HOWARD’S SWAY

For­mer PM lob­bies Right to say No

The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - - NEWS - ANNIKA SMETHURST

SUP­PORT for same-sex mar­riage dropped by more than one mil­lion votes af­ter the High Court dis­missed a chal­lenge to the postal vote, ac­cord­ing to the No cam­paign.

A poll of 4000 vot­ers taken be­fore the court rul­ing found 65 per cent in favour and 35 per cent against when forced to make a de­ci­sion.

A se­cond poll taken in the 10 days since the chal­lenge was dis­missed recorded a 7 per cent swing away from the Yes vote – equiv­a­lent to more than one mil­lion votes.

A spokesman for the No cam­paign, said the num­bers were mov­ing now that “Aus­tralians were pre­sented with al­ter­na­tive ar­gu­ment”.

The Sun­day Mail can also re­veal that for­mer prime min­is­ter John Howard has ramped up his cam­paign against same-sex mar­riage, ac­cus­ing se­nior con­ser­va­tives in­clud­ing Scott Mor­ri­son, Peter Dut­ton and Mathias Cor­mann of run­ning dead on the is­sue.

Se­nior Lib­eral sources said Mr Howard is call­ing con­ser­va­tive mem­bers of the Turnbull Gov­ern­ment to lobby them to pub­licly de­fend tra­di­tional mar­riage. “Howard (pic­tured) wants the se­nior guys to be more vo­cal and not leave it up to the ju­nior con­ser­va­tives,” one Lib­eral MP told The Sun­day Mail. But his in­ter­ven­tion has an­gered mod­er­ates who claim he is try­ing to “com­pli­cate” the is­sue and “scare vot­ers”.

Last week Mr Howard ac­cused the Gov­ern­ment of “wash­ing its hands of any re­spon­si­bil­ity” to pro­tect re­li­gious free­doms, if the sur- vey came back with a ma­jor­ity Yes vote.

A hand­ful of con­ser­va­tives have also ques­tioned Mr Howard’s in­ter­ven­tion say­ing the No cam­paign should be fo­cused on parental rights not re­li­gious free­doms.

The Turnbull Gov­ern­ment is fac­ing a deep­en­ing di­vide on its front­bench as cab­i­net min­is­ters in­clud­ing Christo­pher Pyne, Kelly O’Dwyer, Darren Ch­ester and Ge­orge Bran­dis last week at­tended the par­lia­men­tary launch of the Coali­tion’s Yes cam­paign.

Yes­ter­day, Health Min­is­ter Greg Hunt be­came the lat­est min­ster to join the Lib­er­als and Na­tion­als for Yes cam­paign, ap­pear­ing in a new video declar­ing “I’m for yes”.

“This is about giv­ing our sons and our daugh­ters, our friends and our rel­a­tives a chance to be their best selves,” Mr Hunt said.

“If they love some­one, it shouldn’t mat­ter what gen­der it is.”

“It just mat­ters what whether they love them. That’s a great thing.”

Re­sults from the postal sur­vey are ex­pected on Novem­ber 15.

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