Australian MP: Parliament shouldn’t have free vote on equal marriage because public would ‘vilify’ those opposed
An Australian Liberal MP has said there shouldn’t be a free vote in Parliament on same-sex marriage – because the public would “vilify” MPs who vote against it.
An equal marriage bill has been tabled by Liberal Democrat MP David Leyonhjelm, but it is likely to be defeated unless Tony Abbot’s governing Liberal party – which opposes same-sex marriage – affords its MPs a free vote.
MP Craig Laundy – who represents the Division of Reid in New South Wales and opposes equal marriage – last year claimed said he has “zero interest” in forcing his views on other MPs, calling for politicians to be allowed to vote freely.
However, he admitted to WAToday that he had changed his mind, saying: “[The issue] is so emotive and so important to particular people that if we were to go down that path [of a free vote], we are the ones that become vilified.
“That’s not what our forefathers had in mind when they came up with a conscience vote.”
He added: “Twelve months in, I now get how political lobby groups work” – claiming that proponents of equality would target MPs who chose to vote against equal marriage.
Though equal marriage has the support of the opposition Labor party, if there is no free vote it is likely to face defeat again when the bill comes forward.
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