Andrews’ ACL comments ‘wishful thinking’
The debate for same-sex marriage has been successfully defeated for the long-term according to a speaker at the Australian Christian Lobby’s (ACL) national convention.
The Coalition’s shadow spokesperson for families, Kevin Andrews (pictured), told the conference that even if the Opposition allowed a conscience vote the marriage equality bills would not have passed.
"You don't last in politics for 21 years unless you can count," he said.
"The reality is it would not have made much difference what so ever to the numbers. There would have been half a dozen people... who would have voted the other way."
Marriage equality advocates have slammed Andrews’ comments as ‘wishful thinking’.
“Within the next six months same-sex marriages will occur under state or territory laws somewhere in Australia, and when they do the debate will shift forever,” Australian Marriage Equality national convener Rodney Croome said.
“When same-sex couples start marrying and the dire predictions of people like Mr Andrews don’t come true, other states and the Commonwealth will be under immense pressure to embark on the same reform.”
“With popular and parliamentary support for marriage equality increasing all the time, Mr Andrews’ prediction is just wishful thinking. Mr Andrews is mistaking a lull in the storm for the end of the storm.”
Dumped Labor Attorney-General Robert McClelland joined Andrews at the conference and spoke harshly of the Prime Minister and the current political debate in Australia.
“I have found the personal vilification that has come into parliamentary debate and public debate to be more than unseemly. It is un-Australian,” he said.
“You can always get a line by vilifying someone, abusing someone, attacking an organisation but at the end of the day you're going to be judged on what you've achieved.
“In terms of those who have been advising the prime minister or others, they need to look at that.”
Over 20 LGBT activists protested peacefully outside the conference at the Hyatt Hotel as guests entered the event.
Originally, the Prime Minister was due to speak at the event but she withdrew following comments from ACL general manager Jim Wallace that said the “gay lifestyle” was worse than smoking.