A 2019 Australian Federal Election Policy Guide

SECTION 11

 

 

POLARISING ISSUES (4 0F 8)

 

 

 

SAME SEX MARRIAGE IN AUSTRALIA 

                                                          BACKGROUND

 

 

 

Before same-sex- marriage was made legal in Australia, the issue had been on the 

political agenda in Australia for several years, as part of the broader debate about the legal recognition of same-sex relationships.

 

The right to marry was one significant area of difference between the treatment of same-sex and heterosexual relationships.

 

Advocates of marriage equality argued it was important to move quickly to remove this obstacle to full legal equality.

 

However, while there was a shift in community and political opinion, for some the issue of same-sex marriage remains complex and controversial raising human rights, social and religious questions.

 

The Marriage Act 1966 (Cth) defined marriage as ‘the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life’. This definition was inserted into the Marriage Act in 2004.

 

After the 2004 amendments,18 Bills dealing with marriage equality or the recognition of overseas same-sex marriages were introduced into the federal Parliament. No Bill progressed past the second reading stage and, consequently, no Bill was debated by the second chamber.

 

All 18 Bills were been private members’ Bills, introduced by members of Parliament from across the political spectrum.

 

During the 44th Parliament the debate about same-sex marriage further intensified, triggered, in part, by international developments in the United Kingdom, New Zealand, the United States and Ireland where same-sex marriage is now permitted.

 

The debate was spurred on by the introduction of a raft of private members Bills and, finally, by the Coalition party room decision in August 2015 to reject a policy change allowing a conscience vote on same-sex marriage adopting, instead, a proposal to put the matter to a popular vote after the 2016 election.

 

A popular vote by Plebiscite

 

After the 2016 election, Prime Minister Turnbull  stated that, in keeping with the Coalition’s election commitment, the Government will introduce into the Parliament a Bill for the holding of a plebiscite on same-sex marriage as soon as is practicable and most likely in early 2017.

 

In Australia, the terms ‘plebiscite’ and ‘referendum’ have quite distinct meanings. At national level, a referendum is a vote to change the Constitution, subject to strict rules set out in section 128 of the Constitution and with a binding outcome.

 

Legally, a referendum to decide the Commonwealth’s power over same-sex marriage was not necessary. The High Court determined that, in the Same-sex marriage case, the federal Parliament has the power to legislate with respect to same-sex marriage. In contrast, a national plebiscite is a vote by citizens on any subject of national significance but which does not affect the Constitution.

 

Plebiscites are normally advisory and do not compel a government to act on the outcome.

 

The enabling Act for the plebiscite set out the purpose of the plebiscite. The Act

 

-did not specify any actions expected of the Government as a result of the plebiscite

 

-speficied that voting would be voluntary and 

 

-specified the actual question to be put to the electors which was

 

 

 

“Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry?”

 

Then Attorney-General Senator Brandis indicated that, in his view, and subject to cabinet approval, the question would be kept simple to avoid confusion. Voting would be compulsory, and counting the vote would be by electorates with a majority of votes nationally required to be successful. Decisions about possible public funding of the yes and no case would be a matter for Cabinet.

 

Those in favour of the plebescite argued that social issues like marriage should be resolved by means of direct democracy such as a plebiscite.

 

Those opposed to a plebiscite argued that it is an expensive opinion poll, (estimated cost $160 million) with no guarantee that Parliament would heed the result. Opponents pointed to its potential to be divisive and incite homophobic hatred.

 

They also argued human rights issues affecting a minority should be decided by a representative Parliament and that Parliament has not in the past and should not  abrogate its responsibilities on important human rights issues.

 

The ALP was opposed to a plebiscite and went to the 2016 election promising to introduce a Marriage Equality Bill within 100 days if elected to office. Opposition Leader Bill Shorten left open the option of bringing a private member’s Bill to push for a conscience vote rather than a plebiscite.

 

Independents and minor parties expressed a range of views. The Australian Greens, Senator Xenophon, Mr Wilkie, Ms McGowan and Mr Hinch supported same-sex marriage, preferring a parliamentary vote rather than a plebiscite.

 

Mr Katter, Senator Lambie and Senator Hanson opposed same-sex marriage.

 

Prime Minister Turnbull indicated that Coalition members would  not be bound by the outcome of the plebiscite. However, he was in no doubt that, if the plebiscite is carried, an overwhelming majority of Members and Senators would vote for the subsequent Bill that would permit same-sex marriage. 

 

Sources: Same-sex marriage Mary Anne Neilsen, Law and Bills Digest Key Issue. Parliament of Australia    https://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Parliamentary_Departments/Parliamentary_Library/pubs/BriefingBook45p/SameSexMarriage

D McKeown, A chronology of same-sex marriage bills introduced into the federal parliament: a quick guide, Research paper series, 2016-17, Parliamentary Library, Canberra, updated July 2016.

 M Neilsen, Same-sex marriage: issues for the 44th Parliament, Research paper series, 2015-16, Parliamentary Library, Canberra, 8 September 2015.

 

Results: ABC News: Same-sex marriage postal survey See the full results, including seat-by-seat breakdowns. https://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-11-15/same-sex-marriage-results-ssm/9145636

A SURVEY OF POLITICIANS VOTING INTENTIONS CONDUCTED BETWEEN THE PLEBESCITE RESULT AND THE PARLIAMENTARY VOTE ON THE ISSUE

Source https://www.abc.net.au/cm/lb/9146226/data/tues-ssm-graphic-desktop-v7-data.png

THE SAME SEX MARRIAGE PLEBISCITE

 

The national postal survey on same-sex marriage has returned a decisive Yes vote, with 61.6 per cent of Australians in favour of changing the law. Around the country, 133 federal electorates voted Yes while 17 voted No. But the survey also revealed a number of electorates are out-of-step with their local MP on the question of same-sex marriage. Those politicians are now in an awkward position as the debate heads to the parliament, where the details of the change to the Marriage Act will be decided.

Source: Andrew Beaumont Australia has given same-sex marriage a resounding YesThe Conversation November 15, 2017

https://www.sbs.com.au/news/same-sex-marriage-survey-results-breakdown-how-did-your-electorate-vote

 

Australia has given same-sex marriage a resounding Yes but some electorates with high immigrant populations voted 

 

Over 7.8 million people voted “yes” to same-sex marriage (61.6% of clear responses) beating the 4.9 million “no” voters (38.4% of responses). But New South Wales had the lowest “yes” vote as a result of Western Sydney electorates with high immigrant populations voting against.

 

A total of just over 12.7 million (79.5% of the electorate) participated in the survey overall. The ACT led the “yes” vote with 74%, followed by Victoria (64.9%), Western Australia (63.7%), Tasmania (63.6%), South Australia (62.5%), Queensland (60.7%), the NT (60.6%) and lastly New South Wales (57.8%)

 

The seven highest “no” votes by electorate were all in Western Sydney, with “no” winning at least 59% in all seven of these electorates. “No” won 74% in Blaxland, 70% in Watson, 65% in McMahon, 64% in Werriwa, 64% in Fowler, 62% in Parramatta and 59% in Chifley. However, “yes” won 75% in major “no” supporter Tony Abbott’s Warringah.

 

Overall, 133 of the 150 Federal electorates voted “yes”, and 17 “no”, with Blaxland the highest “no” electorate (74%).

 

12 NSW electorates, three Queensland electorates and two Victorian electorates voted “no”.

 

The closest result was in Bennelong, the seat where a byelection will be held 16 December, where “no” had the most votes by 50.2% to 49.8%. The highest “yes” votes were in the electorates of Melbourne and Sydney (both 84%). Turnout was slightly higher among women (81.6%) than men (77.3%). The youngest eligible voters (18-19 year-olds) participated strongly with a 78.2% turnout, more than for any other age group below 45.

 

 If we divide the number of “yes” and “no” responses by the total electorate (just over 16 million), then 48.8% of the overall electorate voted “yes” and 30.5% “no”. While “yes” did not quite win a majority of the overall electorate, this is a very strong result considering the voluntary voting in this survey.

 

Overall participation

 

Response clear 79.3%

 

Response not clear 0.2%

 

Non-responding 20.5%

 

Of the eligible voting population, 12.6 million Australians submitted a clear response, 36,686 submitted a response that was not clear, and

 

3.2 million did not respond. Source: ABS Created with Datawrapper

 

Anti- same sex marriage advocate Bob Katter could have gained some dignity and kudos for publicly standing his ground and voting no when the final vote came, which he did,  unlike a dozen conservative politicians who headed for the door to 'abstain' from the final vote instead of publicly acknowledging their objections to same sex marriage. 

Source: https://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/gay-marriage/samesex-marriage-vote-four-no-votes-in-historic-decision/news-story/4af70acb6a8d614b5a5593197e1b2f56

Unfortunately for Mr Katter, any respect he might have won for staying in the House and voting was preceded by his comments after the yes vote plebiscite results were announced and his contribution to the final debate in the Parliament.

 

The day after the plebiscite vote result was announced, Bob Katter said the same-sex marriage vote was a ‘big fat lie’ Talking about then Prime Minister Turnbull, Katter offered this -

 

“When you die and go to the good lord, he’ll say how did you spend that good year when the people of Australia gave you the most power of anyone in this country? What did you do with that power he gave you? Oh! You’ve decided they’re going to have these rights, but they’ve already got these rights. I don’t think God will be pleased with him.. “champion of the LGBTQ … ABCs whatever they call themselves”.

 

Katter said he was furious that homosexuals and lesbians had

 

“taken the word gay, which used to mean happy. I have a very clear idea of what is going on here: the homosexuals in Australia, they took the word gay. Same-sex marriage should not be taken seriously. Truly this proposition deserves to be laughed at and ridiculed. It doesn’t serve any serious treatment,”.

 

Source: Ben Graham. Bob Katter says the same-sex marriage vote is a ‘big fat lie’ News Com. Au. https://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/gay-marriage/bob-katter-says-the-samesex-marriage-vote-is-a-big-fat-lie/news-story/61c86ebd3066adff7d59469092beb30e

 

 

In the actual debate before the final vote he offered these comments

 

- He claimed that LGBTI people are going against their "genetic programming":

 

"The people advocating this proposition tonight, the LGBTIs, have maybe 60 years on their side. I have 3.5 million years of genetic programming on my side, because we human beings, they tell us, have been around for 3.5 million years."

 

- that homosexuality is more prevalent in Australia than elsewhere, and that this has something to do with male juvenile suicide rates.

 

"If you analyse why this country continuously has the highest male juvenile suicide rates in the world – why is that? There is something going wrong here. We have an extraordinary incidence of homosexual behaviour in Australia compared with other nations, and I think the people who have been speaking for this bill would agree with me on that”.

 

-suggesting gay people had demanded the right to give blood, and this led to children being injected "with AIDS".

 

"You talk about equality. They wanted equality in the giving of blood. They said, 'We as homosexuals have a right to give blood', so they did, and I think 72 children were injected with AIDS from the blood that was given. . There were 724 AIDS cases in this country, and no-one ever brought up the fact all of those AIDS cases, apart from the poor little children who got it through blood transfusion – whatever figure it was –were either intravenous drug users or men participating in homosexual behaviour. There were only two out of 724 cases that claim they weren't, and the report noted that they were living with an at-risk person – in other words, a homosexual person. So there was no such thing as AIDS in this country except within that narrow group of intravenous drug users and people participating in that sort of behaviour."

 

 

When summing up the second reading speeches, Liberal MP and long-time equality advocate Warren Entsch slammed Katter for what he said was a cringeworthy effort.

 

"His pathetic attempts of humour, insensitivity, grossly misleading comments were devoid of any facts and were highly offensive, embarrassing, and cringeworthy," Entsch said. "They need to be called out for what they are. His speech exemplifies what the LGBTI community have had to endure for so long."

 

Source: Josh Taylor. Bob Katter Used His 15 Minutes On Marriage Equality To Say A Bunch Of Just Insane Things. BuzzFeed News. 7 December 2017. https://www.buzzfeed.com/joshtaylor/bob-katter-used-his-15-minutes-on-marriage-equality-to-say

 

THERE WERE NOT MANY SITTING ON THE NO SIDE OF THE PARLIAMENT WHEN THE FINAL VOTE ON SAME SEX MARRIAGE WAS TAKEN.

SOURCE:https://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/gay-marriage/samesex-marriage-vote-four-no-votes-in-historic-decision/news-story/4af70acb6a8d614b5a5593197e1b2f56

 SELF IDENTIFYING MAN OF THE JEWISH FAITH JOSH FREYDENBERG (LEFT) SMILING AND CLAPPING THE 'OVERWHELMING PARLIAMENTARY YES VOTE ON SAME SEX MARRIAGE WITH FELLOW CONSERVATIVES DRAPED IN A GAY PRIDE FLAG. 

Source: https://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/gay-marriage/samesex-marriage-bill-passes-house-of-representatives/news-story/0eb0cfd88183fe0d48453ae5633353d0

WHO VOTED YES, NO OR ABSTAINED IN THE PARLIAMENTARY VOTE ON SAME-SEX-MARRIAGE ? 

 

 

When it came to the final vote on same-sex marriage, it was standing room only on the "yes" side of the House of Representatives, while a lonely group of just four "no" voters perched on the other side. But some MPs were missing from the historic event.

 

The House of Representatives does not officially record MPs who abstain, but it is estimated about 14 MPs did not vote on the same-sex marriage bill. This included some of Parliament's most high profile "no" advocates, including Treasurer Scott Morrison, former prime minister Tony Abbott and former defence minister Kevin Andrews. Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce was also among the group, along with renegade Liberal Nationals MP George Christensen, conservative West Australian Liberal Andrew Hastie and Assistant Health Minister David Gillespie.

 

In the upper house 12 senators voted "no", and eight more abstained on the final same-sex marriage vote. These included Employment Minister Michaelia Cash, Labor's Deb O'Neil and One Nation's Pauline Hanson. South Australian Liberal David Fawcett also abstained 

 

While abstaining could be interpreted as fence-sitting on a controversial issue, many MPs have explained they chose to forgo their votes to try and accommodate both their personal views on same-sex marriage and the clear majority "yes" vote in the postal survey.

 

Others have added that had the bill been amended to include more protections for freedom of speech and religion, they may have voted differently. Mr Abbott had previously said the postal survey result "should be respected – respected by the community, respected by the Parliament". In Mr Abbott's Sydney electorate of Warringah, 75 per cent of eligible residents voted "yes".

 

Mr Joyce, who believes in the "traditional form" of marriage told Parliament on Thursday he had separated from his wife, adding he did not pretend to be "any sort of saint". In an interview with 2GB on Friday, Mr Joyce explained he had made the revelation because he didn't want to look like a hypocrite.

 

Mr Andrews has written an entire book on the importance of marriage between a man and a woman. He said he did not want to "stand in the way" of the survey result but "could not positively vote for a bill which failed to protect freedom of conscience and belief".

 

Government frontbenchers Michael Sukkar​ and Alex Hawke are also understood to have abstained from the vote on Thursday evening.

 

Former Labor treasurer Wayne Swan – a supporter of same-sex marriage – was also missing from the final vote. He was not in Parliament on Thursday, but was given a "pair", meaning another MP on the government side also sat the vote out.

 

Source: Judith Ireland and Latika Bourke Same-sex marriage: Tony Abbott, Barnaby Joyce, Scott Morrison and the other MPs who didn't vote 'yes' or 'no'. Sydney Morning Herald. Online 7 December 2017  https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/samesex-marriage-tony-abbott-barnaby-joyce-scott-morrison-and-the-other-mps-who-didnt-vote-yes-or-no-20171207-h00kwo.html

SCOTT MORRISON ON SAME SEX MARRIAGE 

 

 

 

In an interview on ABC prior to the plebescite  , Mr Morrison candidly revealed his stance on the issue.

 

My view on this topic is as important as everyone else’s, That is why we are having a survey on it. My view is, look I am voting no, it is OK to say no and people should know that.”

 

Mr Wordsworth was then keen to know if the question of religious exemption should be sorted out before the yes or not vote. “Let’s understand what this is,” Mr Morrison replied.

 

“There is a survey, effectively the plebiscite, that we promised to the people at the last election. If that is passed, then a private members’ bill would be facilitated. The Government is not bringing forward a bill on this. It would be facilitated on this and then the Parliament would then work through that bill.

 

Mr Wordsworth then suggested to Mr Morrison “some coalition MPs might say if it wasn’t discussed before the survey, they might use it as a delaying tactic or a reason to vote “no” after the survey”.

 

Mr Wordsworth was then keen to know if the question of religious exemption should be sorted out before the yes or not vote.

 

“Let’s understand what this is,” Mr Morrison replied. “There is a survey, effectively the plebiscite, that we promised to the people at the last election. If that is passed, then a private members’ bill would be facilitated. The Government is not bringing forward a bill on this. It would be facilitated on this and then the Parliament would then work through that bill"

 

Source Staff Reporters: Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison reveals he is voting ‘no’ in same-sex marriage plebiscite. News.com. au. https://www.news.com.au/national/politics/federal-treasurer-scott-morrison-reveals-he-is-voting-no-in-samesex-marriage-plebiscite/news-story/d7be152a9ef873e777dcb653af478a20

 

Morrison, then Federal Treasurer, weighed into the debate over same-sex marriage, saying advocates for traditional marriage have also endured hatred and bigotry.

 

 The comments followed a speech by Labor frontbencher Penny Wong attacking the Coalition's plan to hold a plebiscite on gay marriage.

 

She argued that a national vote on same-sex marriage could stoke hatred and homophobia, and incite bigotry against families like hers.

 

"I oppose a plebiscite because I do not want my relationship, my family to be the subject of inquiry, of censure, of condemnation by others. And I do not want other relationships, other families, to be targeted either. Not one straight politician advocating a plebiscite on marriage equality knows what that is like. What it is like to live with the casual and deliberate prejudice that some still harbour,"

 

Mr Morrison said he had also endured bigotry from advocates of same-sex marriage who disliked his stance against change.

 

"I understand the concern that Penny is raising I know it from personal experience, having been exposed to that hatred and bigotry for the views I've taken from others who have a different view to me. Frankly people of very strong religious views have been subject quite dreadful hate speech and bigotry as well, it's not confined to one side of the debate." But the Treasurer said he remained confident the Australian public could conduct a civilised debate on the issue if a plebiscite was held. "I have a bigger view of the Australian people more broadly … I think the best way is for us all to have a say on this deal with it and move on,"

 

 Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said Mr Morrison's comments were unwelcome.

 

 

"I do accept that people of faith do get a hard time sometimes ... and people of religious faith are entitled to respect," he said. "But what I don't understand is why the Treasurer of Australia feels the need to drive across two paddocks, cross three rivers and get to a bridge, to talk about Penny Wong's remarkable speech."

 

Cory Bernardi weighed into the same-sex marriage debate, accusing Malcolm Turnbull of giving "implicit support" to the claim that he is homophobic. Bernardi said Mr Turnbull chose to

 

"appease the baying crowd. By saying he'd had 'firm discussions' with 'a number of colleagues', Turnbull gave implicit support to the claim that myself and other Coalition MPs are 'homophobic' and implied that he'd had a conversation with me about 'homophobia'.For the record I have never had such a conversation with any of my colleagues because they know that any such claims cannot be backed with facts."

 

Senator Bernardi said while he was opposed to legalising same-sex marriage, he was not homophobic.

 

Source: Stephen Dziedzic and Jane Norman. Scott Morrison weighs in on gay marriage after Penny Wong comments  22 Jun 2016. ABC News  

 

 

 

ELECTORATES THAT VOTED NO IN THE SAME SEX MARRIAGE PLEBESCITE [17]

 

Bennelong 50.2%

 

Groom 51%

 

Mitchell 51%

 

Bruce 53%

 

Kennedy 53%

 

Greenway 54%

 

Banks 55%

 

Maranoa 56%

 

Barton 56%

 

Calwell 57%

 

Chifley 59%

 

 

Parramatta 62%

 

Fowler 64%

 

Werriwa 64%

 

McMahon 65%

 

Watson 70%

 

Blaxland 74%

 

 

Source : ABC News: Results: Same-sex marriage postal survey See the full results, including seat-by-seat breakdowns. 15 Nov 2017 https://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-11-15/same-sex-marriage-results-ssm/9145636

 

CONSERVATIVE MIGRANT ELECTORATES THAT VOTED NO IN THE SAME SEX MARRIAGE PLEBESCITE

 

 

More than any other area in Australia, the people of western Sydney voted "no". Here the cultural clash of marriage equality and the conservative values of immigrant cultures told the story of the polls.

 

The "no" campaign targeted conservative immigrant cultures for good reason- 

 

SEAT                        STATE    NO VOTE       ISLAMIC 

                                                       %                      %

 

GREENWAY NSW ALP              53.6                 4.1

McMAHON NSW ALP               60.0                 4.2

BRUCE VIC ALP                         53.0                 4.6

CHIFLEY NSW ALP                   58.7                 5.3

WERRIWA NSW ALP                 63.7                10.2

PARRAMATTA NSW ALP         61.6                  7.6

BARTON NSW ALP                  56.4                  7.7

CALWELL VIC ALP                   56.0                13.3

WATSON NSW ALP                  72.0                16.7

BLAXLAND NSW ALP              73.9                 17.4

 

OTHER ELECTORATES WITH MORE THAN 4.0 % ISLAMIC VOTERS WHO VOTED ‘YES’

 

SEAT STATE                           NO VOTE        ISLAMIC

                                                                                        %                   %

 

GELLIBRAND VIC ALP      31.9             4.3

HOLT VIC ALP                    49.3             4.3

GORTON VIC ALP              46.7             5.3

SCULLIN VIC ALP              46.6             5.3

FOWLER NSW ALP            36.3             5.6

WILLS VIC ALP                   30.0             7.7

REID NSW ALP                   47.3            10.3

 

 

 

 

 

ELECTORATE BACK LASH IN HIGH MIGRANT,  MUSLIM, JEWISH AND OTHER RELIGIOUS AREAS ? 

 

 

 

 

GRAPHIC OF PERCENTAGE OF YES VOTES IN WESTERN SYDNEY ELECTORATES 

https://www.sbs.com.au/news/same-sex-marriage-survey-results-breakdown-how-did-your-electorate-vote

The strong No vote could be attributed to the high migrant populations in these areas, and those communities’ tendencies to support traditional and religious views of marriage.

 

In the 2016 Census data, 14 per cent of people in Blaxland were Lebanese, and 11 per cent were Chinese.

 

Islam was the most popular religion in the seat at 29 per cent, followed by Catholicism at 19 per cent.

 

Source: James Elton-Pym. Some politicians may now find themselves voting against the wishes of their electorates on a bill to legalise same-sex marriage. SBS News 19 November 2018. https://www.sbs.com.au/news/the-mps-who-are-out-of-step-with-their-electorate-on-same-sex-marriage

A JOYFUL SENATOR PENNY WONG CELEBRATES SAME SEX MARRIAGE LEGISLATION WITH HER COLLEAGUES [TOP LEFT] 

Source: https://edge.alluremedia.com.au/uploads/businessinsider/2017/12/GettyImages-887487154.jpg

MPs THAT VOTED YES IN “NO” MAJORITY ELECTORATES [12]

 

Banks NO 55%  David Coleman   COALITION

 

Bruce  NO 53% Julian Hill ALP

 

Greenway NO 54% Michelle Rowland ALP

 

Barton NO 56% Linda Burney ALP

 

Calwell NO 57% Maria Vamvakinou ALP

 

Chifley NO 59% Ed Husic ALP

 

Parramatta NO 62% Julie Owens ALP

 

Fowler NO 64% Chris Hayes ALP

 

Werriwa NO 64% Anne Stanley ALP

 

McMahon NO 65% Chris Bowen ALP

 

Watson NO 70% Tony Burke ALP

 

Blaxland NO 74% Jason Clare ALP

 

 

MPs THAT VOTED NO IN “YES” MAJORITY ELECTORATES [2]

 

Hinkler YES 50.7% Keith Pitt COALITION

 

Mc Millan YES 63% Russell Broadbent COALITION

 

 

MPs THAT ABSTAINED IN “YES” MAJORITY ELECTORATES [11]

 

 

(ALL COALITION MPs)

 

Cook YES 55% Scott Morrison

 

Warringah YES 75% Tony Abbott

 

Menzies YES 57% Kevin Andrews

 

New England YES 53% Barnaby Joyce

 

Dawson YES 55% George Christensen

 

Canning YES 67% Andrew Hastie

 

Lyne YES 55% David Gillespie

 

Deakin YES 66%Michael Sukkar

 

O’Conner YES 56 %Rick Wilson

 

Fadden YES 62% Stuart Robert

 

Forde YES 61% Bert van Manen

 

Notes:

 

1      The member for Mitchell, Alex Hawke was the 12th Coalition member to abstain despite his electorate voting NO 51% - He may have been the ‘pairing’ for Wayne Swan (ALP) who was absent.

 

2       The member for Banks voted for same-sex-marriage against the majority NO vote of his electorate. Ironically, Banks is the most vulnerable of Coalition seats to backlash on same sex marriage, the proposal to move the Australian Embassy in Israel, and the Government’s ambivalence on religious freedom v LGBTIQ+ rights.    

 

SOURCES

 

Luke Kinsella. Same-sex marriage vote: Four ‘no’ votes in historic decision. news.com.auhttps://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/gay-marriage/samesex-marriage-vote-four-no-votes-in-historic-decision/news-story/4af70acb6a8d614b5a5593197e1b2f56

 

ABC News: Results: Same-sex marriage postal survey See the full results, including seat-by-seat breakdowns. 15 Nov 2017 https://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-11-15/same-sex-marriage-results-ssm/9145636

 

Anna Henderson. Same-sex marriage: This is everyone who didn't vote to support the bill. ABC News Online. 9 December 2017.https://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-12-08/same-sex-marriage-who-didnt-vote/9240584

 

James Elton-Pym. Some politicians may now find themselves voting against the wishes of their electorates on a bill to legalise same-sex marriage. SBS News 19 November 2018. https://www.sbs.com.au/news/the-mps-who-are-out-of-step-with-their-electorate-on-same-sex-marriage

EXPLANATORY COMMENTS FROM MPs WHO ABSTAINED FROM THE FINAL VOTE ON SAME SEX MARRIAGE LEGISLATION OR VOTED NO

 

 

KEITH PITT

 

Mr Pitt released a statement declaring his vote was not “for or against same-sex marriage”, but instead about the bill. “The debate today was about the bill and its details. I supported a range of amendments which I believed would have improved the bill, but the final legislation was put without these amendments included.

 

Sources: Luke Kinsella. Same-sex marriage vote: Four ‘no’ votes in historic decision. news.com.auhttps://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/gay-marriage/samesex-marriage-vote-four-no-votes-in-historic-decision/news-story/4af70acb6a8d614b5a5593197e1b2f56

 

BARNABY JOYCE

 

"I said at the start I believe in the current definition of marriage and I've said that all the way along. But I said I'd never vote against the wishes of the Australian people and I didn't."

 

Source: Anna Henderson. Same-sex marriage: This is everyone who didn't vote to support the bill. ABC News Online. 9 December 2017.https://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-12-08/same-sex-marriage-who-didnt-vote/9240584

 

TONY ABBOTT

 

“On same sex marriage, it’s time to say that political correctness has gotten completely out of hand and to vote no to stop it in its tracks”

 

Source: James Elton-Pym. Some politicians may now find themselves voting against the wishes of their electorates on a bill to legalise same-sex marriage. SBS News 19 November 2018.

 

ANDREW HASTIE

 

“There will be much more madness if we re-define marriage. That’s why I’m voting no”.

 

Source: James Elton-Pym. Some politicians may now find themselves voting against the wishes of their electorates on a bill to legalise same-sex marriage. SBS News 19 November 2018.

 

KEVIN ANDREWS

 

Mr Andrews advocated for strong religious protections for those who did not want to participate in same-sex weddings. He said bakers should be given the right to refuse to service same-sex weddings. He said a gay baker or a Jewish baker should also be allowed to refuse to service an Islamic wedding, and vice versa. "It has to be consistent," he said.

 

Source: James Elton-Pym. Some politicians may now find themselves voting against the wishes of their electorates on a bill to legalise same-sex marriage. SBS News 19 November 2018. https://www.sbs.com.au/news/the-mps-who-are-out-of-step-with-their-electorate-on-same-sex-marriage

 

RUSSELL BROADBENT

 

“There's a lot of consternation in my community at the moment because, even though the vote for same-sex marriage in my electorate was 61 percent and about 40 percent voted no, I, their federal member, will be voting no in this debate. I represent all the people in my electorate.”

 

Source: Vice. Which MPs Voted Against the Same Sex Marriage Law? https://www.vice.com/en_au/article/mb9gq3/which-mps-voted-against-the-same-sex-marriage-law

 

GEORGE CHRISTENSEN

 

"I told my electorate I would not vote against their wishes. However, I am concerned the same-sex marriage bill failed to protect religious liberty."

 

Source: Anna Henderson. Same-sex marriage: This is everyone who didn't vote to support the bill. ABC News Online. 9 December 2017.https://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-12-08/same-sex-marriage-who-didnt-vote/9240584

 

STUART ROBERT

 

"Mr Robert let the electorate know from the outset that he would personally be voting no in the postal survey, whilst also stating that if the electorate voted yes he would not stand in the way of a bill passing through the House."

 

Source: Anna Henderson. Same-sex marriage: This is everyone who didn't vote to support the bill. ABC News Online. 9 December 2017.https://www.abc.net.au017-12-08/same-sex-marriage-who-didnt-vote/9240584/news/2

 

 

 

2019 ELECTION IMPLICATIONS  

 

 

The legalisation of same sex marriage occured after the 2016 federal election. The 2019 elections presents the first significant opportunity for those who were and remain opposed to same sex marriage to express that antipathy in the ballot box.

 

This issue and the one this legislation triggered immediately after same sex marriage was legalised - the nexus between LGBTIQ+ rights in general [not just students and teachers] and the 'right' of  Orthodox, Christian, Catholic and Muslim clerics institutions to entrench deeper into national law their traditional "freedom of religion'" practices-  is very likely to bind together otherwise antagonistic groups on the basis of their religion inside and between electorates. 

 

A back lash from these community groups in electorates dominated or heavlly populated by immigrants, Muslim and Christian othodoxy may influence the outcome of several election battle electorates in 2019 when this sleeping irritation- for some this 'offence'-  is let off the leash.

 

For example, eleven Australian Labor Party MPs contradicted the majority will of the people in the electorates they represent, voting in favour of the legalisation of same sex marriage in the final House of Representatives vote division. The plebiscite which preceded this event in those electorates indicated that the majority of people in the same electorates voted NO in the same sex marriage plebescite.

 

Will there be a price to pay for this decision for the MPs holding those and other seats who voted for same sex marriage back in 2017 ?  Will other issues impacting the world view of Jews, Christians and Muslims trump any predicated electoral backlash on this issue.

 

One that comes to mind immediately is (2018) the debate and policy developments over moving the Australian embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, then not moving it, then sitting back on the fence and kicking the embassy can down the road beyond the 2019 election.

 

The second other issue people of religious persuasion will find irritating and concernng  in is the current government's lack of decision making on the 'freedom of religion' issue. The government has announced that 5 the 20 recommendations of the Religious Freedom review tabled in May 2018 will be subject to further consultation processes which will not be completed untll "the second half of next year". That is, after the federal election.  

 

These three interlinked and inter related issues have proven to be polarising in the past and more so now when the leaders of Government and Opposition remain ambivalent and the Government seeks to push these issues resolution beyond an upcoming election.

 

As things stood on January 20th 2020, my assessment is that

 

-   The ALP seats who do get a post legalisation of same sex marriage backlash will have a large enough 2PP margin to absorb this discontent without losing the seat over it, particularly outside of western Sydney;

 

-    Independent Kerryn Phelps job of retaining Wentworth a year after a by-election just got a little less daunting; and

 

-  The Coalition will not gain any seats over this same sex marriage issue and are more likely to lose Banks and Reid NSW seats over the embassy issue than not.