Abbott say SSM is a deeply personal issue but you can’t have a free vote. What?

12 Aug

same-sex marriage dolls


Two notable outcomes resulted from the Coalition’s six and a half hour joint party room meeting called to debate the legalising of same-sex marriage last night. The obvious outcome is that there will be no legal same-sex marriage on Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s watch, and that should surprise no one, remembering how Abbott once famously remarked that he felt “threatened” by gays.

The second is that the Liberal party is not a party that is supportive of the free vote for its members, contrary to decades of received wisdom on the noble nature and purpose of core liberal ideology. The Liberal party is actually driven entirely by right-wing ideology, much of which is firmly grounded in bizarre religious beliefs that have no basis in reality, and do not withstand the most rudimentary logical and rational enquiry.

It’s my personal opinion that the State has no place in anybody’s bedroom. Neither am I particularly enamoured of the inherently exclusionary institution of heterosexual marriage, and have witnessed many crimes committed under its state-sanctioned umbrella.

That being said, when participation in an institution is a legal hallmark of belonging in a culture, it is clearly an aggressive and hostile act to deny that sense of legal belonging to any social group, purely on the basis of sexual orientation. In other words, if LGBTI people wish to throw in their lot with the heterosexuals and commit to the exclusivity of the institution of marriage, it is ridiculous for any government to go to this much trouble to stop them.

Now we are faced with the ludicrously unnecessary and immensely expensive prospect of a referendum on the subject after the next election, should the LNP win government. Unlike Ireland, it is not necessary for us to have a referendum to change the Constitution (see 1.2.3.) on the definition of marriage and who may and may not enter into that state. Indeed, when John Howard was Prime Minister in 2004, he thought the Constitution so open to interpretation he found it necessary to amend the Marriage Act to define marriage as an event that could take place only between a man and a woman.

Deeply conservative ideological forces are fighting an increasingly desperate and losing battle to control society’s narrative. According to polling, the majority of Australians are at ease with the concept of same-sex marriage, a fact Prime Minister Abbott steadfastly chooses to ignore. This is a ridiculous, unnecessary and anachronistic debate.

Abbott continues to insist that same-sex marriage is “a very personal issue.” This apparently contradicts his refusal to permit a free vote, and yet again, we see the trickery of this profoundly duplicitous Prime Minister as on the one hand he concedes the deeply personal nature of the matter, while simultaneously denying every MP the right to address it in accordance with their “deeply personal” feelings.

In so doing, he denies the Australian public the right to live according to our “deeply personal” opinions on same-sex marriage in pursuit, yet again, of his ideological, religious, and in this particular case, “deeply personal” sexual prejudices.





12 Responses to “Abbott say SSM is a deeply personal issue but you can’t have a free vote. What?”

  1. 8 Degrees of Latitude August 12, 2015 at 11:30 am #

    Abbott has failed as a leader on this issue. That’s the political perspective. If something is ‘deeply personal’ then ipso facto it should not be decided by compelled vote. He has failed as a visionary (on this and many other issues) because Australian society has moved on while he – and other antediluvians such as the amazing Eric Abetz – have not. He may not lose many votes over this, but he won’t gain any either. I seriously doubt that he is representing the views of mainstream Liberal voters, and he certainly isn’t representing the views of formerly mainstream Liberal voters.


  2. helvityni August 12, 2015 at 11:42 am #

    Excellent post, Jennifer.

    Liked by 1 person

    • samjandwich August 12, 2015 at 7:27 pm #

      I’ll second that!! Jennifer you do have a wonderful talent for enunciating the manifestly-yet-apparently-not obvious. Hmmm there’s definitely a PhD to be had in the study of how liberalism has mutated into anti-intellectualism…

      Liked by 1 person

  3. hudsongodfrey August 12, 2015 at 2:35 pm #

    Just another symptom of his hypocrisy really…..

    The list is long, and growing:

    1. Lip Service to Climate Change from a servant of the coal industry.
    2. Minister for Aboriginal Affairs will neither support Goodes or hear indigenous voices on constitutional recognition.
    3. Minister for Women who’s long been regarded as misogynist in chief and fails to fund the most important measures against domestic violence.
    4. Pays lip service to human rights, incarcerates refugees without trial.

    and now…

    5. Has a gay sister he won’t allow to marry.

    The only real question is whether he’s doing all this on his own undertaking or there are political forces we’re somehow supposed to believe can move to shift his obstinance?

    Liked by 1 person

    • 8 Degrees of Latitude August 12, 2015 at 2:50 pm #

      He’s entitled to his view, which I think is informed more by personal religious beliefs than public policy, but he’s a fool because he can’t have it both ways. If it’s a deeply personal thing, then he shouldn’t insist that his party room endorse a whipped vote. If it’s not, but is instead something on which he would prefer to turn back the tide, then he should have the moral and political courage to say so. So yes, hypocrisy would seem to fit accurately into the descriptor box.

      Liked by 1 person

      • hudsongodfrey August 12, 2015 at 4:00 pm #

        Not sure that you don’t just mean to add not understanding the separation of church and state the list of his shortcomings.

        Liked by 2 people

        • samjandwich August 13, 2015 at 11:07 am #

          I thought this was an interesting interpretation: – religious lobbyists having co-opted the discourse on human rights in an attempt to argue that children’s rights could be impinged by the supposed implications for our conceptualisation of the family.

          And like these lobbyists, it seems to me that Abbott is also playing his last card. He knows that his last bastion of support is the religious right and can’t afford to alienate them, no matte how foolish it makes him look to everyone else.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Jennifer Wilson August 13, 2015 at 6:27 pm #

            Yes, I agree, there is no other political explanation for Abbott’s actions, and I think he is also deeply homophobic, which is the psychological explanation


        • 8 Degrees of Latitude August 13, 2015 at 11:38 am #

          The point is implicit, but perhaps should be underlined. My alter ego Hector the diarist may find an excuse to underline it. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

  4. doug quixote August 12, 2015 at 4:32 pm #


    You miss the point!

    It is only deeply personal for him – everyone who holds a different view is clearly not entitled to such a view.

    Or so he thinks.

    It’s the same old story whenever you argue anything to do with religion. The religious will try to mount logical reasoned arguments for as long as they can, but when that fails it is –

    “God says so, so there!”

    Liked by 1 person


  1. Abbott say SSM is a deeply personal issue but you can’t have a free vote. What? – Written by NO PLACE FOR SHEEP | winstonclose - August 12, 2015

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