Standing firm on same-sex marriage
Letter sent to the Fraser Coast Chronicle and NewsMail on Friday August 14, 2015:
The people who are calling on me to vote in favour of same-sex marriage, are the very same people who would scream blue murder if I broke any other election commitment.
I am a man of my word. It would not be fair to the people who voted for me at the 2013 election to change my position on same sex marriage mid-term – and I have no intention of doing so.
I respect that there are many differing views on the issue of same-sex marriage within the Australian Parliament, within political parties, our local communities and even within families.
Many of those who value the traditional definition of marriage as being between a man and woman are not willing to share their views publicly for fear of being vilified. They are often labelled as being “out of touch, homophobic, backwards, dinosaurs” by people who promote tolerance, love and freedom of choice. Does anyone else see the hypocrisy?
I have not once said I conducted a survey of the Hinkler electorate. What I said is that the majority of Hinkler residents I’ve spoken to do not support same sex marriage. By definition, a majority is anything more than half.
Speaking of majorities, more than 65 per cent of Hinkler voters are over the age of 45.
It’s true that I have not spoken to every single one of the 98,907 voters enrolled in Hinkler, but my door is always open. I’ve hosted dozens of community forums and workshops in Hervey Bay and Bundaberg. Every couple of months I take the electorate office on the road, holding “PittStops” on the streets of Hinkler’s many smaller towns. I’m available by appointment for one-on-one constituent meetings in Bundaberg and Hervey Bay. Hinkler residents can also interact with me on Facebook, YouTube and my website.
Whenever a Hinkler constituent contacts my office, my staff note their views. Our records show 360 Hinkler voters do not support same sex marriage, compared to 71 who do. Some of those who have congratulated me for standing my ground are traditional Labor voters.
The Fraser Coast Chronicle published a story yesterday that said an online poll they’d conducted some two months ago showed Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss and I are “out of touch”. The story did not provide any information about the poll. How widely was it promoted; did every local voter know about it? How many people completed it? And how do they know all respondents were locals? How long did the poll run for? Are the respondents male or female, and how old are they?
Same-sex marriage is not among the top ten issues raised most frequently by the hundreds of Hinkler voters who telephone, email, visit or write to my office each week.
That’s why my number one priority is attracting investment to the region to create jobs!
Hinkler residents can rest assured their views, on all matters, are important to me.
Keith Pitt MP
Federal Member for Hinkler