MCMILLAN Liberal MP Russell Broadbent will not be voting to legalise same-sex marriage despite overwhelming support for marriage equality within the McMillan electorate.
His decision puts him at odds with most of his electorate, with 62.7 per cent of those who responded to the postal survey supporting marriage equality, while 37.3 per cent opposed it.
In an interview with ABC Gippsland on Thursday, Mr Broadbent said his views on same-sex marriage had never been a secret.
Asked whether he was failing to represent the views of the majority of his electorate, he said he was one of 36,500 McMillan electors who had voted no. “I have a long-standing position on this. I believe I can also represent the 36,500 that voted no.”
But Mr Broadbent said he would not be “obstructionist”. “There are some trying to wind back anti-discrimination laws. That’s an impossible situation. We have very strong anti-discrimination laws in this country and they cannot be amended by any change in this legislation.”
Support for marriage equality was even higher in Bass Coast’s other federal electorate, Flinders, where 70 per cent of respondents voted yes and 30 per cent no.
Flinders Liberal MP Greg Hunt welcomed the result. “I was one of those who voted yes and I will be one who supports the bill in Parliament in line with my own beliefs, the majority view of my electorate and the majority view of the country.”
Mr Hunt said he understood that not every member of the Flinders electorate supported marriage equality and the Government would ensure recognition of religious freedom within the bill.
An overwhelming number of MPs in both houses have said they will support a bill to introduce marriage equality with appropriate safeguards for religious freedom.
Bass Coast Mayor Pamela Rothfield also welcomed the strong support for marriage equality within the Bass Coast Shire.
Speaking at a council meeting just hours after the results were announced, she said, “I’m so proud to be part of a community and council that supports equality. There are a lot of very happy people around our community today.”
The Cape Paterson tavern was the scene of rainbow revelry on Wednesday night as the local LGBTI community and many friends and supporters celebrated overwhelming public support for marriage equality.