Amanda Vanstone shows her support for marriage equality

Former Howard Government Minister Amanda Vanstone has shown her support for marriage equality.

The politician turned broadcaster posted a picture of herself wearing rainbow hued glasses to her Twitter account and encouraged her followers to vote ‘Yes’ in the upcoming postal survey’.

“If you’re a bit pale on the idea then you’re not anti. Vote yes. You’ll feel so much better” Vanstone said.

During her long parliamentary career Vanstone was the Minister for many portfolios including Education, Justice, Immigration and Multicultural Affairs.

After she retired from parliament she was appointed as Australia’s Ambassador to Italy. Since 2013 she has hosted the ABC Radio program Counterpoint. 

The former politician has shared her support for marriage equality previously in an article where she accused the Labor party of hypocrisy for not dealing with the issue when they were in government. She’s just never done it such a colourful way before.

UPDATE: Vanstone follows up her post with an opinion piece voicing her support.

Vanstone followed up her Twitter post with an opinion piece in The Sydney Morning Herald, saying that the poll wouldn’t lead to more gay couples in the world.  

“It’s about whether we will let those gay people who choose to, have their relationship formally recognised. Those relationships are there. They won’t come or go with the advent of this vote. There won’t be more homosexuality nor less, whatever the outcome of the ballot.”

Vanstone said former colleague Tony Abbott’s suggestion that people should vote now because they don’t like the idea of gay marriage belittled “the generous, egalitarian, live and let live attitude of most Australians”.

“We are not a nation of narcissists seeking to have the world reflect our own image. This is meant to be the nation that gives everyone a fair go. Just to be clear, I’ll be voting yes.”

The former Immigration Minister said she’d be delighted to see gay couples rushing to get married.

In the article Vanstone doesn’t hold back with her thoughts about former Prime Minister Tony Abbott, saying he should try to live up to his promise not to undermine the Turnbull government.

“It’s just an opinion but it is my view that Abbott has done more than any other politician to trash the standing of politics and politicians. He’s had a really good education and been given every opportunity by his party. We expected more. We got less.”

Vanstone said she could not understand why Abbott was opposed to allowing gay couples to access marriage.

“I don’t know what he fears. If you’re comfortable in your own sexuality, you should be comfortable with others in theirs.”

ABC Staff warned about marriage equality

Vanstone’s post comes after the ABC’s Editorial Policy Manager emailed all staff at the national broadcaster and warned them to ensure they gave both sides of the marriage debate ample coverage.

In his email Mark Maley told staff they should be circumspect on social media, especially if they had a high public profile.

“In this charged environment I would also urge everyone to be circumspect on social media – advocating for one side or the other will make it more difficult for the ABC to be seen as impartial. The more high-profile you are the more important discretion is.” Malley said in his email.

An ABC spokesman has since confirmed that staff member’s personal social media accounts are not ABC content and would not be covered by their policy guidelines.

ABC staff were also advised to use the phrase ‘same-sex marriage’ over ‘marriage equality’ or ‘gay marriage’. The ABC has said no particular incident prompted the directive, but it came after an interview Lateline host Emma Alberici conducted with Acting Special Minister of State Mathias Cormann.

Many people praised the presenters hard-hitting Monday night interview. Alberici opened her questioning with a heartbreaking story about her daughter’s friend, who was recently kicked out of home because he is gay.

“Whilst you and your colleagues are bickering in your party room, aren’t you concerned about the message you send to young, vulnerable gay and lesbian Australians?” she asked Cormann.

The interview was criticised by SKY News presenter Andrew Bolt, who discussed the exchange with media commentator Gerard Henderson.

The ABC’s coverage was criticised by Multicultural Affairs Minister Zed Seselja.  The minister said the broadcaster was unfair in its coverage and presenters were openly campaigning for gay marriage.

Communications Minister warns ABC’s Insiders over marriage coverage

On Sunday Communications Minister Mitch Fifield raised concern about political program Insiders playing a song created by comedian Tim Minchin.

On Friday night the comedian uploaded a video to his YouTube channel where he performs Peter a Allen’s classic, albeit with a few lyrical modifications.

Fifield said the ABC should cover the marriage debate in a “respectful and considered manner” and that no Australian should be negatively labeled whatever their views may be.

“No one should be negatively labelled because of a sincerely held view,” Mr Fifield­ said.

“All media, with the ABC leading by example, should cover the marriage debate in a respectful and considered manner that provides the opportunity for different views to be heard.”

OIP Staff

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