Sydney MP Tanya Plibersek has hit out at same-sex marriage supporters after Australian Marriage Equality pamphleted her electorate, telling residents not to vote Labor while it opposed marriage equality.
Plibersek denied to Sydney Star Observer that she had ever been a same-sex marriage opponent — or a supporter.
“I’ve never opposed same-sex marriage. That’s a completely wrong and unfair characterisation,” Plibersek said.
“I’m surprised there are people like Australian Marriage Equality who are so unwilling to celebrate the enormous changes that have been fought for for decades — that they just say, ‘None of this matters, I’m only focused on marriage.’
“That’s a real slap in the face to the people who’ve campaigned for changes to taxation laws; to superannuation; to Medicare benefits; to family law; to all of these things that will make a huge difference to people’s lives.
“I moved a private members bill 10 years ago on immigration that was knocked over. Anthony Albanese moved a private members bill 10 years ago and it was knocked over. To disregard how difficult it has been to achieve this, I think, is very unfair.”
Plibersek said she supported formal relationship recognition — just not at a federal level.
“We have consistently said the Government’s policy is that we support formal relationship recognition at a state or territory level that’s consistent across the states and territories.”
Australian Marriage Equality’s Alex Greenwich said Plibersek’s comments were proof that their efforts were having an effect.
“Plibersek is clearly threatened by this campaign as it highlights that her electorate is at odds with her party on this issue,” Greenwich said.
“Her claim that campaigning for marriage equality somehow devalues the Government’s recognition of de facto partnerships will come as a surprise to the many LGBT Australians who have worked for both — including high-profile Wear It With Pride spokespeople like Kerryn Phelps.
“Our community will not be fooled by attempts to distract us from full equality or to divide us into antagonistic pro and anti equality camps. A majority of Australians support our campaign and the vast majority of the LGBT community continue to encourage us. We are sick of the ALP telling us, ‘We gave you that, now stop bothering us’.
“Ordinary Australians — gay and straight — want our country to live up to its principles of equality and fairness. Tanya has made it clear she is not going to fight for our equality, so we as a community will continue to do so.”