01 October 2013
A copy of the letter has also been published here.
Open Letter to Labor Leadership Contenders, Bill Shorten and Anthony Albanese,
The Labor Party has an opportunity to shine in opposition, and to re-build in a way that empowers the grassroots of the party through the assertion of strong Labor values.
Key to this will be Labor's commitment to two issues the party's membership feels passionate about: territory rights and marriage equality.
The ACT Labor Government has introduced legislation that will allow loving and committed same-sex couples to marry in the nation's capital.
Federal Labor has the opportunity to safe-guard these laws by joining the Greens in blocking any Federal Government intervention.
I am concerned that over the past few days the Labor position on this issue has only been to "consider" it.
Labor went to the election with an explicit written promise not to interfere with state and territory laws on same-sex marriage, and in government the Labor Party did not directly interfere with any territory legislation.
Tony Abbott has no mandate to overturn territory laws, but the Labor opposition has a mandate to protect them.
In opposition Labor's role is to hold the government to account and ensure the Coalition does not misuse its power.
The thousands of same-sex couples who will likely marry in the ACT deserve the certainty that their marriage will be safe.
You can both give them that certainty by declaring today that you will insist on a binding Labor vote to protect the ACT Government's right to legislate for something it was elected to do.
Should the you commit to blocking an intervention bill, this will have a discouraging effect on any Abbott Government plans.
We know that this is not a priority for the new government, and if it is losing battle in the Senate it is possible Tony Abbott will probably not bother to proceed.
Same-sex couples will soon start marrying on Australian soil. How long they can do this for is up to you.
For more information contact Mr Greenwich on 9360 3053