Australian Marriage Equality
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.
Posted on 11 January 2013
Melbourne Ports MP Michael Danby (pictured) continues to come under fire from marriage equality advocates and constituents for abstaining on last year’s gay marriage vote in the federal Parliament.
The Melbourne Ports electorate includes the suburbs of Southbank, South Melbourne, Albert Park, Balaclava, parts of Caulfield and St Kilda, where the annual Pride March is held.
The Labor MP was one of 10 Lower House members who did not vote on September 19. The marriage equality bill, introduced by Labor MP Stephen Jones, was voted down 98 to 42. Melbourne Ports resident Darren Tyrrell told the Star Observer he and his partner were very disappointed in Danby’s decision.
“I don’t think he wants to stick his neck out on it,” he said.
When Tyrrell met with Danby to discuss gay marriage last year, he said the MP was sympathetic but non-committal.
“He told us the Catholic Church had been lobbying him really hard, probably more than anyone else,” Tyrrell said.
“I’m disappointed because I always thought he was a politician who stood up for human rights, he stands up for people’s human rights overseas but he doesn’t do it in his own electorate.
“I think it’s a bit gutless to be honest.”
A spokesman for the Australian Marriage Equality Victorian branch said they would be working with Melbourne Ports residents to highlight Danby’s decision.
“Michael Danby has betrayed the voters of Melbourne Ports by saying he supports marriage equality but then not voting for it when he had the chance,” he said.
“Worse still, Danby’s abstention sends a negative message to other MPs who will look at him and think ‘if he can get away with not voting for this in such a progressive electorate then so can I’.” Some residents have taken to social media to highlight Danby’s move
Melbourne Ports resident Tony Pitman started a Facebook page called ‘Melbourne Ports residents for marriage equality’ late last year, hoping to stir some change.
“I think most people in the electorate had the impression that Michael Danby was a supporter of LGBT rights, so when he chose to abstain on the marriage equality vote, there was a lot of disappointment and anger,” Pitman said.
“Through the Facebook page, we hope to funnel that frustration into something constructive; organising campaigns to convince Michael Danby to vote yes next time around.”
Danby’s office did not comment in time for publication.