Senior Liberals are publicly venting differences on the same-sex marriage debate as the battle lines are drawn ahead of the government’s planned postal survey.
The former Prime Minister Tony Abbott took to Sydney radio station 2GB on Monday to further link the debate to other social issues.
“This isn’t just about marriage. Sure, marriage is the immediate focus but there are lots and lots of implications here and we’ve got to think them through before we take this big leap into what I think is the dark,” he said.
“How, for instance, can we legitimately say no to gender fluidity programs like so-called Safe Schools if we’ve de-gendered marriage? If we’ve officially sanctioned de-gendering marriage, it’s very hard not to see de-gendering come in in so many other areas as well.”
He was responding to claims made by the Attorney-General on Sunday that he was trying to trick the Australian public.
“What I am not going to do is be tricked by Tony Abbott and others who are trying to trying to turn a debate about one issue, that is about whether same-sex couples should be able to marry, into a broader debate about religious freedom because that is not what this is about,” Senator Brandis told Sky News.
Two junior Liberal Ministers have also joined the tit-for-tat.
Liberal Senator Zed Seselja and Lower House MP Angus Hume, both part of the Liberals’ conservative faction, back Mr Abbott’s position.
“It does impact upon religious freedom, it does impact upon parental rights and it does impact on freedom of speech,” Senator Seselja told Sky News.
“I respectfully disagree with George Brandis on this issue, if you look around the world, issues of religious freedom has flowed when we’ve seen a change to the definition of marriage.”
Qantas CEO Alan Joyce with Bill Shorten has lent his support to the ‘yes’ campaign. AAP
Labor blasts government as Qantas endorses ‘yes’ campaign
The Opposition Leader told reporters in Sydney the government was desperately out of touch.
“This statistical survey changes nothing about your ability go to church or religious freedom, let’s be straight about that, it is a distraction,” he said.
“I just say to the marriage equality opponents, you wanted this survey and now you are trying to throw every other issue into the mix. Fair’s fair. We should have just had a vote in parliament.”
The chief executive of Qantas, Alan Joyce, was with Mr Shorten as they toured a Qantas maintenance facility at Sydney airport.
“I think most of the LGBTI community would have preferred if this was decided by parliament,” Mr Joyce said.
“I believe we have to get behind it and make sure that we have a yes vote and certainly I will be out there strongly campaigning for a yes vote. I think it is very important for our employees, customers and our shareholders and that is why Qantas is a supporter of marriage equality.”