Some federal MPs exposed deceptive tactics associated with leftwing activist group GetUp! during today’s marriage debate in the federal House of Representatives. GetUp! campaigned strongly in support of homosexual marriage before the debate, sending over half a million emails to alleged supporters urging them to click on a button to send an email to their federal MP, and placing a full page ad in The Australian newspaper.
However the GetUp! campaign seems to have backfired.
Hon Kevin Andrews (Menzies, Victoria) said: “In the absence of the Get Up! Campaign, very few people had urged me to support changing the long-held definition of marriage.
“This number increased after the campaign, but it is still small compared to the many people who responded by writing and emailing their support for the traditional definition. If letters, emails and petitions from my constituents are any indication, the overwhelming majority support the longstanding definition of marriage.
“While all Australians are encouraged to express their views, the reality is that there is no widespread agitation for changing the definition of marriage.
“Moreover, the Get Up! Petition is open to manipulation. A person can enter any name, email address and postcode – real or fictitious – and an email is generated. When I responded to the anonymous Get Up! Generated emails, asking the correspondents to indicate their address, so I could check if they were constituents, just a handful responded.”
George Christensen, federal MP for Dawson (Queensland) had a similar experience. He told the parliament that he had received fewer emails from GetUp! than he had anticipated, and many of those he did receive were not from people in his electorate. One person told him that he knew nothing about the GetUp! email sent using his email address – it had apparently been sent without his knowledge or consent.
“We are disturbed by this apparent manipulation,” said Ros Phillips, FamilyVoice national research officer.
“However we are delighted that most speakers at this morning’s parliamentary marriage debate reported strong support from their constituents for the meaning marriage has always had – the voluntary lifelong union of a man and a woman.
“Of the 30 MPs who spoke about their electorate feedback, 18 said a big majority supported traditional marriage, compared with only six who said most opposed it. Another six MPs seemed to think it was too close to call or would not say,” Mrs Phillips said.
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