Truly one of the most unedifying parts of the marriage equality process – after all the bullshit that emerged during the postal vote debate – was Tony Abbott, the instigator of the whole rotten deal, hoofing it out of Parliament when it was time to actually vote on the matter.
There was a lot of back and forth from people about this matter at the time – including us, obviously – debating what path Abbott should actually have taken on the vote. Obviously voting ‘no’ was problematic, as his electorate voted 75% in favour of marriage equality, and he promised not to get in the way of the vote. Voting ‘yes’ would probably have pissed off his national base of crusty old conservatives and Christian fundamentalists. But abstaining – especially when he was the one who foisted this on the country – was undoubtedly the coward’s way out.
Well, Tones appeared on Sky News last night to make his argument for why he abstained. Speaking to Paul Murray, oldmate Abbott said that because he “was never a supporter of same-sex marriage,” he would have been unable to vote yes – despite the fact he also admits he “wanted a plebiscite”.
— Sky News Australia (@SkyNewsAust) December 13, 2017
“Under all circumstances, the honourable thing to do would be to abstain,” Abbott says in the video. He outlines his thinking behind endorsing a plebiscite / postal vote arrangement:
I wanted a plebiscite because I thought the proponents of change needed to be given their opportunity, but I also thought the supporters of the traditional view should be given a chance to defend marriage as it had always been understood. Having put the plebiscite in place, I obviously had to respect the result.
Of course, he didn’t respect it or the people of Australia enough to give it real respect. Even if that meant going out there and voting no! At least then he’d be taking a real stance, which he could then explain to the people of Warringah.