Before the 2010 elections, Julia Gillard unequivocally placed herself on the public record as being opposed to same-sex marriage.This was seen at the time as meaning that an incoming Labor Government would not be caving in to the Greens and their collaborators within Labor's socialist left faction to redefine marriage as it is presently enshrined in Australian law.At that time there was no hint of dissent from Stephen Jones, who had recently been installed, without reference to Labor's local branches or rank and file members, into the position of Labor's candidate for the Throsby electorate. Indeed, it was impossible even to elicit information from him as to where he stood on the subject.Since his election, Stephen has displayed a lack of attention to matters affecting Australia's national interest such as protecting what is left of our steel industry by demanding that Australian and multinational corporations carrying out development in Australia be mandated by the government to use Australian products, in particular, Australian steel.He remains silent about the ability of multinational interests to simply walk onto prime agricultural lands and commence highly damaging coal seam gas operations, or the fact that thousands of working-class families are having their electricity and gas supplies cut off due to their inability to meet the cost of escalating power bills.These and many other urgent matters appear to be disregarded in favour of promoting his proposed same-sex marriage private members bill, even to the point of supporting a rent-a-crowd group from Sydney that intends to hold a public forum in Wollongong in the near future (Mercury, January 24) promoting his stance that ignores his local ALP branches, party members and electors.For Stephen's information, Illawarra electors and ALP members alike, are unlikely to be influenced by any rent-a-crowd group blowing into Wollongong for a few hours and telling us we should be redefining marriage, the age-old institution that has served humanity so well over millennia. We are quite capable of forming our own opinions without interference from outside pressure groups.Poor Julia Gillard, however, must be agonising about what is going wrong with the great ALP, when some head office-installed upstart can force a Labor prime minister either to change her pre-election commitment and support his preposterous private member's bill or, embarrassingly, walk across the floor and vote with the Coalition.Having actively participated in politics for the past 50-odd years, I can't remember having witnessed or read about a prime minister ever being placed in such an embarrassing predicament.Heterosexual marriage involving one man and one woman, in any case, must be preserved and recognised as a unique institution among all human relationships, predicated on the creation of new life and the preservation of family life Australians have always known.Australian children have a right to know, bond with and share the love and protection of both a mother and a father. No other form of human or social relationship can hold out the promise of this benefit to future generations.There is of course, an easy answer to this complex question and that is for the Gillard Labor Government simply to hold an unambiguously worded referendum on the subject, concurrent with next year's Federal elections.Bob Harrison is a former state ALP Member for Kiama
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