Bernardi: government can’t look at marriage until it solves the citizenship crisis

Australian Conservatives leader Cory Bernardi says the Turnbull government can’t consider looking at changing the marriage laws until after it deals with the citizenship crisis.

Appearing on Sky News earlier today Senator Bernardi said he hoped the polls showing that the ‘Yes’ campaign would have a clear win in the postal survey were wrong.

A Guardian Essential poll released today shows the results of the marriage survey are likely to be 63% in favour of the yes camp.

“I’m hoping that it’s not.” Senator Bernardi said. “I’m backing the underdog in this, the ‘No’ campaign, and I think there could be a bit of a surprise.”

Senator Bernardi said debating any marriage bill should not be a priority for the government.

“I think there are a number of things to debate that are probably more pressing. I know the government will be desperate to get it through before Christmas, but they’ve got to deal with this constitutional crisis in citizenship first, and there’s a number of other important issues as well.”

“It’s about priorities and I’m more interested in the health of the body politic and well being going forward than I am about redefining marriage.” Senator Bernardi said.

Senator Bernardi said while he was not conceding that the Yes case might be successful, if there was to be a bill to change the marriage laws he would be advocating for a number of exemptions for religious freedoms.

“I’ll be seeking to make it as palatable as possible to make sure that freedom of religion, and religious conscience, religious belief, freedom of expression are protected.”

Senator Bernardi said making sure individuals who were not associated with a formal religious body were protected under the new laws was just one aspect he’d be asking for if the marriage laws were to be changed.

“I just don’t want people to find themselves prosecuted through tribunals or perused through government bodies because they believe marriage is between a man and a woman.” Senator Bernardi said.

The South Australian senator said people need to be spared from these “trials and tribulations”.

“We need to make sure the radicals aren’t just stifiling freedom of speech and freedom or freedom of religion in this country.”

The politician says all people should be able to choose who they want to provide services to based on their beliefs.

OIP Staff

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