Dis­sent on push for gay unions

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS -

BARNABY Joyce says Asia would con­sider Aus­tralia “deca­dent” if it le­galised gay mar­riage as two more se­nior Gov­ern­ment front­benchers added their weight to moves to block a vote.

The Agri­cul­ture Min­is­ter said Asia made judg­ments about Aus­tralia “whether we like it or not” as he called for the tra­di­tional view of the in­sti­tu­tion to re­main.

Re­spond­ing to Gov­ern­ment Se­nate leader Eric Abetz’s in­sis­tence that Aus­tralia was in Asia, not in Europe where gay mar­riage is in­creas­ingly le­gal, Mr Joyce said Aus­tralia should “not nec­es­sar­ily” look to Asia for its cul­tural val­ues.

“But I think that what we have to un­der­stand is that when we go there, there are judg­ments, whether you like it or not, that are made about us and they see in how we ne­go­ti­ate with them whether they see us as, whether they see us as deca­dent,” he told the ABC’s In­sid­ers pro­gram.

Asked to clar­ify whether Asian coun­tries would see Aus­tralia em­brac­ing gay mar­riage as “deca­dence”, Mr Joyce said: “I think that in some in­stances they would, yes.”

Mr Joyce said “ev­ery­body doesn’t get ev­ery­thing they want” in life and pass­ing a piece of leg­is­la­tion wouldn’t make the union of two men or two women into a mar­riage.

“I don’t think if you go and pass a piece of leg­is­la­tion and say a diamond is a square it makes di­a­monds squares, they’re two dif­fer­ent things,” he said.

“It’s not mak­ing a value judg­ment about ei­ther; they’re just two dif­fer­ent things.”

Ad­vo­cates re­sponded with anger, with Aus­tralian Mar­riage Equal­ity na­tional di­rec­tor Rod­ney Croome say­ing Aus­tralians would not “be guided by what some Chi­nese or Burmese of­fi­cial thinks is deca­dent”.

“Sev­eral of our Asian neigh­bours al­low polygamy and crim­i­nalise ho­mo­sex­u­al­ity, things most Aus­tralians find ab­hor­rent,” he added.

Mean­while Scott Mor­ri­son said he was sym­pa­thetic to hav­ing a plebiscite on the is­sue, as he played down the ur­gency to face the is­sue.

And he de­liv­ered a veiled crit­i­cism of some of his col­leagues who have said they now sup­port a change.

“I don’t flip- flop on those things, as I’ve no­ticed some have,” he said.

Mean­while, Lib­eral back­bencher War­rent Entsch has vowed to push on with a cross­party bill to change the def­i­ni­tion of mar­riage.

Barnaby Jo yce.

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