Former prime minister Tony Abbott has gone ahead and linked the entirely separate issues of changing the date of Australia Day to the upcoming same-sex marriage survey in his bid to further the "no" side of the debate.
Responding to a question about a Melbourne council's move to change the date of Australia Day from January 26, Abbott told Sydney's 2GB radio on Wednesday afternoon that it was all connected as part of an attack on "our way of life".
Earlier in the day, the federal government stepped in to stop the Yarra Council abandoning national day celebrations on January 26, which prime minister Malcolm Turnbull later called "out of step with Australian values".
But Abbott went several steps further, suggesting there's a "real agenda" behind those that want Australia Day changed, Safe Schools advocates and those pushing for marriage equality:
There are far too many illustrations of the larger war on our way of life which is going on at the moment. This is the latest example. I am delighted we’ve had a strong response from the government. I do think that one of the reasons that so many decent Australians are concerned about so many of the changes that we see happening all around us now, whether it be something like this, whether it be political correctness rampant in our schools, the gender fluidity stuff that is part of the safe schools program, which is being institutionalised in Victoria. So many people are anxious about these assaults on things that we’ve taken for granted. This is one of the reasons that the same sex marriage vote is suddenly in all sorts of trouble because people are worried about the real agenda of the people that are pushing these things. In the case of marriage, I think they’re starting to realise this is not about strengthening marriage, it’s about weakening it.
If you want to read more about Tony Abbott's political strategy in framing the "no" debate, this post is for you.
Mark Di Stefano is a media and politics correspondent for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.
Contact Mark Di Stefano at email@example.com.
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