Australia’s Prime Minister Tony Abbott has ruled out a referendum in Australia to formally recognize same-sex marriage. Speaking in the wake of the landslide win in Ireland for proponents of the same change, he refused to entertain any similar poll in Australia.
Mr Abbott is personally against same-sex marriage and his conservative coalition government’s position is to oppose any change to marriage laws. According to The Sydney Morning Herald, nobody should expect that position to change anytime soon.
The newspaper reports that Mr Abbott, a staunch Catholic and former seminarian, is convinced the matter can be dealt with in Parliament – if and when it arises.
“This is obviously a serious issue, a very serious issue,” Mr Abbott said. “I take it seriously, I know there are millions of Australians who take it seriously. There are a range of views inside the Parliament; there are a range of views inside my party room; frankly there’s a range of views inside my family.
“Inside the Abbott family I’m probably the last holdout for the traditional position,” he added. Mr Abbott’s sister Christine Forster is a lesbian who has been with her partner since 2003.
The issue of same-sex marriage in Australia had been canvassed in the last Parliament when a bill on the matter was defeated in September, 2012.
Mr Abbott said his immediate priority was boosting the economy to the benefit of all.
“Referendums are held in this country where there’s a proposal to change the constitution,” Mr Abbott told reporters in the Queensland state capital Brisbane on Sunday. “I don’t think anyone’s suggesting that the constitution needs to be changed in this respect.”