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Labor's division and duplicity on marriage.

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MEDIA RELEASE The Hon John Anderson MP Deputy Prime Minister Minister for Transport and Regional Services Leader of The Nationals

10 August 2004 A88/2004


The continued division and duplicity within the ALP over the preservation of marriage shows yet again that they are incapable of governing Australia, the Deputy Prime Minister and Leader of The Nationals, John Anderson, said today.

Mr Anderson said he welcomed last week's stated support for the Australian Government's legislation defining and protecting traditional marriage by Labor's legal affairs spokeswoman, Nicola Roxon.

However, he lamented the inability of the ALP Caucus to unite behind such a foundational social institution.

"Ms Roxon's comments at the National Marriage Forum - that Labor has no intention of advocating gay marriage - showed she understood the importance of maintaining and supporting heterosexual marriage as a key building block in Australian society," Mr Anderson said.

"The inability of her colleagues to support her shows yet again the divisions within the ALP. It is another reminder of their indecision and tendency to make policy on the run. They have failed on economic policy. They have been impetuous on defence. They have dithered on trade. And now, when it comes to marriage, the family and the future of our children, they treat this important social institution as a political football.

"The thing I most deplore is the ALP's duplicity on this issue. On the one hand, the National Marriage Forum is told of their support for the family. On the other hand, the gay and lesbian community is told something completely different. Lindsay Tanner's opposition to this legislation suggests he will support families one moment and then undermine them in the next breath."

Mr Anderson reiterated the support of The Nationals in Coalition for the insertion of a definition of marriage into the Marriage Act.

"We believe that marriage should be between one man and one woman, voluntarily entered into for life. Marriage in this sense is the basis of the family. Preserving marriage is about maintaining the family and giving our children the

best environment for their best interests. This legislation is about maintaining a central social institution and laying a firm foundation for the future.

"I implore the Leader of the Opposition to follow our lead on this. In fact, I ask the real Mark Latham to stand up. Will he support the protection of marriage and the family? Or, like some in his own party, will he treat Australian families and their expectations as a political toy in order to win government when he has clearly not earned it?"

Media Contacts

Clare Siddins ( Minister Anderson's Office ) 02 6277 7680 / 0427 200 674