Two of Australia’s most vocal Liberal same-sex marriage supporters have criticized Bill Shorten’s move to put forward a bill on the topic next week to Parliament. According to Shorten on Tuesday, May 26, he will introduce a private member’s bill with the hopes of legalizing same-sex marriage. This bill will be the third one from three different groups, prompting the Greens to call for a cross-party meeting to establish a strategy.
Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young stands behind this move stating that “The only way to achieve a common goal and secure marriage equality in Australia is to work together across party lines… Love and equality is above politics.”
Yet, Queensland Liberal MPs Warren Entsch and Wyatt Roy are not as gung-ho. In fact, they have been incredibly critical of Shorten’s upcoming bill, saying instead that he has “run out of questions on the budget.” Entsch and Roy are predicting that this bill won’t even get through the Parliament. Mr. Entsch goes on to say that “This has nothing to do with marriage equality, this is all about Bill trying to create credibility.” Ouch. Mr. Roy couldn’t help but chime in stating that “This is all about Bill Shorten’s survival, nothing else.”
Shorten’s bill joins that of Senator Hanson-Young which is scheduled to be debated on by Senate in June, and a “freedom to marry” bill put forward by Liberal Democrat senator David Leyonhjelm to the upper house.
Shorten remains optimistic. While he’s still not sure whether or not the bill will make it through the Parliament, he will be “shocked if the government said they wouldn’t debate the issue.” He goes on to say that it’s time Australia caught up with the times.
The LGBTI community in Australia is slowly, but incrementally seeing more political and societal representation – except when it comes to marriage. The current Abbot Government is opposed to same-sex marriage, meanwhile the opposition – Australian Labor Party – vocally advocates for marriage equality.
Bill Shorten, a Melbourne native, has been the Leader of the Labor Party, and Leader of the Opposition since October 2013. He became the Leader of the Opposition when Kevin Rudd announced that he would be stepping down. He immediately began distinguishing himself by distancing himself from the social conservative thinking of the politicians that preceded him. Before joining Parliament, Shorten was the National Secretary of the Australian Worker’s Union between 2001-2007. His experience with the unions has made him a sympathetic ear across party lines throughout his career.