Watch this Australian MP get shut down in brutal 29-second same-sex marriage interview
An Australian MP was brutally shut down after refusing to answer a question about same-sex marriage.
Pressure is building on Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s government to finally yield to public and parliamentary opinion and institute equal marriage.
Senior figures are growing mutinous in his governing Liberal Party ahead of a showdown on the subject on Monday.
So when Liberal MP Tim Wilson – who is gay himself, and has previously stated his support for same-sex marriage – appeared on Sky News Australia today, he was naturally asked about the issue.
Host Peter van Onselen said: “Do you like the idea of a secret ballot in the party room?”
This referred to Turnbull’s reported plan to hold an emergency meeting with his party to gauge their opinions and figure out a next step.
But Wilson refused to answer, telling the presenter: “I’ve said everything I have to say on this issue, and I make no plans to make any other comment at this time.”
He added: “I’d rather talk about something else that actually matters to the Australian population”.
The great majority of Australians are in favour of same-sex marriage, and its ongoing presence in the public consciousness shows its importance to people.
Wilson listed other issues he wanted to talk about, adding: “You pick it; I’m happy to talk about it. I’ve said what I’ve said on this issue.”
Van Onselen abruptly ended the conversation at that point, after a whole 29 seconds.
“Tim Wilson, thanks for your company,” he said curtly, before returning to other matters.
Coopers Beer Company, the largest independent brewer in Australia, was boycotted after its products appeared alongside Wilson in an advert on same-sex marriage.
In the video, Wilson, who is gay, argued for same-sex marriage.
He said: “I believe that it would be sensible to change the act that deals with issues around civil marriage to include two people regardless of their gender.”
The ad, which Coopers insisted it did not give permission its beers to appear in, was made for religious group the Bible Society.
Coopers condemned the video and came out in support of same-sex marriage following the backlash.
The Prime Minister has so far refused to permit a free vote in Parliament on same-sex marriage, due to strong opposition from key members of his government, who insist the issue can only be settled by a nationwide ballot.
However, pro-gay factions within Turnbull’s party have threatened to side with the opposition, using a procedural motion to force a vote in Parliament on a backbench marriage equality bill.
Ahead of the crucial showdown on the issue next week, fears are growing that Turnbull – who gave private assurances to anti-LGBT conservatives during his Liberal leadership bid – may not survive the catastrophically mismanaged row.
If Turnbull permits MPs to rebel against the party line and bring forward a marriage bill, he is likely to face a challenge from angry right-wingers. Meanwhile, if he forces MPs into voting against, he could face mutiny from the growing pro-equality lobby within the party.
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One name being touted for a potential leadership challenge from the right is Immigration Minister Peter Dutton, a strong opponent of same-sex marriage who has asserted the issue must be put to the Australian public directly.
Both the Herald Sun and The Australian newspapers have warned that if the party rift over the issue is potentially “career-ending” for Mr Turnbull.
Watch the full interview below:
— Sky News Australia (@SkyNewsAust) August 3, 2017