…in The Australian today, a picture of Sydney telling a thousand words re the divide between the inner-city Green-affected electorates, and the real world out west.
Article linked HERE:
“IN the electoral killing fields of Sydney, where Labor MPs stand on same-sex marriage depends on where they sit.
Labor advocates of same-sex marriage point to opinion polls that show most Australians support it and, in the trendy inner-city seats of Grayndler, held by Anthony Albanese, and Sydney, held by Tanya Plibersek — both of which have high Greens votes — as well as the comfortable eastern beaches seat of Kingsford-Smith held by Peter Garrett, the local members have come out in support.
Outside these seats, however, it’s a very different story.
In the outer suburban seats, high concentrations of immigrants are often devout followers of Christianity or Islam whose religious leaders are urging them to make their views known on gay marriage at the ballot box.
“This ain’t the inner city . . . you’ve got the god squad out here,” one western Sydney Labor MP said.
In the magazine Catholic Outlook, which goes to 40,000 readers in Sydney’s west, Bishop of Parramatta Anthony Fisher penned an article opposing gay marriage. He concluded: “Let’s tell our leaders: don’t mess with marriage.”
The Australian National Imams Council has advised Muslims to be “very careful” of politicians who support gay marriage, which is anathema to the teachings of Islam.
A survey by The Australian found that of 12 Labor-held electorates in outer metropolitan Sydney seats, many of which are marginal, only one MP, old-school left-winger Laurie Ferguson, has declared outright support for a same-sex marriage bill.
Seven Labor MPs — Tony Burke, Chris Hayes, David Bradbury, Ed Husic, Jason Clare, John Murphy and Michelle Rowland — have come out against.
The remaining members — Chris Bowen, Julie Owens, Robert McClelland and Daryl Melham — have yet to declare their hand, although Mr Melham said “the overwhelming majority of my electorate is opposed to change”.
Mr Murphy is in the comfortable position of resolutely opposing changes to the Marriage Act on grounds of personal conviction, and says the vast majority of voters in his electorate of Reid agree with him.
Speaking to parliament in February, Mr Murphy said: “I will campaign all the way to the next federal election defending the age-old institution of marriage, and let the people speak, particularly the silent majority.”
Mr Murphy, who has said Labor members who support same-sex marriage should “join the Greens”, warned his Labor colleagues it was a “vote-changer” for many constituents opposed to same sex marriage.
Labor MPs, unlike their Coalition counterparts, will have a conscience vote, but some say that does not mean they will vote according to their convictions. Some say they have no problem with gay marriage, but their vote will be decided by the dominant view of their constituents.
One is Mr Husic, who says many ethnic groups in his electorate of Chifley are devout Catholics, including Filipinos, who make up 8 per cent of his constituents. For such groups, gay marriage represented a big social change that “a lot of people are not willing to embrace.”