Changing definition would open 'Pandora's box' KIM LANDERS: The debate about same sex marriage in Australia has flared again, with one Government minister saying Australia should not legalise it because no Asian country has.
Liberal MP Warren Entsch plans to introduce a private members bill to change the laws, but supporters of the current laws are confident it will never come to a vote. News emerged yesterday that he had kids pandora bracelets and charms a Labor MP to second it, and suggestions of a time frame and once that broke, supporters of the current laws moved swiftly and decisively to head it off at the pass. The Government's Senate leader Eric Abetz had a jibe at Mr Entsch and other Liberals like Teresa Gambaro who are backing a change. Senator Abetz says that they're providing a distraction that helps their political opponents. ERIC ABETZ: Which I might add, suits Bill Shorten and he welcomes it, no wonder he welcomes it because it takes the pressure off him, but really, the people of Australia want us to get on with the job of fixing the economy, creating jobs, getting the free trade agreements underway, ensuring our national security. LOUISE YAXLEY: Mr Entsch is in Vietnam and says he won't debate the issue through the media; he wants to discuss it in parliament. Ms Gambaro says her support for same sex marriage is well known and long standing. She says the issue should be dealt with in a respectful manner. She calls for the parliamentary processes to be followed. But Senator Abetz says the idea was resolved when Parliament rejected a bill to change the marriage laws just under three years ago. ERIC ABETZ: We have a wonderful institution of marriage, and we would simply open a Pandora's box if we were to do away with that definition and say that marriage can mean whatever it wants, at whatever time in history. LOUISE YAXLEY: And Senator Abetz goes further, pandora bracelet and necklace set putting pressure on Cabinet ministers like Malcolm Turnbull, who supports gay marriage, suggesting they should consider quitting the frontbench. ERIC ABETZ: I don't think it'll split our party; we've always had people with differing views. The Liberal Party is a broad church, but the Liberal Party also has very solid traditions. One of them is that every backbencher has the right, whether he or she wishes to do so, to cross the floor. Another tradition is that if you're a frontbencher and you cannot agree with policy, then you should resign. I am not going to comment on individual cases, suffice to say the tradition is there for all to see, and I think it is an honourable tradition and it is a tradition that I have tried to follow in my 21 years in the Parliament and I friedman jewelers think it is the only fair and reasonable position in relation to your other pandora necklace beads colleagues. LOUISE YAXLEY: He says it's not a matter of conscience, it's a matter of policy. Proponents of same sex marriage cite the recent United States Supreme Court decision, and the Irish referendum, but Senator Abetz has other examples.
ERIC ABETZ: Article 16 in the UN Declaration of Human Rights sees marriage as a unique institution between a man and a woman, and in our own area in Asia, nobody, or no other country has sought to legalise same sex marriage. LOUISE YAXLEY: Same sex marriage supporters are in the minority in the Coalition and are wary of speaking today. Support for gay marriage was seen as one of the reasons the former AMA head Bill Glasson recently missed out on being selected for a Queensland Senate seat.
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