Australia elects traditional marriage supporter as PM

A supporter of traditional marriage has been elected as Prime Minister of Australia.

The victory for Tony Abbott, leader of the Liberal/National coalition, shows same-sex marriage was “not a vote winner” for the Labor party according to campaigners.

Head of the Australian Christian Lobby, Lyle Shelton said: “It is clear that changing the definition of marriage is not something that defined the way Australians voted despite Labor’s high-profile campaigning on it and strong support for it in the media.”

Referendum

He added: “Australia has an opportunity now to move on from this debate but if same-sex marriage activists persist in the new Parliament, it should go back to the people again for the ultimate conscience vote in a referendum.”

Mr Shelton said many Australians felt uncomfortable about the effect changing the law on marriage would have on freedom of speech and belief, following the harsh treatment of a Christian pastor by Labor leader Kevin Rudd in the final week of campaigning.

Tony Abbott has said he “respectfully” disagrees with people on redefining marriage, and said he does not want to see “radical change based on the fashion of the moment”.

Vote

Polls have shown that introducing same-sex marriage in England and Wales could be a vote loser for the Conservative Party.

A survey by Tory Peer Lord Ashcroft showed only 29 per cent of voters believe the Party will win the next election, compared with 32 per cent in January.

He said the poll showed “the price we have paid for spending half a year talking amongst ourselves” – on issues like same-sex marriage.

Lost

In the local elections earlier this year, the Conservatives lost hundreds of seats to UKIP which is against redefining marriage.

Election expert, Professor John Curtice, said UKIP gained support from voters who are socially conservative on issues like gay marriage.

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