No conscience vote for LNP

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A six-hour Coalition party room meeting delivered the verdict. Opposition to same sex marriage remains party policy; there will be no conscience vote.

By calling the snap meeting, the Prime Minister angered many frontbench colleagues with both a lack of formal warning and by including the very conservative National Party in the meeting. It is reported that Christopher Pyne described the inclusion of the Nationals as akin to ‘branch stacking’. The policy of the party room now means that those front bench members who wish to vote according to their conscience will need to resign from the front bench. With Abbott Government policy reaffirmed, a vote for same sex marriage cannot be successful in the life of the current parliament.

The party room did, however, decide that it might recommend a greater voice for the Australian people through a plebiscite or a constitutional referendum, sometime after the next election.

The High Court has previously ruled that it is up to the parliament to decide on the state of marriage – whether it is between a man and a woman, so such a plebiscite is likely to merely take the pulse of the nation, with a bill through the both Houses the required next step.

Listen on ABC Radio National’s Breakfast program as PM Abbott, Senator Penny Wong and Treasurer Joe Hockey share their views on yesterday’s meeting and what it means for same-sex marriage in Australia.

Opinion: Party politics has had its day

Party politics no longer works. Here we have both major parties trying to force individuals to vote against their conscience. First up the Liberal NP Coalition has confirmed that members must stick to the party line that opposes same sex marriage. The Labor Party currently has a free vote, but based on its recent decisions at the ALP National Conference in July, after the next term members will be forced to agree with the Labor Party line of supporting same sex marriage. This leaves no wriggle room for politicians from either side.

How juvenile is this? Yes we have a Westminster Party system, and stability is always a concern. But in matters of conscience, such as same sex marriage or euthanasia, it seems our politicians must march in lock step – backwards. The issue of same sex marriage just won’t go away. Why should it? It’s a fundamental human right to be treated equally.

The electorate wants same sex marriage – about 70 per cent according to the most recent polls. But 30 per cent don’t. As with many difficult societal issues, there has to be room for those of different faiths and beliefs to follow their hearts as well as their heads. Party politics works well on matters of national security, the economy and building infrastructure – big-ticket policy. But when it comes to matters of conscience, it is simply wrong for a group of men in blue ties or women in red jackets to hold sway over their colleagues’ right to follow their conscience.

Around the world we are seeing a dismantling of old-style politics. The really important debates are shifting from parliaments to online fora and activism. If our current masters wish to remain relevant, they need to understand that rigid party policy is simply out of step and out of touch with modern-day, mainstream Australia.

What do you think? Is yesterday’s party room vote evidence that party politics has had its day? Or is it good process to consider same sex marriage policy through a joint party room vote?

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Written by Kaye Fallick

369 Comments

Total Comments: 369
  1. 0
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    It’s wrong.

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      Agree gay marriage is wrong.

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      If you don’t believe in it, you won’t do it.
      If you want to do it, you should be able to do it.
      Just another embarrassing moment by TA and the LNP

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      Where does this all end? Next thing people will be marrying their pets or other precious objects just because they can.

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      Gays have the same rights to marriage as everyone else at this time. They are as free as you or I to marry someone of the opposite sex. What is being pursued here is a special ‘right’ – which essentially makes it not a Right at all, since a Right is something to be enjoyed by the entire community equally.

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      Personally, I think this 72% is a lot of crap and a figure dreamed up by those in favour, but couldn’t care less.

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      No TREBOR. ‘Marriage’ was NEVER defined to include same sex couples.
      The problem with this whole debate is that homosexual people are shoving it down everybody else’s throats and the media has been grooming the electorate for a long long time to accept homosexual marriage. But we all need to step back and ask ourselves if there is a difference between a civil union and a marriage. The latter has been reserved for a man and a woman. And Bonny is right (did I say that???) when she says that the next demand as the thin end of the wedge is driven deeper is that people will DEMAND to marry their pets. Why not!

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      If the politicians cannot do the right thing then HAVE A BINDING REFERENDUM with the non emotive arguments from both sides of this argument before the vote is cast. Could even attach this to the next election as it would cost little to do this.
      So lets let society choose after a rigorous debate. And if society wants the positive then welcome Sodom and Gomorrah. We have arrived.

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      From the information that I can gather on the internet less than 2% of the population are homosexual. From what I can also gather from this website the greatest majority of our “senior citizens” are against homosexual marriage. They believe that marriage is between a man and a woman.Nearly 27% of the Australian population is aged 55 or older. I think that I can therefore say that somewhere in the vicinity of 20% of the population is AGAINST gay marriage. Why then are we even discussing changing what marriage means to satisfy less than 2 % of the population when it is going to upset more than 20% of the population. Is this AGE DISCRIMINATION?

      Please, if you feel this strongly about this issue, write or ring your federal representative and let them know how you feel. That is the only way they will know. You can find your local member here.
      http://www.aph.gov.au/Senators_and_Members/Members

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      Agree with Kaz above:
      “If you don’t believe in it, you won’t do it.
      If you want to do it, you should be able to do it. “
      I’d add that for those who do do it, it doesn’t negatively impact the rest of us in any way at all. Like slavery, one day people will look back and wonder how we could have continued to perpetuate a wrong for so long (yes, I know we didn’t have slavery in Aust as such be we are all one planet).

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      I just participated in a poll on another over 60s site. After several thousand replies, the result was 66% in favour of gay marriage, 34% against. That’s fairly definitive. This is a democracy and gay marriage is a matter of human rights and equality, therefore a conscience vote should be allowed – that is, if we lived in a true democracy, not the watered down, “new kind” of democracy that we now live in, where we have “captain’s picks” running the show.

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      Politicians do not have a conscience …. why should they be trusted with such a such a major change to our culture … there should be a referendum.

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      I cant wait for the first Gay divorce ! 🙂 To see if Ken gets the other Kens House and Car !! 🙂 🙂

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      Particolor , No “ken” do!

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      Sorry No vote !! They couldn’t find anyone with a Conscience ?? 🙂

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    They are elected to represent their constituents, all of them, not themselves, and not their religions.

    If they cannot in conscience support the will of voters, why are they in Parliament.

    Parliament has become a vehicle for bigots to impose their values on everyone, and corporations to get laws to advantage themselves over citizens.

    It should stop. Parliament should represent the best interests of citizens, not treat us like children.

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      Absolutely right.

      But it will NEVER happen with Tony there. He was ‘born to rule’. However, with one bishop gone, now’s the time for the ‘daily double’ with an abbott for defrocking.

      With 72% of the population in favour of same sex marriage and Tony’s best offer is:
      1. blocking passage of legislation through parliament in a way that can only be called ‘tricky’ and
      2. the offer of the possibility of a plebiscite at some stage in the 4 year term of the next government. Seems he doesn’t realise he won’t be there. That’s ok, but now he’s guaranteed the coalition won’t be there either. It was the back bench that stood up last time, will the front bench do so this time? Or will they all do a Peter Costello?

      Personally I’m somewhat ambivalent on this matter, but if 72% of my fellow Australians support it, guess what Tony? So would I. If you can’t represent the voice of 72% of your fellow countrymen, it’s time to join Bronnie, Bronnie, Bronnie.

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      I am attempting to follow your strange reasoning, “Waiting….”. Abbott took the decision on a conscience vote to the party room where he had but one voice and one vote. The decision against a conscience vote was decisive, with a majority of both Liberals and Nationals voting against it. Yet somehow you blame Abbott for the decision of the majority of the party room. It was not so long ago that the Abbott haters were vilifying Abbott for breaking promises made before the last election. Now those same haters are vilifying Abbott because the party room has made a decision that means that one of his promises made before the last election will not be broken – that on same-sex marriage. Go Figure!!!

      Further, if, as “Waiting …” claims, 72% of the population are in favour of same-sex marriage, then where is the problem with having to wait another twelve months or so before the population is able to vote on the issue. This will certainly show whether the polls are correct, it will be a decision which we will all be able to accept, and my bet is that, in the intervening period, the sky will not fall in while we all await the opportunity to have our say.

      For the ultimate in hypocrisy we need go no further than Penny Wong who was loud in her praise of the Irish for allowing a popular vote on same-sex marriage but now condemns Abbott for wanting to give the Australian people the same opportunity. I have a feeling that those proclaiming that the majority of Australians support same-sex marriage are a little worried that a vote for the people may not give the result they want.

      Nobody does hypocrisy like the left does hypocrisy!

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      Yet to see where this 72% comes from. I don’t know anyone who has ever been directly asked what their stance is on Gay marriage. And just for reference, most are against.

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      There have been numerous polls etc. Also changes to the Act were put to the Senate. Submission for support and against can be find here. http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Bills_Legislation/bd/bd1112a/12bd158

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      Luchar, you don’t think Mr Abbott and other senior members of the LNP don’t intimidate other members of the party into following their lead (and no doubt this happens in Labor as well). Regrettably, the LNP seem to be just as good, if not better, at hypocrisy. The figure of 72% is quoted so often, don’t you think there is some basis for it – what would you suggest is the figure? I am not gay, and have no friends or relatives who are, but I don’t see what harm there will be to me if the legislation is passed – what harm will it be to you? However, it will greatly improve the lives of those who will then be able to marry.

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      Tony’s offer of a Plebicide in HIS next term in office is EXTORTION.
      This proposal would be “Thrown Out in ANY COURT” as the “terms of the Constract” were nor entered into “Free From Duress” and therefore the Contract MUST be declared “Null &Void”.

      Once again, it clearly displays the Integrity (or lack thereof) of the NLP & their Internal & External MASTERS!

      BULLIES & EXTORIONSTS – That’s all they are!!!!
      THE DREGS OF A DYING SOCIETY!!!!!

    • 0
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      BULLIES & EXTORTIONISTS!!! How did Bill Shorten and the Unions get dragged into this debate??

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      They don’t Travellersjoy. You already know that once the bastards get in they do as they like and have the audacity to then state that THEY were elected to do the bidding of their electorate, even if what they do is a total defiance of what the majority of that electorate wants.

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      The hell with pollies & their conscious, I am only interested in them voting in accordance with their electors.

      I have yet to meet anyone in favour of gay marriage. A few don’t care, but most know it is just another step to the failure of our society.

    • 0
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      Luchar
      Alongside Bronnie & Tony (don’t forget the education expenses for his daughters & many others spread across the WHOLE political spectrum, they look like they “Just Fit In”.

    • 0
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      Well said Hasbeen

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      Penny Wong knows the 72% in favour of changing marriage laws is a similar figure to the 57% who prefer Carbon Bill as PM.

    • 0
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      28% of Chickens don’t want to Cross the Road ? 🙂

    • 0
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      Those figures are rubbery.

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      Frank, so they are not straight, then

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      Frank: the government troll at work. Give it a break!

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      Not Knowing whether to have a Kit Kat or a Gay Time after that is a Big Decision ?? 🙂

  3. 0
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    Such matters need to go before the owners of the nation and employers of members of parliament the Australian citizens to decide on.

  4. 0
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    Such matters should be put to the owners of the nation and employers of members of parliament not left to a few we do not trust.
    The party members could have arrived by helicopter and charging this trip to the Australian citizens (taxpayers)

  5. 0
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    Crap it’s wrong, Politicians don’t vote on their constituents beliefs. They vote on popularity. If the Libs voted against it than every gay voter would be up in arms. When the government is eventually changed than the Labor would introduce it. Labor only go for populous vote grabbing ideas and against anything the Libs would introduce. If the people decide the decision is final. That’s what the majority want and it’s final. Say your against it, your branded a homophobic, go with it, your gay or too scared to be branded a homophobic.

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      Yes phantom. They do almost anything which is going to get them a vote. I am surprised that the LNP has held firm on this one.
      Christopher Pyne has a real hide. When the Nationals vote with the government they are accepted. When they hold a different view it is branch stacking. Personally my term for this bunch of lying misfits is LIE STACKING…..one on top of another.

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    Tony’s rules team you can only have a conscience if I allow you to have one. Remember like the travel rorts keep on telling the mug voter it is a grey area.

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      The problem with your argument Kato, is that Labor are not allowing a conscience vote from their side of the house. You are applying a slanted view here and forgetting that if you expect certain behaviour from one group, you must apply the same rules to the others, and here I am including the use of travel allowances.

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      No problem couldabeen I lump them in the same basket these days or the same bed. They will from all sides of politics protect there own pockets.

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      You should have this opinion WHEN Labor is acting the same way, not just as a subject changing tactic. AS I said above this sort of issue si in need of a binding Referendum, not Party politics.

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      Its to get Your mind off the Perks Inferno ! 🙂

  7. 0
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    I agree with Tony they are doing the right thing.

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      Is there an “r” missing from your name?

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      There isn’t a bishop missing from my name either.

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      Bonny you can always be relied on to have the most reactionary response to anything – just like our PM. The 1950’s is well and truly over… get with the program of current community thoughts on this and other issues that Tony is trying his best to control.

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      I am with current community thoughts so much so that I’m not taking any notice of a small minority with a loud voice. That’s what others are doing too.

    • 0
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      Totally agree with you Bonny, if the rainbowites want to get “married” then let them go to one of the stupid countries that has legalised it. What gets me about all this is Why are all the gay “marriage” supporters so scared of having a popular vote by the people. If, as they continue to say, 72% of Australians agree with it then they should be pushing for a popular vote. Maybe they know that those figures are lies, damned lies, and statistics! If gay “marriage” does come into being, then what is the next thing, legalised paedophilia?

    • 0
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      disillusioned, I don’t think that Bonny is giving a reactionary response here at all. In case you hadn’t noticed, humans have exactly the same needs, wants and desires now as they have ever had. Society may appear to evolve, but sometimes it is clearly devolving. Current community thoughts are not those that are reflected in social media such as facebook, twitter and snapchat. A thousand likes on facebook does not make an idea anymore right than one with one like.
      A petition on change.org does not make something in more need of consideration by our Parliaments than one letter to your local member.
      In real terms, the ideas that Bonny is supporting may have a better long term social and moral value than those that you support. The ideas and values that you feel are more popular appear that way because that is how and why you have chosen your friends.

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      The above is an example of why we need a binding Referendum on this issue. Of course if voters put in Independents you will not get this sort of conundrum.

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      You all need to look at the poll being conducted by the Herald Sun at the moment – a while ago, over 20,000 had voted, and over 74% said they would support gay marriage. Those figures suggest two things – that a vast majority support this, and that a very large number feel strongly enough to actually vote either way. No matter how you feel personally, the evidence suggest Australia will support such a referendum. The point, is, why should we have to wait for a costly referendum, when the Govt can change the law right now!

    • 0
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      Pablo – grow up!!

    • 0
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      A nice, considered and well thought out response Rod63. I really couldn’t have expected any different from people like you I suppose!

    • 0
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      Have a Referendum like Johnny’s Daylight Saving Question !
      Do You or do You not agree with Gay Marriage. Tick the Box ?? 🙂

    • 0
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      Pablo: This ” what is the next thing, legalised paedophilia?” deserved my comment. Yours is despicable.

    • 0
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      Particolor, which box?

    • 0
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      Pablo, a real possibility. Some sections of our “multiracial” society (something that was also forced upon us) are engaged in such activities as it is “normal” in their “culture”. So yes politicians will eventually consider that next to maintain their voter base.

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      Rubbish – niemakawa. Scare tactics.

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      Pablo, I don’t see legalised paedophilia following on from a change in the marriage act. However, I believe a real possibility is the encouragement of polyamory followed by a West Sydney push for legalised polygamy.

    • 0
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      Saalbach: and 18,000 who responded to the poll were in the homosexual community? Polls are supposed to NOT be biased and we do not know if this one was or not. Polls conducted on completing a questionnaire on the internet are likely flawed on topics like this.

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      Niem.. Exactly !! There was only one box ? 🙁 You were having it whether You wanted it or not !! 🙁

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      Abbott’s never done anything right in his life.

  8. 0
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    This is too important a matter within the community, no matter on which side of the argument you sit, to be decided on the whim of a strident group of politicians looking for a vote. As I have said for some time this is a matter for the populace and should be voted on probably as a general vote isolated from an electoral vote to ensure that other matters do not become involved. Let the people speak and decide what action is taken.
    Remember it is not just the marriage act that will need to change. What about children of the union, if it is two women -one has probably conceived and born the child, so who has the legal parentage. If it is two males one may have provided the sperm for conception and is thus the father, does he have full parental rights.
    There is also the matter of property and assets which is probably covered under current legislation. What about a share in each others superannuation. Oh Solomon where are you?
    As you can see there are more problems requiring answers before this matter is resolved.
    My self I hold my marriage of nearly 60 years as a sacred and special part of our life and I do not want to see the changes made, but that is only my opinion, others have theirs and a right to express them.
    What right does not exist is for a politician to say is “This is what I want, this is how I see it so that is what I will vote for, I do not care what my constituents feel or say, this is my vote.”
    Oh no it isn’t you must reflect your constituency or suffer the consequence, no matter if it does not sit with your conscience. If you cannot vote as your constituents feel resign and let someone who has his or her electorate in their heart take your place.
    This is called conscience and responsibility for those pliticians who do not know.

  9. 0
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    One rule should apply to all things and not be dictated by religious views. That is that if what you want does not adversely affect another, or involve cruelty, then it should be available.

  10. 0
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    Just how would everyone feel if being heterosexual (in a man + woman marriage) was deemed illegal, wrong and meant you had no rights??? That’s what we are saying when we say NO in these votes.

    If we need to have a conscience vote on this, get all the other too hard ones on the same referendum, sack Governments and Parties and hire a Manager and we will just vote on what we want as voters. No Entitlements or pensions …………… no pollies or adds ………. think how much money we would save and we would actually have a unified country and one person making sure all is well in Australia!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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      Why should a small minority with a big voice take up so much time in parliament when they are far more important things that they should be doing?

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      72% isn’t a small minority. My mother is 80 and she agrees marriage equality. My father is 82 and so does he. They have been married for over 60 years and they believe a marriage is between two people regardless of their gender. I’m quite proud that they understand the issues and don’t get into the “Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve” debate. After all if we followed the bible to the letter, we would still be stoning adulterers and women would still have a status slightly above goats.

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      I don’t know anyone personally who is for gay marriage even my kids are against it. I also believe that religion is faith and evolution is fact. Also that the Bible is just a book of fiction that is a best seller.

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      It’s a best seller because all the hotel rooms in the world have one 🙂 I personally don’t know anyone who is against same sex marriage so I guess it depends on who you talk to. I often wonder how those against same sex marriage would react if their own child was gay and they wanted to marry.

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      I have a close family member who is gay which I have no problem. They like a lot of people today don’t think marriage is necessary any way.

      I love those Bibles in motel rooms as they contain so real goodies at times.

    • 0
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      Wrong ANONYMOUS. We are saying that ‘marriage’ was set up a certain way and that it applies to a man and a woman. Nothing to do with “rights”. Give me strength the next thing people will demand the “right” to marry their cat or dog. Why shouldn’t they be able to do that??????

    • 0
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      Mick – grow up! That sort of statement is ridiculous.

    • 0
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      ANONYMOUS
      What do you find wrong with a Civil Union with all the entitlements ?
      Why not let the religious ceremony which existed for hundreds of years to man and a woman.

      Even if you change the law … to the religious it will always be a SIN

    • 0
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      And here’s the deal !! People will always laugh behind their Backs at it !! 🙁
      I personally don’t give Burnt Offering what other do ! As long as they DONT make Me do it I don’t Care ! 🙂

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