Fake news in overdrive in marriage debate

Over the weekend, the Australian Financial Review claimed:

Yet the display of the sign elicited a deluge of hate calls towards the AFL from opponents of same-sex marriage and, on Thursday, a threat so serious that the police evacuated the building and cordoned off the street.

 The response? Crushing silence. Leading No campaigners including Tony Abbott, Lyle Shelton, Eric Abetz and Cory Bernardi said nothing by way of condemnation of an act both the AFL and police believe was perpetrated by one of their fellow travellers.

This claim is  false and worse still, the journalist in question didn’t even bother to check the facts with my office.

Just as I was quick to condemn the bomb threat against JoyFM, inappropriate and offensive flyers that have been circulated and posters that have been circulated, just to name a few, to any media that asked on Friday I provided the following response:

Every Australian has the right to go to work without the threat of violence. The threat made to the AFL should be fully investigated and those responsible brought to justice.

Despite the approach of people in the ‘no’ campaign, time and time again ‘yes’ supporters cannot bring themselves to give full-throated condemnation acts on the other side and the media refuse to hold them to account. For example:

A formally affiliated ‘yes’ organisation, the National Union of Students, endorses Astro Labe’s assault.

Response from ‘yes’: silence.

An 18 year old female being sacked in Canberra for posting on her personal Facebook profile that she will be voting ‘no’.

Response from ‘yes’ campaigning unions: no support for Madeline to prosecute her sacking.

Benjamin Law’s graphic threat against ‘no’ campaigning MP’s.

Response from Deputy Opposition Leader Tanya Plibersek: “refrained from condemning Law’s tweet”.

Several church leaders hauled before state tribunals for articulating the Church’s view on marriage.

Response from Australian Greens Senators: active support for those dragging people before courts.

A bombing attack on the Australian Christian Lobby.

Response from ‘yes’ campaign: shocking but not ‘ideologically motivated’.

Attacks on ‘no’ campaigning university students on campuses in both Sydney and Brisbane.

Response from ‘yes’ campaign: silence.

A powder incident that saw an Australia Post Mail Centre evacuated following a suspicious substance being sent to the Australian Christian Lobby.

Response from ‘yes’ campaign: “Mr Greenwhich also levelled blame at the No Campaign for the debate descending to this level.”

Our political discourse should be civil and free of violence and intimidation. This is a standard we should seek to promote regardless of our views on particular issues like marriage but it is dishonest and disingenuous for the media to continually allow the ‘yes’ campaign off the hook while holding ‘no’ campaigners to a different standard.

Many Australians still have to vote. It is just so important that those who support marriage must do all we can to spread the word and convince our fellow Australians of the devastating consequences of change.

About Eric

Eric Abetz has been a Liberal Senator for Tasmania since 1994 and has served in a range of Leadership, Ministerial and Shadow Ministerial roles.

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