Former Prime Minister Julia Gillard says she has changed her position on same-sex marriage, and that she would vote in favour of marriage equality if a public plebiscite were to be held.
Gillard made the announcement this week while delivering a speech to the Melbourne College of Law and Justice, adding that she was making her change of position known because of the current government’s plan to put the issue to the public rather than have the parliament deal with it – a proposal that she believes contains “no logic”.
The former Prime Minister’s change of heart has been viewed with cynicism by many on social media who recall that in the last term of parliament, Julia Gillard had the opportunity to no only directly vote in support of marriage equality, but to also use her position of leadership to bolster support for the issue within her party and in the community. On both counts she failed to do so.
Gillard, as she has previously done, pointed to her feminist background as a reason why she resisted change when she had the opportunity to do so.
“Given the 1970s feminist in me saw much to be concerned with from a gender perspective with traditional marriage, I thought the better approach was not to change the old but to create something new,” she said adding that she has since realised that her view was not popular.
When speaking about what has transpired in the two years since she left office, Gillard says she assumed that the Liberal Party would have allowed a conscience vote, and criticised them them for shirking their responsibility on the matter.
‘As we all know, there is no logical reason for having such a vote on same-sex marriage,’ Gillard said. ‘No constitutional change is actually needed. No referendum has been required in the past to change the Marriage Act. No plebiscite was seen as necessary when the traditional approach to marriage was changed through the introduction of no-fault divorce.’
‘Our parliamentarians have been called on to make decisions about peace and war, life and death, the pursuit of prosperity, the embrace of fairness. It is my respectful submission that our parliamentarians, in an exercise of good conscience, can make and should make any decision about same sex marriage.’