Three assistant ministers have accused their moderate colleagues of “betrayal” over compromising on promised protections for parental rights and religious freedom, as marriage equality comes closer to being passed.
With Dean Smith’s marriage reform bill set to pass the Senate this week, Angus Taylor, Michael Sukkar and Zed Seselja have called for the bill not to be supported without additional religious protections, according to The Australian.
“It’s now the job of Coalition members to live up to that promise. I for one will support protections for free speech, parental choice for their kids’ education and freedom of religion. I hope others will do the same.”
Seselja said supporting the bill without those protections would be “a betrayal” of both Yes and No voters.
“Dean Smith and Tim Wilson and others assured Coalition voters that getting same sex-marriage with a Coalition government would deliver much stronger protections, yet the Smith bill has been embraced by the Greens,” said Seselja.
“We owe it to our supporters who voted both Yes and No to ensure that we deliver much stronger protections than a Green/Labor bill would.”
Smith responded that the details of the bill were well publicised prior to the marriage equality survey, and the overwhelming Yes vote suggested Australians were happy with it.
“An equally valid interpretation of the result is to conclude Yes voters were not only ready to embrace marriage equality but are also satisfied protections for religious views in Australia’s legal architecture are already sufficient,” he said.
“For months the opponents of marriage equality have argued the case for broader religious freedoms but have failed to substantiate their claims with clear evidence existing religious freedoms in Australia’s various laws are insufficient.”