“Electoral Backlash” For “No” Vote Politicians A Possibility in SSM Debate

A Western Australian politics lecturer believes politicians voting against changes to the legislation to include same sex marriage could face repercussions, following the overwhelming ‘yes’ vote in the plebiscite.

Murdoch University lecturer Ian Cook said there were going to be “plenty of representatives going against their electorate’s wishes”, and it was a question of whether voters felt “alienated” because their representatives chose against the majority.

“There might well be some electoral backlash here against those people,” Mr Cook said.

“They might well suffer swings against them on the parts of people who feel a little bit like they were not effectively represented by people who were claiming to represent them.”

However, Mr Cook said abstaining from voting against changing the law may not cost politicians their seats in parliament.

“Whether it’s enough to cause them to lose their seats, in some instances these are very safe seats, so I’m not sure the swings are going to be big enough,” he said.

“But there’s no doubt when it comes to this next election people will remember this because it has a sort of high symbolic value and it will come back to mind.”

A number of members of parliament have chosen not to support a change in legislation, including Western Australian Member for Canning Andrew Hastie.

“It was only in July last year when the plebiscite policy was given form,” he said.

“We went to the election with it, I was on television saying I would abstain, I’ve been in dialogue with constituents for the last 18 months and whenever I’ve talked to them about the issue, I’ve said I would abstain.”

“My intention is to abstain because to vote yes would go against my conscience.”

However, Liberal MP Ian Goodenough also voted against same sex marriage, but said he would support the vote of his electorate.

“The Coalition has delivered on its election commitment and given the Australian people the opportunity to have their say on same-sex marriage,” Mr Goodenough said in a statement.

“Whilst I have made my personal views on this issue clear, my job is to represent the electorate of Moore, which has returned a majority ‘Yes’ vote.

“This is what I intend to reflect in parliament.”

The ‘Yes’ campaign secured 61.6 per cent in favour of marriage equality when the result was revealed on Wednesday morning, while 38.4 cent voted no.

The Federal Government has cancelled a sitting week for the House of Representatives on Monday, to allow the Senate to finish debating the same-sex marriage bill before it goes to the Lower House.

The Lower House was due to sit for two weeks from Monday, but will instead sit for one week from December 4, with an option of extending sittings.

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