Victorian Opposition leader Daniel Andrews has chastised Prahran MP Clem Newton-Brown this week for twice voting in favour of legislation that effectively makes it easier for religious organisations to discriminate against gays and lesbians.
In a Facebook video as part of the Don’t Wind Back The Clock campaign, Andrews appears outside Newton-Brown’s Chapel St office, criticising the Prahran MP for ‘betraying’ the gay and lesbian community by supporting the Equal Opportunity Amendment Bill.
“If it’s good enough to say it on Chapel St, it ought to be good enough to do it on Spring St. If you support fairness, support it everywhere,” Andrews said.
“Fine speeches in Chapel St, fine speeches at the Pride March are no replacement for real action to support fairness, real action to support gay and lesbian Victorians.”
Newton-Brown rejected the criticism and said Andrews had used “grubby tactics” recording the film outside his electoral office.
“I’ve always been consistent with my comments to the gay community on this issue, and the fact of the matter is, the Equal Opportunity legislation was Coalition policy … prior to me being elected, which I had no capacity to influence or reverse,” Newton-Brown told the Star Observer.
“To suggest I have said something outside of Parliament that’s inconsistent with what I’ve said inside Parliament is just totally untrue.”
The Liberal MP said he would not comment on whether he personally supported the bill, but said the policy had already been determined in the party before his preselection.
“I can’t pick and choose Liberal Party policy,” he said.
“When you run as a member of a political party, you’re required to adopt the policies of the party. Now, there’s furious debate that goes on behind the scenes for a lot of policies, but ultimately this was a policy where the debate had been had.”
The Equal Opportunity legislation is now set for debate in the Upper House on June 14.
Although they won’t have the numbers to reject the bill, the Victorian Greens have vowed to amend it.
The Star Observer will feature a full-length interview with Andrews in next week’s issue.