Abbott should follow leadership of NSW Coalition and grant his federal MPs a conscience vote on marriage equality
Posted by Steve on May 24, 2012
Liberal Party leader, Tony Abbott, should follow the leadership of the NSW Coalition and let his federal MPs have a free vote on marriage equality legislation due before Parliament this year, the Australian Greens said today.
“I was encouraged to follow the debate in the NSW Parliament where Coalition MPs said they supported marriage equality because they were conservatives, not in spite of it,” Greens’ human rights spokesperson, Sen. Sarah Hanson-Young, said.
“Many NSW MPs spoke movingly of correspondence from their constituents about why they wanted discrimination to be removed from the Marriage Act so same-sex couples would no longer be treated as second-class citizens.
“I’m keenly awaiting the vote on the motion moved by my NSW Greens colleague, Cate Faehrmann, which will mark the first time Coalition MPs have been given a conscience vote on equal marriage.
“The Greens hope Mr Abbott will stop defying Liberal party tradition and grant his Coalition MPs a conscience vote, a view reflected by nearly three-quarters of people surveyed in a Galaxy Poll today.
“The survey commissioned by Australian Marriage Equality shows 73 percent of respondents agreed the Coalition should be guided by its tradition on free votes on such issues, not the stance the Opposition took to the 2010 election.
“Some 61 percent of voters said they believed marriage equality legislation should be passed in this term of parliament, rather than deferring it. Only the Greens have legislation in both houses to achieve this.
“Next month the Parliament will release reports into those bills, which included 75,000 submissions into my Senate bill — the most in the history of the Australian parliament.
“The Greens are confident that the more than 90 federal MPs and Senators who remain undecided will favour marriage equality, especially if Mr Abbott finally displays leadership and grants his MPs a conscience vote.”