“Every single member of my Coalition went to the last election saying that marriage was between a man and a woman and that this was our party's position. Every single member.
“It’s all very well talking about conscience. Conscience is important. We’ve always respected the rights of conscience within the Coalition.
“But in the end the fundamental duty of a politician is to keep his or her commitment. I don’t see any dramatic change in circumstances, I don’t see any fundamental differences in objective reality today that would justify any change of a fundamental commitment like that.”
Given the large public relations campaign to have him grant Coalition members a conscience vote on marriage as the ALP voted to do at its national conference last weekend, Mr Abbott’s announcement is welcome news.
Before the Shadow Cabinet decision, The Australian’s Angela Shanahan wrote urging Mr Abbott to say No to a conscience vote on gay marriage:
“The gay marriage fight gives Abbott the chance to shine as the champion of the mum, dad, kids family. So do it, Tony. Forget the monarchy: we don't need fairytale weddings. We need ordinary families. Look to the good ordering of society, and champion its core institution, the natural family, if you want to succeed.”Share