AME Media Release: Labor MP accused of “Taking orders from Abbott” over Marriage Equality – Michael Danby “Not representing his electorate”

Michael Danby letter on Marriage Equality - April 11 2013


Labor MP accused of “Taking orders from Abbott” over Marriage Equality – Michael Danby “Not representing his electorate”

Australian Marriage Equality
Media Release
Tuesday April 16th 2013

Marriage equality advocates are furious that Melbourne Ports MP, Michael Danby, has again refused to declare unconditional support for the issue.

In a letter to constituents Mr Danby – a Labor MP who has a conscience vote on the issue – has said he will not vote for same-sex marriage until the Coalition allows a conscience vote.

Spokesperson for Melbourne Ports for Marriage Equality, Tony Pitman, said Mr Danby’s position is absurd.

“Michael Danby’s decision not to vote for marriage equality until Coalition members are given a free vote means he’s effectively taking orders from Tony Abbott.”

“Melbourne Ports voters should be very angry that their local MP is showing no leadership on this issue and is again side-stepping it.”

“Quite simply, he’s not representing the views of the vast majority of his electorate.”

Mr Danby was absent from the parliamentary vote on marriage equality in August last year, something which it has taken him almost nine months to explain despite repeated requests to do so from constituents.

Australian Marriage Equality national director, Rodney Croome, said Mr Danby is playing politics with an issue that is about people’s lives.

“Mr Danby should not be playing political games with an issue that directly affects many families in Melbourne Ports.”

“Making his vote conditional on something another party does shows a deep deficit of moral courage and leadership.”

“Either he is prepared to vote for marriage equality when it is next proposed or he is not.”

Mr Danby’s Liberal challenger in Melbourne Ports is Kevin Eckendahl who is a supporter of both marriage equality and a Liberal conscience vote on the issue.

In his letter to constituents Mr Danby wrote,

“I abstained from the vote on that bill (in August last year) because I did not think it fair that half the Parliament – the Labor Party – had a a free vote, while the other half – the Coalition parties – were ordered by the Leader Mr Abbott to vote against the bill. My position is that when the Parliament has a genuine free vote on a marriage equality bill…I will support such a bill.”

For more information contact Tony Pitman on 0431 150 788 or Rodney Croome on 0409 010 668.

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