For release: Thursday 5 May, 2011

Federal Labor should not put itself in the position of having to inevitably waste parliamentary time to override an ACT attempt to legislate same-sex marriage, according to the Australian Christian Lobby.

ACL Chief of Staff Lyle Shelton said it was disappointing that some Labor Senators had fallen for the Greens’ legislative trap and recommended passing Bob Brown’s so-called ‘territories rights bill’, which was really a back-door attempt to legalise same-sex marriage through a small territory legislature.

Mr Shelton said the Government should take note of two dissenting Labor Senators, Senator Hutchins and Senator Forshaw, who recommended the bill not be passed.

“A parliamentary override of an ACT Government same-sex marriage bill would be an unnecessary distraction and waste of time for the Parliament and the Government which needs to use its time on more important issues, such as trying to broker a compassionate policy solution to Australia’s refugee crisis and easing cost of living pressures on families.

“It is devious of the Greens to be pushing major constitutional reform through the back-door to suit their radical social policy agenda when they know full well that Labor and the Coalition made election commitments to the Australian people to preserve marriage between a man and a woman.

“It is hypocritical of the Greens to accept ministerial override for some territory laws, for example such as mandatory sentencing, but not for their radical agenda to redefine marriage.

“The Greens interest is not democracy but the advancement of their social agenda, and redefining marriage is only part of that. It is quite proper for there to be ministerial override over small non-State legislatures, said Mr Shelton. “On a population basis some Sydney councils could claim states’ rights.”

“The ACT is not a State. If constitutional arrangements are to be changed, this should occur through a proper process, not as part of the furtherance of Greens’ radical social policy agenda,” Mr Shelton said.