Libs’ plebiscite policy built on back of Catholic poll
It was all over the news on Monday lunchtime – or at least the News Corp news.
Not that Warren Entsch’s same-sex marriage bill had been introduced to parliament, nor that Malcolm Turnbull and Christopher Pyne were the only government frontbenchers brave enough to show up for it.
Oh, no, The Australian, news.com.au, Sky News and the rest were more interested in a poll, funded incidentally by the right-wing marriage bah-humbug brigade, which purported to show that 76 per cent of Aussies would like to have a plebiscite on the issue of same-sex marriage.
This ‘Sexton’ poll apparently ‘strengthens’ Tony’s arm as he looks for a way out of the ludicrous impasse he’s foisted his party into, despite the fact it was conducted before the PM announced ‘his’ new policy.
Newspoll and Neilsen are household names with their regular opinion polls but who are Sexton?
Sexton Marketing, is the business name of Michael Sexton and Associates. Adelaide pollster Mike Sexton was closely involved in the coalition’s 2014 SA election campaign, and derided by some in the party over its unexpected loss.
But he has as his client in this case the well heeled, Catholic-funded Australian Marriage Alliance. And who are they?
Although you won’t find any of this information on its website, the Marriage Alliance was founded by former Canberra Liberal Party president Tio Faulkner, who stepped down in 2013 after allegations (later cleared) of a misuse of taxpayer funds.
Spokesperson Sophie York is a Liberal party member who once ran for the NSW legislative council and had her book launched by Tony Abbott.
And its founding directors are all rich, white, male Catholics, including: former investment banker Jim Dominguez (also a board member of the Catholic Sisters of Charity Foundation), Queensland businessman Ashley Goldsworthy (described by Crikey as ‘the man who sent Jennings Industries broke’), and self-styled ‘tech-savvy’ business adviser Mark Phillips, according to the Bible Society website.
So what does all this prove, other than that the Coalition is now having its policy written by the Catholic Church. (Unsurprisingly the call has received strong support from right-wing Catholic commentators such as Fairfax’s Paul Sheehan.)
Well, for one, it explains Abbott’s Damascus conversion to a plebiscite, and for delaying it as long as possible.
But far from being an ‘olive branch’ for same-sex marriage supporters’, as it has been characterised, clearly the Catholics think that if they can outspend the likes of Australian Marriage Equality and GetUp in advertising dollars they can turn the tide of public opinion against same-sex marriage.
Even if that fails, as it is highly likely to, it will be a nice little earner for Murdoch and Fairfax media.
Its further significance, if the poll is indeed correct, could be that Australians are sick and tired of having their decisions made for them by a bunch of crackpot politicians overly influenced by religion..
So what other policies do Echo readers think should be decided by plebiscite? Climate change, perhaps? Punishment for pollies perks? You tell us.