted the media to firmly establish his position as a leader in the vote ‘no’ campaign against marriage equality.

“Obviously I will be voting ‘no’,” Abbott said to reporters outside Parliament House in Canberra.

“But in the end this is not about the politicians,” the politician continued, surrounded by television cameras and microphones. “This is about the people, it’s about your view.”

Except of course that it is very much about the politicians.

The vote, by the people whose view is said to be so important, is not legally binding. Ultimately, $122 million will be spent on a postal plebiscite that could be overruled by parliament. That’s $27 million more than is spent on mental health resources in this country. That’s $54 million more than Homelessness Australia estimates would save 3000 domestic violence victims who are turned away from crisis accommodation each year. Or maybe they could fill some of the soul gaps created by that $100 million federal government cut to the arts.

If this is so much about the people and their view, then you’d think there would be some consideration of opinion polls, which are regularly and scrupulously conducted. According to a Fairfax Nielson Poll, 65 per cent of Australians support same-sex marriage and 75 per cent understand the reform to be inevitable. We know that most Australians are in favour of marriage equality – if this really is about the people then the decision has already been made.

Tony Abbott. Image via Getty.

But Tony Abbott insists this isn't about him. It's about you. And your view. But also it's a little bit (a lot) about his view that he would very much like you to agree with.

"And I say to you if you don't like same-sex marriage, vote 'no'," Abbott advocates.

If you're searching for the political argument in this statement - there isn't one.

ADVERTISEMENT

If you don't 'like' people of the same sex getting married, then don't marry someone of the same sex.

And maybe don't vote on a human rights issue based on an illogical feeling.

Ah, the pitfalls of democracy.

"If you're worried about religious freedom and freedom of speech, vote 'no'."

Religious freedom is quite literally enshrined in our Constitution under section 116, which states that parliament cannot discriminate against people based on their religious beliefs. To be clear, section 116 is not being subjected to a plebiscite. "Religious freedom", we must remember, also grants citizens the freedom not to be religious. 

Australia is a secular country, meaning that church and state are separate. But Abbott, a man who once held the highest office in our country, wants to govern other people's lives based on his own personal Catholic principles.

If you are indeed worried about 'religious freedom' in this country, I'd argue it's best to vote 'yes'. People who identify as Christian in Australia has been steadily declining for decades. Thus, Christian values have no place in the relationships of a vast majority of Australians, and that is religious freedom.

Furthermore, the irony of telling someone how to vote in order to protect their freedom of speech is beyond comprehension.

But Abbott wasn't finished.

"And if you don't like political correctness, vote no because voting no will help to stop political correctness in its tracks," he said.

The definition of political correctness is as follows: "The avoidance of forms of expression or action that are perceived to exclude, marginalise, or insult groups of people who are socially disadvantaged or discriminated against."

POST CONTINUES BELOW: Mamamia Out Loud has a message for politicians about the same sex marriage plebiscite.

Thus, if you want to continue to exclude, marginalise and insult socially disadvantaged people who are legally and socially discriminated against, then stand with Abbott.

Yes. Political correctness is most definitely the enemy. As is kindness, empathy and common decency.

Perhaps Abbott should have stopped after the part about not 'liking' same-sex marriage, because it seems that is where his argument begins and ends. There is no logic to be found in the 'no' campaign.

But, as a former Prime Minister once said, this isn't about politicians. It's about us.

I'm not going to pull at your heart strings. I'm just going to urge you to vote for what makes sense and what is right.

And equality - as Tony Abbott found this morning - is pretty bloody hard to argue with.

Tags:
00:00 / ???