Cowper's postal survey response reflected in House
COWPER MP Luke Hartsuyker stayed true to his word and voted yes to marriage equality. Prior to that historic moment he also voted several times in support of proposed amendments to the marriage equality bill.
This was a stance Mr Hartsuyker indicated he would take during debate on the bill.
Speaking in Parliament on Wednesday, the long serving Nationals member said that he would: "be supporting a number of amendments which I believe will improve this bill".
Throughout the debate held in the House of Representatives, former prime minister Tony Abbott, Treasurer Scott Morrison, junior ministers Michael Sukkar and Alex Hawke, and backbenchers Andrew Hastie, Andrew Broad and Sarah Henderson, were unsuccessful in trying to change the Marriage Amendment (Definition and Religious Freedoms) Bill, as was Greens MP Adam Bandt.
Mr Hartsuyker supported both sets of amendments moved by Mr Broad as well as those from Mr Sukkar, Mr Hastie, Mr Hawke, Mr Morrison and Ms Henderson.
The majority of proposed amendments were an attempt to ensure the bill did not restrict religious beliefs or inhibit freedom of speech.
During debate, the Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister flagged his support for any amendments that would protect religious freedoms, a concern he said many of Cowper's constituents had spoken with him about.
"There have been concerns in relation to the issue that the bill as currently drafted affords no protections to Christians who, for matters of conscience, would consider the provision of services to a same-sex marriage as making them complicit in an activity which contravenes their faith," Mr Hartsuyker said to the House.
"I will be supporting a number of amendments which I believe will improve this bill. However, should the amendments fail, I will be voting yes in accordance with the commitments that I have made."
The commitment was that his vote on the Bill would reflect the will of the Australian people as reflected in the postal survey on the issue.
"Just as the participation in the survey was so overwhelming, so was the result, with some 61.6 per cent of Australians answering yes," he said.
If a federal election were held today, which way would you vote?
This poll ended on 08 December 2017.
Nationals/Coalition (Luke Hartsuyker)
Labor (Andrew Woodward)
Independent (Rob Oakeshott or other)
The Greens (unknown candidate)
One Nation (unknown candidate)
Christian Democratic Party (unknown candidate)
Informal (none of the above)
This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.
Mr Hartsuyker told the House he welcomed the opportunity to place his position and views in relation to same-sex marriage on the public record.
"I have always been clear on my stance with regard to same-sex marriage that I personally don't support that, and in fact I recorded a no vote in that survey. But I certainly respect the decision of the Australian people," he said.
Mr Hartsuyker also praised the civility of the debate in the local community.
"I must say that, within the electorate of Cowper, the debate has been conducted in a very fair, reasonable and respectful way, with people with very strongly held views on both sides of this question treating each other appropriately," he said.
"I think that's part of coming from the country."