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News Article

Shorten sells us short on plebiscite issue
Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Labor's leader does not trust the Australian people to settle the meaning of marriage

Today's official rejection of a marriage plebiscite by federal Labor leader Bill Shorten demeans those he claims to represent, according to FamilyVoice research officer Ros Phillips.

"Bill Shorten is selling us short," she said. "He does not trust the Australian people.

"They deserve a say on whether we should change the man-woman meaning that marriage has had for thousands of years. It is a fundamental, culture-defining issue. It has already been considered by the parliament at least 14 times. Only a public vote can settle the matter."

Ros Phillips said Mr Shorten's stated reasons for rejecting a plebiscite do not add up. "His party has been willing to waste billions on fatal home insulation schemes and similar projects, yet calls a people's vote too expensive," she said.

"His false claim that a people's vote would result in gay suicides is a sign of his desperation. The Irish people voted on marriage last year without any gay suicides. Holland and Sweden, the world's most gay-friendly nations, have same-sex marriage but still report high levels of depression and suicide in the gay community, similar to levels in less friendly countries. A recent study of Queensland gay suicides found that relationship problems were the most common contributing factor rather than ‘homophobia'.

"Is the real reason behind Labor's plebiscite decision the fear that if Australians are given a chance to consider the marriage question in the privacy of the polling booth, they may vote to keep its man-woman meaning?"


  • Marriage and sexuality

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