NA­TION Mar­riage de­bate alarm

Townsville Bulletin - - NATION - MATTHEW KILLORAN

QUEENS­LAND’S most se­nior Catholic warns the same­sex mar­riage de­bate has be­come “in­fected” with “ide­ol­ogy, slick mar­ket­ing and smart slo­gans”, while hold­ing back from telling peo­ple how to vote.

Bris­bane Arch­bishop Mark Co­leridge said opin­ion polls stat­ing strong public sup­port for same- sex mar­riage may be more re­flec­tive of in­ner- city Sydney and Mel­bourne than ru­ral Queens­land.

Speak­ing to to­mor­row’s Catholic Leader, Arch­bishop Co­leridge called for peo­ple not to at­tack those who did not favour same- sex mar­riage.

“One of the prob­lems is that so much ide­ol­ogy and slick mar­ket­ing have in­fected the public de­bate,” he said.

“The po­lit­i­cal mess also shows how di­vided the com­mu­nity is on the is­sue.”

He said “jus­tice for all” was ba­sic to a healthy so­ci­ety, but not ev­ery­one agreed that same- sex mar­riage was a sign of ei­ther.

“That doesn’t mean that those who don’t favour same- sex mar­riage are brutes or big­ots,” Arch­bishop Co­leridge said.

“Is­sues like that aren’t triv- ial, nor are they well han­dled by ide­o­log­i­cal cant and smart slo­gans. “We need bet­ter than that.” He did not say which way peo­ple should vote in the postal plebiscite, but has pre­vi­ously sup­ported the Catholic Church’s po­si­tion of not chang­ing the word­ing of the Mar­riage Act.

Mean­while, Prime Min­is­ter Mal­colm Turn­bull said he ex- pected a bet­ter than 50 per cent turnout for the $ 122 mil­lion postal snapshot.

Mr Turn­bull said Op­po­si­tion Leader Bill Shorten had been play­ing politics with the same- sex mar­riage de­bate.

“I have been a sup­porter of gay mar­riage much longer than him, for a start,” he said.

Mr Shorten had called for the Prime Min­is­ter to co- sign with him a let­ter of sup­port for a same- sex mar­riage “yes” vote.

“I think it would be a very healthy mo­ment, not only in the mar­riage equal­ity de­bate, but in Aus­tralian politics,” he said.

Mr Turn­bull said he would con­sider the pro­posal but warned it could be coun­ter­pro­duc­tive.

Postal bal­lots for the plebiscite will be mailed out from Septem­ber 12, un­less a High Court chal­lenge to stop it pro­ceed­ing is suc­cess­ful.

A fi­nal re­sult should known by Novem­ber 15. be

Co­leridge.

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