Let the people decide

43-referendum_immagine.jpgFinally the Coalition has resolved an enduring and contentious debate regarding maintaining our long-standing policy on marriage.

I am pleased that an overwhelming number of my colleagues stood by our Party’s current policy position.

While there were differing views, most people took the time to share their opinions in a respectful and courteous manner.

Of the five Liberal senators from my home state of South Australia, two spoke in favour of maintaining the current policy (myself and Senator Fawcett) and one spoke against (Senator Birmingham).

Understandably, my colleagues have their personal views on this issue but in the end it’s the right decision for our Party.

Coalition MPs who feel strongly about allowing homosexual marriage are still free to vote according to their conscience; with the normal expectations that members of the executive adhere to Party policy or step aside.

This happened in 2009, when some Liberal frontbenchers resigned their positions to vote against the Party policy on an Emissions Trading Scheme.

So any Liberal MP is free to vote for redefining marriage, putting their convictions before their ambitions, if they so choose.

Our Parliament has debated redefining marriage 16 times in the last decade and it has never succeeded.

Despite this record, and the decisive decision made in the party room yesterday, it’s clear that the opposing side is not going to take no for an answer. So maybe it is time to put it to the people in the form of a referendum.

Many homosexual marriage advocates don’t like that idea, but if a majority of Australians truly do want to redefine marriage – as advocates claim - then surely the homosexual marriage lobby have nothing to fear.

Of course a referendum would empower the people - something I support - but it's a process that many other politicians seem to be afraid of.