PM Gillard still Unconvinced on Legalising Gay Marriage; Insists Union Can Exist with Love Alone
Minus the benefit of an official marriage certificate, gay couples, Ms Gillard said, could definitely enjoy an exclusive relationship that is governed by love, commitment and understanding.
Speaking at an ABC television program, Ms Gillard, however, clarified that her personal stance on the matter is not automatically extended to members of the Australian Labor Party, who she noted were given the leeway to vote using their conscience in the event a full legislation on same-sex union reaches the Parliament.
Unlike their Liberal-National counterparts, Labor MPs, according to the Prime Minister, enjoy the freedom to voice out their feelings on certain national issues and even support initiatives, such as the proposed gay marriage, that the Government has already and officially opposed.
“It’s not for me to tell my Labor colleagues or anyone else what they should believe and how they should vote,” Ms Gillard was reported by the Australian Associated Press (AAP) as saying.
She appeared on national TV buoyed by the latest Newspoll survey that showed more Aussies, 42 percent of them, deem her as a more effective leader against Opposition Leader Tony Abbott, who only got 38 percent.
However, Ms Gillard’s better rating may not be of too much use come next year as the Coalition’s primary vote, at 44 percent, remains more than 10 points ahead of Labor’s, which again dipped a notch to settle at 32 percent during the weekend polls that Newspoll said were conducted on 1146 participants.
Ms Gillard allowed that Labor at the moment is struggling at the polls and the likelihood of defeat stares at the face of the party that has presided over a domestic economy that economists around the world labelled as robust.
“We have done a lot of really heavy lifting in the first two years of government. It has been, politically, very difficult days,” the Labor leader lamented.
She conceded that controversial tax programs, specifically the carbon and mining tax, embraced by the Labor government contributed heavily on the not-so-pleasing attributions attached to federal authorities, further ramped up, Ms Gillard claimed, by smear campaigns supported by some business and opposition leaders.
But Ms Gillard insisted that she sticks with her economic policies, which she described as “very controversial.”
“It’s hard, but it’s the right thing to do,” the Prime Minister told television host Tony Jones.
She added that setbacks created by the carbon tax will soon dissipate once the payment cheques stipulated in the 2013 national budget started arriving July this year, which the government has earmarked for low-income Australian households.
The Prime Minister also dismissed suggestions that her tenure as Labor leader is again threatened by the lingering popularity of her predecessor, former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, who emerged in national surveys as the Labor most-preferred by Aussies.
Mr Rudd, Newspoll said, bested all his likely opponents, Ms Gillard and Mr Abbott including, on its survey of the preferred national leader regardless of political affiliation.
But Ms Gillard stressed that Labor’s leadership question had been dealt with finality in February this year, taking note that “we had a leadership contest. It was resolved at the start of this year. Colleagues told the truth from their perspective.”
“It’s done, it’s finished, people made their contributions,” she asserted.