Dissent on push for gay unions
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.