Redefining marriage isn’t a vote winner in Blair

by on 21 August, 2013


Blair MP Shayne Neumann isn’t on board with his leader Kevin Rudd on samesex marriage. Or as he told The Queensland Times, “Last time I voted against samesex marriage when the legislation came before the House of Representatives…and I haven’t changed my position. I canvassed the electorate widely with 700 people getting back to me…and 585 were opposed to samesex marriage and 115 were in favour. I sat on the committee that looked at the legislation…and I was unconvinced by the arguments. If the same legislation came before the house again I wouldn’t change my mind.” 

In key battlegrounds such as the southern Queensland seat of Blair, Rudd’s pontifications on samesex marriage could cost Labor votes, especially among serious Christians. After all, when 83.57% of your respondents oppose “gay marriage” you can’t just wish them away.

What’s more, voters across Australia don’t rate “gay marriage” as a toppriority issue. Indeed, this month, ABC’s Vote Compass found that the most important issues to Australians are as follows: the economy, asylum seekers (read border security), health and hospitals, climate change, education, broadband, trust, taxes, workplace relations, food security, NDIS (disability care), manufacturing, defence, childcare, transport, and mining. 

Social researcher Mark McCrindle believes that some groups are likely to see Kevin Rudd’s “gay marriage” stand as an elitist distraction. When you have unemployed or underemployed tradeies, for example, struggling to find work in the outer suburbs, Labor’s focus on redefining marriage looks out of touch. “It symbolises all that they don’t like about the government that is, distracted into symbolism and not governing on the issues that make a difference to them.” 

The respected commentator Gerard Henderson has also expressed concerns in relation to faith matters. “It is unlikely that evangelical Christians or mainstream Catholics will be impressed by Rudd’s conversion to samesex marriage. The same is true for Muslims who are an increasing influence in Western Sydney. Abbott’s enthusiastic reception in Lidcombe last week, at the end of Ramadan, was underreported in the media. It should have been of concern to Labor.”

But back to Blair. Why is the PM more interested in serving gaymarriage activists in innercity suburbs than Blair’s workingclass families? It just seems foolish, arrogant even. Still, Kevin Rudd says he doesn’t want to look like a “family dinosaur” in front of his children and wife. It’s all about him.

Ben-Peter Terpstra contributes to many publications including MH and Quadrant. 

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