Australia’s Prime Minister Tony Abbott believes that marriage is between a man and a woman and now he has forced his own governing conservative coalition to back that view. After a marathon five-hour debate, the push for gay marriage to be legalised in Australia via a free parliamentary vote in the current term of government was defeated Tuesday.
The prime minister held out the possibility of a free vote or alternatively a referendum during the next term of parliament – a position seen by supporters of same-sex marriage as a stalling tactic. There was no formal ballot, but the majority of speeches supported keeping the existing policy that was part of a pre-election commitment by Mr Abbott.
Speaking after the decision, where two thirds of his party room eventually backed Mr Abbott in resisting calls by Labor and the media class to let his MPs have a conscience vote on same-sex marriage, he told reporters in the national capital Canberra it was a “deeply personal … subject on which decent people can differ”. Mr Abbott said:
“I’ve come to the view – I believe this is the party room view – that this is the last term in which the Coalition party room can be bound, although we will definitely maintain the current position for the life of this term.
“Going into the next election, we will finalise another position. The disposition of the party room this evening is that our position going into the next election should be that in a subsequent term of parliament, this is a matter that should rightly be put to the Australian people.”
As Breitbart London has previously reported, as recently as last May, Mr Abbott ruled out a national referendum on gay marriage after the Republic of Ireland voted in favour of constitutional changes on the issue. Following Tuesday’s vote there will be no chance for it to be alternatively forced through the legislature as government party members will be forced to follow their leader and the party line without exception.
Although endlessly derided by the political left in Australia for his own social conservatism, the former Catholic seminarian won the day because he didn’t want to break a personal promise of maintaining the status quo on no gay marriage in Australia. He explained the conservative party position to a local radio station like this:
“It has been our clear policy for more than a decade that marriage was between a man and a woman. Frankly, prior to that, it would never have occurred to anyone in our culture and civilization that marriage was not between a man and a woman.”
For the London-born leader, it was a substantial victory. Mr Abbott’s supporters hope he can repeat that on a broader national level when Australians next go to the polls in around 18 months time.
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