Australia Will Have Same-Sex Marriage Vote (But Only If Abbott's Government Win)
As a proponent for social conservatism, his decision not to legalise same-sex marriage hasn’t always be popular, but it has been consistent.
As it happens, 2016 is an election year, and if there’s one thing certain to move a man’s conscience it’s answering to the voters.
It’ll come as no surprise, therefore, to hear that Mr Abbott will call for a referendum on same-sex marriage, but only if his government remains in power.
Mr Abbott's position on gay marriage could never last forever. The Australian public appear to be largely in favour of same-sex marriage; a recent Ipsos poll (published by Fairfax Media) revealed 69% of those asked agreed it should be made legal.
It's a shrewd move to promise a public vote, but it could be one that has come too late.
There’s encouraging news from inside the coalition, too. For the first time in Australian political history, a bill (calling for the legalisation of same-sex marriage) has been introduced by MPs from all sides of the political spectrum: the Coalition, Labor, Greens and Independent. Rarely do you see such a diverse range of individuals working towards the same goal.
Unfortunately, the bill will be defeated. Coalition MPs have been instructed to vote in line with the party even if they agree with the bill. A number of Abbott’s frontbenchers have railed against the decision, but they risk losing their positions if they go against the party line. Only those in opposition will have a free vote.
Despite this, it’s heartening to see that there is still momentum to Australia’s equal marriage campaign and whilst the country is unlikely to host same-sex marriages in 2015 or even 2016, change is coming.