Alexander tries to “squirm” out of marriage question
Former tennis champ turned Liberal MP John Alexander has admitted to “trying to squirm” around the issue of marriage equality while appearing as a guest on ABC TV’s Q&A program.
Sitting next to well-known marriage equality supporter, Wallabies footballer David Pocock, the Bennelong MP first attempted to share an anecdote when the issue came up during the latter part of the discussion show which last night mostly focused on issues to do with sport a and the Olympics.
Alexander said he recollected a recent meeting with high-profile GP Dr Kerryn Phelps where they talked about their mutual friend, gay tennis legend Martina Navratilova.
“As we talked we had this flippant conversation, maybe we should institute a gay marriage for women and call it a Navratilova and as the conversation went on possibly an Alexander for gay men, not after me but for Alexander the Great,” Alexander said.
“Just joking about it, maybe it had some credibility, that there is three different types of marriage and maybe that could make everybody happy.”
When Q&A host Tony Jones pressed Alexander on whether he supports same-sex marriage personally but is beholden to the Coalition’s policy to oppose the reform, the 61-year-old admitted he was attempting to get around the question.
“I was just trying to squirm around and get out of that,” he said.
“One of the interesting things I'm learning about being a member of parliament is, yes you can have an opinion but really what you are is a representative of your electorate.”
Alexander, who took over John Howard’s old seat of Bennelong after defeating Labor’s Maxine McKew in 2010, said he didn’t believe the northern Sydney electorate was ready for marriage equality after canvassing the views of hundreds of people in his electorate, including parents who wanted their gay children to have the right to marry.
“If you look at where we have come from and where we are now most people would agree it is inevitable but the electorate that I represent does not support gay marriage,” Alexander added.
Alexander’s appearance on the show came as Australian Marriage Equality (AME) warned Australia risked being left behind by New Zealand on the issue of same-sex marriage with the leaders of both major parties in that country declaring their full support for a marriage equality bill.
“Many Australians will be deeply disappointed if we fall behind New Zealand on this issue, not least those small businesses associated with the wedding industry that will lose out when gay Australians start flying across the Tasman to be married,” AME national convener Alex Greenwich said.