Time for Australian Labor to be on the right side of history

The Australian Rainbow Labor Network is calling on Labor national conference delegates to be on the right side of history and support a change to Labor’s national platform that will deliver marriage equality.

Rainbow Labor spokespersons, WA Senator Louise Pratt and ACT Deputy Chief Minister Andrew Barr said, “Rainbow Labor believes there needs to be a positive change for marriage equality in Labor’s national platform and we will continue our campaign for this change.”

“Rainbow Labor remains firmly of the view that matters of equality should not be the subject of a conscience vote,” Mr Barr said.

Labor has historically only permitted conscience votes on questions of life and death such as abortion and euthanasia.

“Marriage Equality will lead to progress and equality for all Australians and is clearly not an issue of life and death.  It is positive reform that will enable all Australians adults the opportunity to marry the person they love,” Senator Pratt said.

Rainbow Labor believes that a positive change to the platform is critical and consistent with both the wishes of ALP members as well as the broader Australian public.

“The Labor Party is at its best when we campaign for positive social reform and win the support of mainstream Australia,” Mr Barr said.

“In 1975 we established the Racial Discrimination Act, in 1984 the Sex Discrimination Act, in 1992 the Disability Discrimination Act and again, in 2008, 85 Commonwealth laws were amended to remove discrimination against gay and lesbian Australians.

“In 2011 the question is whether our party has what it takes to once again stand up in this great tradition and build on our foundations of social progress, equality and fairness for all Australians so as to effect marriage equality into Australian law, for all Australians.

“This is about drawing a line in the sand. It is about standing up for Labor principles. The final test on marriage equality is not: are you on the right side of the politics of the week or the right side of the retail union. The final test is this: are you on the right side of history?”, Mr Barr concluded.

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