A senior Labor backbencher has been rebuked by one of his own branch presidents over comments that people within the Labor Party who supported same-sex marriage should go and join the Greens.
Reid MP John Murphy made the comments to national news media while calling for the issue of same-sex marriage to be put to a referendum at the next election because he believed it would lose.
”People are questioning why we are going down this path – there are so many important things the Labor Party has to be dealing with – they do not include same sex marriage.,” Murphy said.
However Gina Wilson, who is the president of an ALP branch in Reid, said she was “appalled” to hear the comments from a man she had campaigned on behalf of.
“It was incredibly discouraging to hear that my local member and federal representative would advise me to join the Greens rather than rely on him in seek equal rights,” Wilson said.
Murphy called the upcoming opportunity for MPs to report back on their consultations with voters on the issue “insulting” as he consulted with constituents all the time.
However Wilson disputed this, saying that she knew beyond a doubt that Murphy had sought neither the views of voters or ALP members in Reid, which includes the inner west suburbs of Concord, Strathfield, Burwood, Five Dock, Abbotsford and Drummoyne as well as Lidcombe and Auburn.
“There are many GLBTI people in the electorate of Reid and I know that he hasn’t broadly canvassed the electorate to find out what support there is or isn’t,” Wilson said.
“There has been absolutely no canvassing of ALP members in Reid on this. This is John Murphy’s off the cuff personal opinion and its devastating and insulting.”
Wilson said she was shocked to find out Murphy’s true views on the issue.
“I’ve had dinner with John Murphy,” Wilson said, “I’ve been to functions with him.”
“I thought that he was a supporter of disadvantaged minorities. I thought he understood. I am absolutely shocked and devastated to find out what his real opinions are – that he’d rather that I wasn’t even in the party.”
Greens Senator Hanson-Young said a referendum on the issue would be a waste of taxpayers money when all recent opinion polls had shown majority support on the issue.
“There is no constitutional change required to amend the Marriage Act, merely a legislative change, so an enormously expensive and cumbersome referendum isn’t needed,” Hanson-Young said.
“The community can have its voice heard in the Parliament if MPs and Senators are given a free vote and the freedom to vote for what their community wants, not their party bosses.”
“The Greens have long advocated MPs and senators having a conscience vote on this vital matter of allowing consenting adults to marry whomever they love, and again call on the leaders of the ALP and Coalition to allow it.”