Prime Minister Tony Abbott
Australia’s newly elected Prime Minister Tony Abbott says that he’s considering blocking legislation that would legalise same-sex marriage in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT).
ACT is a self-governing territory located in the south east of Australia and in which Canberra, the capital city of Australia, is located. This week it introduced a gay marriage bill into its Legislative Assembly, which is expected to be approved.
Abbott, however, campaigned on a ticket opposing same-sex marriage and indicated on Thursday that his federal government would look at the legality of stopping the legislation.
“As for the ACT and same-sex marriages, obviously the ACT is entitled to do what it wants. Within the law,” Abbott told Journalists on Thursday
He went to add: “And, as you know, under the constitution the Commonwealth has responsibility for marriage. The attorney will be seeking advice on precisely how far that extends.”
According to The Sydney Morning Herald, Abbot could file a case in the High Court against the legislation or he could convince Parliament to annul the bill.
“The Commonwealth has got the power [to override the ACT law],” constitutional law expert George Williams told the newspaper. “The question is have they got the numbers?”
Abbott recently beat former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, who supported same-sex marriage rights, in a landslide election victory.
A former Catholic seminarian, Abbott previously stated that “a marriage, by definition, is between a man and a woman”.