Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott has been criticised for trying to claim credit for the legalisation of same-sex marriage, despite campaigning against it for years.
“When all is said and done, I helped to make the thing happen,” the former prime minister said in a new interview with the Sydney Morning Herald.
“I set up the process which opened up the possibility and even the likelihood of change. Now that it has happened, I absolutely accept the outcome.
“It’s the law of the land and that’s the way it is.”
But Abbott was one of the nation’s highest-profile campaigners against legalising same-sex marriage. He urged people to vote no throughout the damaging postal survey campaign.
“I say to you if you don’t like same-sex marriage, vote no. If you’re worried about religious freedom and freedom of speech, vote no. If you don’t like political correctness, vote no because voting no will help to stop political correctness in its tracks,” he said on day one of the campaign.
Tony Abbott later argued legalising same-sex marriage would “fundamentally change society” and incorrectly claimed “same-sex couples in a settled domestic relationship have exactly the same rights” as married couples.
“To demand ‘marriage equality’, therefore, is quite misleading. Same-sex couples already have that,” he said.
“This debate is about changing marriage, not extending it. And if you change marriage, you change society; because marriage is the basis of family; and family is the foundation of community.”
In the survey, a whopping 75 per cent of Mr Abbott’s Warringah electorate voted in favour, but he was one of 10 Coalition MPs who chose to abstain from the final parliamentary vote.
Research published last month confirmed the postal survey campaign led to increased depression, anxiety and stress among LGBTIQ Australians.
No Tony, you didn’t progress marriage equality, you mendacious newt pic.twitter.com/hJ6KCK0KUp
— Amy Coopes (@coopesdetat) February 11, 2019
Tony Abbott trying to take credit for marriage equality is like the Grinch trying to take credit for Christmas presents https://t.co/9L1tmvC2vQ
— Adam Pulford (@adampulford) February 12, 2019
The hate that this man gave the LGBT community was incredible – now the onion devouring fool wants to take credit // Not satire: Tony Abbott helped make gay marriage happen #auspol #lgbt https://t.co/vAVhFATnSF
— Brad G 🌱🌏 (@br78ad) February 12, 2019
Abbott is on a charm offensive as he faces the prospect of defeat in the upcoming federal election, to be held by May.
A ReachTEL poll published last weekend found 60 per cent of his Warringah constituents who were surveyed rated his performance as a local member as “poor” and of those who previously voted for him, 78 per cent said they would vote for another candidate.