Christine-ForsterCity of Sydney councillor Christine Forster

You only have one vote on September 7 and this election is the most important in a generation.

For many of us in the GLBTI community marriage equality is a key political issue at a federal level and the positions of the two major parties on this important question are virtually the same. Both are leaving it up to their new members of parliament to decide, after the election.

On all other issues there is a clear choice. The Liberal National Party leadership team is united, stable and experienced. Unlike Labor, they haven’t spent the last three years wondering who the leader is that will get them re-elected – they’ve spent that time preparing a genuine plan for Australia’s future.

The Coalition has committed to providing two million new jobs, lowering taxes and cutting red tape for businesses large and small. Unlike the big-spending Labor government, the LNP will work to get the budget back in the black and address the debt problem which is now spiralling out of control. The LNP has committed to building infrastructure in Sydney and around the country. It will also work to improve health care and education services by cooperating with the states to devolve decision-making to the local level, rather than concentrating power with a bureaucracy in Canberra.

A Coalition government will stop the boats by implementing a suite of proven policies which will dissuade people smugglers.

On marriage equality the Leader of the Opposition, my brother Tony Abbott, has been clear that he does not support change to the Marriage Act, but has also said it would be a matter for the party room.

“In the end, all democratic political parties over time reflect the will of the society that produces them,” he said during the leader’s debate in Brisbane. “I take a conservative position on it myself…but I don’t believe that I can necessarily impose my view on society…[marriage equality] will be a matter for our party, for our Coalition, if it were to come up in a future parliament.”

Marriage equality has been a contentious issue in democratic Western societies, but in our two most closely allied nations, the United Kingdom and New Zealand, the push to achieve the reform has happened under the conservative side of politics, and it’s likely to be the same here.  Liberal candidates like Sean O’Connor in Sydney, Kevin Ekendahl in Melbourne Ports and many others within the party are championing marriage equality and are pushing for our federal party room to have a conscience vote.

The Liberal Party has a proud history and a proven track record of leading change. The Liberals had the first woman elected to federal parliament, the first Indigenous Australian elected to federal parliament, the first out gay person elected to the New South Wales Lower House. Our party values individuals and embraces reform. A vote for the Liberals is a vote for real change.

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