As promised, Tony Abbott put the proposal of same sex marriage to the party room. But not his own party room where in all probability the motion would have been lost anyway. But quite cleverly or perhaps fearfully, the PM put it to the joint LNP party room. In doing that, he knew the same sex marriage would be lost as most National party members and senators are against the idea. Perhaps in gratitude, Warren Truss could stand aside and nominate Tony Abbott as the new leader.
And then once that was concluded, Abbott equivocated. He had stated that parliament should decide the issue, after the Irish referendum. Now after circumventing his party as well, he suggested a referendum or plebiscite. A referendum would be unnecessary and a plebiscite could be easily ignored.
But with a private member’s bill on same-sex marriage shortly to be introduced into the House of Representatives and perhaps the revival of a Senate bill, Abbott’s manoeuvres have only bought him time. He believes that his tactics have ensured that the issue will be put aside perhaps until the next election or beyond.
But strategically, he has failed to see the long-term effect of his actions. He has offended senior members of his cabinet who are publicly disagreeing with his actions. Now he may threaten them with dismissal if they cross the floor and vote for the legislation but that will only create more and more publicity and a greater backlash. That could create a revolt within his party and another leadership spill. But that can be addressed tactically as he has done in the past.
But strategically, Abbott has failed to realise the following. His divisive actions with regard to same sex marriage has created an election issue.
In non-rainbow colours, the choice is clear…
A vote for the National party and the other conservative party (now now longer a Liberal party) will ensure there will be no same-sex marriage.