Magazine of Socialist Action in Australia

No confidence in MP’s conscience

Reading Time: 2 minutes

On Saturday August 13 thousands of people rallied once more across Australia in support of same sex marriage rights. More than 2000 gathered in Melbourne with hundreds more protesting in Sydney, Adelaide and Perth.

Since 2001 ten countries have legalised same sex marriage. A number of US states have also made the move including New York in July this year. Shamefully, both the major parties in Australia still claim that marriage should only be between a man and a woman.

Despite the policies of the major parties, polls have consistently shown that up to two thirds of people support same sex marriage. The campaign has helped to popularise the issue and put immense pressure on the ruling Labor Party.

Labor Party divisions in Tasmania, Queensland, Victoria, the ACT and the Northern Territory have passed resolutions supporting gay marriage. The issue is now being discussed in the lead up to its National Conference on December 3 in Sydney.

In a cynical attempt to try and avoid the discussion at conference factional leaders in the Labor Party are now negotiating to allow a conscience vote on the issue instead. They see this as a way to avoid actually having to formally vote on changing party policy.

The last thing this weak government wants is for it to be seen as if the Greens are setting their agenda. The added bonus of a conscience vote is that it would help Gillard avoid the potential embarrassment of the PM being trumped by her party at conference.

A conscience vote on same sex marriage would likely mean that any bill in favour would fail to pass through parliament. The Labor Party would split on the issue and with the bulk of Coalition MPs opposed it would almost certainly fail.

The manoeuvring of the Labor Party shows why the campaign for same sex marriage needs to be linked to the need to change society as a whole. All of the capitalist parties are hell bent on defending their system – both its economic and social structures. They can not be relied upon to defend our interests

We need to press ahead with the campaign for same sex marriage rights but side by side with this campaign we need to fight for a system that is based on equality and not oppression and exploitation.

We encourage all our supporters to attend the rally which is planned to coincide with the Labor Party conference on December 3 in Sydney.

By Socialist Party reporters


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