In the space of a few hours Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has called marriage equality “the fashion of the moment” to a conservative radio host and “a significant issue” to a group of reporters, leaving the LGBTI community unclear as to his position on the issue.
Abbott spoke to conservative shock jock John Laws about marriage equality in an interview on his Sydney-based 2SM radio program this morning:
“I’m not saying that our culture, our traditions are perfect, but we have to respect them and my idea is to build on the strength of our society and I support by and large, evolutionary change,” Abbott said.
“I’m not someone who wants to see radical change based on the fashion of the moment.”
Later in the day Abbott told reporters in Caboolture north of Brisbane: “I certainly think it’s a very significant issue.”
This later comment echoes Abbott’s line from Sunday night’s leaders’ debate against Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, where the Opposition Leader called marriage equality “an important issue, but not the only important issue,” citing other policy areas he would prefer to focus on.
Labor politicians have already jumped on the comments to John Laws, with Deputy Prime Minister Anthony Albanese telling ABC television they provided insight into Abbott’s character:
“To define sexual orientation as the fashion of the moment will be deeply offensive to many Australians, particularly families as well as individuals who happen to be gay or lesbian.”