Mem­ber votes against unions

Whitsunday Times - - LOCAL NEWS -

THE Queens­land Par­lia­ment last week passed the Re­la­tion­ships (Civil Part­ner­ships) and Other Acts Amend­ment Bill 2015, al­low­ing same-sex cou­ples to be for­mally recog­nised in civil unions.

The bill was passed 69–22, with Mem­ber for Whit­sun­day Ja­son Costi­gan vot­ing against the mo­tion.

“This is­sue was a non-event for the vast ma­jor­ity of my con­stituents,” he said.

“Very few peo­ple in the com­mu­nity here were ad­vo­cat­ing for me to sup­port the bill and the vast ma­jor­ity of LNP mem­bers were dead set against it.”

Mr Costi­gan said he felt there were “more press­ing is­sues” in the com­mu­nity.

“Jobs, grow­ing the econ­omy, build­ing dams, sup­port­ing agri­cul­ture, boost­ing tourism – th­ese are just some of the is­sues at the fore­front of the com­mu­nity’s thoughts and as­pi­ra­tions,” he said.

“From my ob­ser­va­tions, very few peo­ple were bang­ing the drum for me to sup­port the bill.”

The lo­cal mem­ber said he wasn’t go­ing “to be fright­ened to speak up for the vast ma­jor­ity of the peo­ple in our com­mu­nity”.

“And in the eyes of many ob­servers, this (bill) just mim­ics the con­cept of mar­riage – and mar­riage is be­tween a man and a woman as far as I’m con­cerned,” he said.

In­stead, Mr Costi­gan said he and supporters of the bill should agree to dis­agree.

“I re­spect a num­ber of peo­ple out there have a dif­fer­ent view to me and the ma­jor­ity of peo­ple I rep­re­sent, and I re­spect those views,” he said.

“But at the same time, it’s im­por­tant that those peo­ple re­spect the other side of the equa­tion and those who are very sup­port­ive of the con­cept that mar­riage is be­tween a man and a woman.

“I stand by my de­ci­sion and I be­lieve the vast ma­jor­ity of my con­stituents over the di­verse elec­torate of Whit­sun­day understand why I voted the way I did.”

REP­RE­SEN­TA­TIVE: Mem­ber for Whit­sun­day Ja­son Costi­gan.

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