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Byron Shire
September 24, 2021

Marriage’s (un)holy alliance

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A still from the Marriage Alliance ad that pictures same-sex marriage as an iceberg that might sink our ship of state.
A still from the Marriage Alliance ad that pictures same-sex marriage as an iceberg that might sink our ship of state.

Libs’ plebiscite policy built on back of Catholic poll

Chris Dobney

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.

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  1. Crackpot politicians indeed. Abbott and his cronies can send out troops off to war, to die on behalf of American business interests because cabinet reckoned that was fair.

    But heavens above, that Australian citizens should be able to marry the person they love regardless of gender. The moral panic, the policy paralysis, the incapacity to see a social justice issue on face value says it all about this appalling bunch of crackpots.

    But it’s ok to send our troops to die for someone else without even a second thought.

  2. Jo, Jon, Jon.
    The Greens are the only current 3rd alternative to the other useless parties. I would love to see another powerful party in Australia that cared for the environment as well as valuing Humanity. Unfortunately, except for the Kitchen Table group, there is no other option on the horizon.
    Back to the topic at hand: mRabbott is trying to do a ‘Little Johnnie’ & obfuscate the issue. The reality is that Govt can & should have an open vote & if accepted change the law to allow for Same Sex betrothals. We do not need the huge waste of scarce Taxpayers resources on a Plebiscite or Referendum.
    I must say I am amazed at the hypocrisy of the ‘average’ voter: all they seem to care about is the hip pocket. Unfortunately, if steps are not taken to clean up the environment, there will be few Humans able to live on this fair planet. The current Govt seems to bicker about everything, change its mind in a moment, & upset everyone in the process! I feel they are not to be in power for much longer, Early election Tony?

    regards, Doug


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