The big news story of the day – and one of the potentially biggest of the year – is that marriage equality is now part of the ALP platform. This has generated some discussion here at the Café, in particular the delicious set of ramifications this could mean for the Opposition and enough to suggest that a separate thread is warranted.
Where to from here? Here it is in a nutshell:
A private member’s bill – which would not be formally caked by the Government – is expected next year.
The key question now is what the Opposition will do. Three weeks ago Opposition Leader Tony Abbott said there would be no conscience vote but yesterday was equivocal.
Mr Abbot could see some of his MPs defy his orders and cross the floor or abstain.
This is not all about politics but about equality, nonetheless, in my view the ALP has delivered Tony Abbott a giant wedgie. Abbott, despite what he says, will always be opposed to a conscience vote but his problem will not be what Labor does, rather, what members within his own party do. Consider this:
Pressure is building on the Coalition to allow a conscience vote on same-sex marriage, with Malcolm Turnbull telling a voter he supports such a move despite Tony Abbott’s opposition to it.
In an email sent to a constituent just days after Julia Gillard announced her plan to allow her party a conscience vote on the issue, Mr Turnbull said it was an “appropriate” course of action.
This is where it gets interesting. If given the opportunity, would he cross the floor? If given the opportunity – and he went wobbly at the knees – is this a clear message that Abbott’s leadership is safe? If he does cross the floor, will he be helping Labor drive in the wedge even further? Will it cost Abbott his job? There is much to ponder.
In less than a few hours the mainstream media have given coverage to Labor’s decision and to those who oppose it. Too much coverage has been given to the likes of Fred Nile, who in my opinion shouldn’t be given any oxygen at all. Why bother with fools like that when there are now bigger to play? We all rejoice in Labor’s decision, which is a win for equality and means so much to many people. Now the politics takes over so I ask the question: Same sex marriages: what does it mean for the Opposition?
Over to you.