AUSTRALIA POLITICS: Mathias Cormann Defends John Howard ‘No ad’

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By Politicoscope October 2, 2017 00:00

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Senator Cormann told Sky News: “I think any criticism of John Howard for expressing his view is entirely unwarranted and uncalled for. Everybody is entitled to their view. I mean we are having a national conversation about whether the law should be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry.”

People across Australia have the opportunity to have their say as to what their view is in relation to that question.

“Of course everybody is entitled to participate and express their views. We’ve said all the way through that we would expect people to do so with courtesy and respect, and that is of course precisely the way John Howard has conducted himself.”

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AUSTRALIA POLITICS: Mathias Cormann Defends John Howard ‘No ad’

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann has defended John Howard after the former prime minister took out an advertisement in The Weekend Australian calling for people to vote No in the same-sex marriage postal survey.

In the advertisement, Mr Howard claims there is less “generosity of spirit” on the Yes side of the debate because Labor and the Greens have refused to accept a No vote and would move to introduce same sex marriage even if the majority of people vote No.

Labor equality spokeswoman Terri Butler said it was “unfortunate” that Mr Howard had chosen to use his standing as a former PM to advocate for the No campaign.

Senator Cormann said there was “absolutely nothing wrong” with Mr Howard expressing his view.

“I think any criticism of John Howard for expressing his view is entirely unwarranted and uncalled for. Everybody is entitled to their view,” Senator Cormann told Sky News.

“I mean we are having a national conversation about whether the law should be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry.”
People across Australia have the opportunity to have their say as to what their view is in relation to that question.

“Of course everybody is entitled to participate and express their views. We’ve said all the way through that we would expect people to do so with courtesy and respect, and that is of course precisely the way John Howard has conducted himself.”

Senator Cormann confirmed that the government would move to legislate for same-sex marriage regardless of the level of participation or size of the majority if the same-sex marriage postal survey returns a Yes outcome.

“That’s what we’ve very clearly indicated,” Senator Cormann said.

“If there’s a Yes vote as a result of this survey then the government will facilitate consideration of a private members’ bill in the final sitting fortnight before the end of the year, to change the law to allow same-sex couples to marry.”

In yesterday’s advertisement, Mr Howard argued the current parliament must ensure religious freedoms are protected if the Yes vote wins.

“The issue must be addressed before the survey is completed,” he said.

“Leaving it as something to be taken up only in the event of a Yes vote prevailing is the equivalent of saying it does not matter very much.”

Ms Butler said Mr Howard was “yesterday’s man”.

“It was, as you know, the Howard government which changed the marriage act a long time ago to explicitly say the marriage is between a man and a woman,” Ms Butler said.

“It is a bit rich coming from someone who did change the marriage law without any need for a national opinion poll or a plebiscite or anything like that.”

Participation “already above 50 per cent”

Senator Cormann said he could not confirm the accuracy of Sky News reports that leaders of both the Yes and No campaigns believe more than 50 per cent of eligible Australians have already voted in the same-sex marriage postal survey.

He said the Australian Bureau of Statistics would reveal on Tuesday afternoon what the turnout rate had so far been, providing weekly updates until the survey result is announced on November 15.

“Anecdotally what I do know, talking from the people in the community, friends, colleagues, you know it seems to me that a very large number of Australians have already immediately returned their survey form,” Senator Cormann said.

“There was a high level of enthusiasm by people to have their say and have their voices heard, so I mean I expect that it will be a credible participation rate when it’s all said and done.”

Labor frontbencher Richard Males said he was encouraged that campaigners believed there had already been a strong turnout.

“I hope people have their say,” Mr Marles told Sky News.

“I’ve been a supporter of marriage equality for a very long time now and I’m very hopeful that this survey will come back with a positive response, and if it does I think that will be a very significant moment for our country.

“I don’t for a second take it for granted, and if you do support marriage equality you do actually need to fill in this form and you need to be encouraging your friends to do the same, and I’m hopeful, I’m confident, but I don’t think it is a fait accompli, and I think that the contest is still very much an issue and it’s within the realms of possibility that there is a No vote, and so if you support marriage equality it’s important that you go out there and fill out that survey.”

— AAP


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Politicoscope
By Politicoscope October 2, 2017 00:00

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Since You’re Here, We Would Like to ask You for Help

There are more readers worldwide reading the Politicoscope daily news content than ever before. Unlike many other news media organisations that charge their readers subscription fees for the same daily news content and features we offer you for free, we do not charge all our readers to pay any fee. We depend on online advertising to generate the revenues to fund all these great news content and exclusive features provided to you for free. Currently, advertising revenues are quickly falling which is affecting our ability to offer you free online news content.
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"I visit Politicoscope everyday to read my daily news in world politics. I'm glad it's all for free. On my part, I'm happy to donate monthly so as to continue enjoying these free content because it's actually a small amount from me compared to paid subscriptions by other news organisations. I want to help Politicoscope grow more so that I and other readers can continue to have access to free and exclusive daily online news." - Denise H., from LA, USA.
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