"By pushing for a conscious vote on gay marriage Australian Worker's Union (AWU) Secretary Paul Howes is trying to win the votes of the Greens and the hard left. He is ignoring the interests of the blue collar union workers who have elected him to be there", Queensland Senator Ron Boswell said today.
“At the start of her term, Julia Gillard promised that under her Government that there would be no legislation brought in that would legalise same-sex marriage. Whilst Prime Minister Gillard still insists that this is the case, she has today announced that there will be a conscience vote on the matter at the up-coming Federal Labor Party convention. Surprisingly, Paul Howes has thrown his support behind the issue”, Senator Boswell said.
Senator Boswell went on to say, “Gillard’s plan is simple - introduce the issue on a conscience vote that won’t affect policy knowing the vote won’t pass. The matter of same-sex marriage is then put to bed".
“It is a simple and effective way of getting out of an issue that has been a thorn in her side ever since the last election, when Labor made a pact with the Greens. Labor now have to 'appease' to the hard left agenda before anything can get done" Senator Boswell said.
Paul Howes' agenda is slightly more complicated. By throwing his weight behind the issue, Howes believes he can pressure the Coalition into a similar vote. Two similar votes on the same issue, even if conducted on conscience, can then be put to the parliament and become law.
Senator Boswell also went on to say, “so Howes is trying to push this green agenda in order to minimise damage at the next election by appealing to the green vote".
“Even though he knows he can't get the Coalition to take part in the same vote he will be appeasing the hard left, by saying “we advocated for gay marriage”, while allowing Gillard to keep her promise not to push for same-sex marriage".
What Mr Howes should really be looking at, is his appeal to his own members. Particularly, those in the steel industry who are being left 'high and dry' due to the rising Australian dollar and competition from overseas markets such as China.
The Carbon Tax will only add to the problem. Mr Howes originally came out against it, but now advocates for it, only after the Government threw the steel industry a $300 million dollar band-aid in the form of the 'Steel Transformation package'.
This package does nothing for the small steel fabricators of this country that are struggling. It only looks after the 'big two'. Not to mention Gillard commissioning former Premier of Queensland, Peter Beattie, at $1000 dollars a day to look for ways to promote and grow Australia’s steel industry.
Senator Boswell said, “and yet today an ex-steel industry advocate, Cyril Benjamin, has come out and said that the rising Australian dollar, high wages, and lack of expertise mean that the steel industry is facing a real crisis".
“We seem to be in a situation where we have one man being paid $1000 a day to find jobs that aren’t there in the steel industry, and another representative, in Howes, busying himself by trying to win green votes instead of looking after his members".
“Not to mention the fact that now we have a Carbon Tax that, on some estimates, will put up energy prices to businesses by 30%. Companies like, Onesteel and Bluescope, have already shut plants and have had to lay off 2000 workers due to all these problems".
“Despite these major issues, Mr Howes finds it appropriate to go off on another crusade appealing to the green left who are the very people that want to see industries like the ones he represents fail. His members will hurt financially, all so that Labor can cling on to a miserable jump in the polls".
“Mr Howes needs to rethink now or risk losing his entire blue collar support base who don’t care about same-sex marriage, but do care about feeding their families and their jobs", Senator Boswell said.