Barnaby Joyce dismisses marriage equality discussion

Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce has dismissed talk of the coalition changing its position on marriage equality describing the issue of as something that it only of interest in Sydney and at dinner parties.

Yesterday News Corp columnist Andrew Bolt revealed he had obtained audio of Christopher Pyne, the Minister for Defence Industy, declaring that the Liberal party was controlled by its left faction, and that marriage equality may occur sooner than people were expecting.

Asked about Pyne reported comments this morning Barnaby Joyce, who is currently in London, said he was focused on other issues.

“I’m going to make sure that I’m concentrating on the issues that people who elected me want, which is to get the best return back through the farm gate,” Joyce told reporters after laying a wreath for London Bridge terror victims.

“What happens at dinners and other parts of Sydney is of no real consequence to me.” Joyce said.

Treasurer Scott Morrison, who is from the party’s right faction, said the government was committed to holding a plebiscite on the issue.

“We have a policy. We took it to the last election. That’s the policy we’ve honoured in this parliament,” Morrison told Network Seven.

Pyne has been quick to downplay his own comments. Last night a representative issued a statement saying he only meant to suggest that marriage equality would happen sometime in the future, and this morning he tweeted that the government’s policy would not be changing.

“I support marriage equality and if Labor had supported the plebiscite, it would now be a reality. The govt has no plans to alter the policy.”

Liberal MP Warren Entsch, told The Australian that he thought Pyne’s comments were probably aspirational in nature.

“I can only guess that maybe his comments were aspirational and not necessarily based in reality,” Entsch said.

“He’s entitled to his opinion. I’m not changing my advocacy; I just continue to work on it. I’m not working to any time-frame that’s been established by Christopher.”

The longtime supporters of marriage equality said he hoped the party room would revisit the issue soon, but said there was no specific timeline for action.

OIP Staff

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