Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott addressed a packed hall of Maronite Catholics in Punchbowl on September 2, urging them to make their voices heard in the upcoming plebiscite on same-sex marriage.
Speaking before an audience that included the Maronite Bishop of Australia, Bishop Antoine-Charbel Tarabay, Mr Abbott lauded the contribution of the Maronite community to Australia, praising Maronite families, workers and business people for their exemplary citizenship.
“A silent majority that remains silent ceases to remain a majority,” Mr Abbott said.
“You love our country; that’s what today’s meeting is all about … trying to have the very best country that we can.”
The family was the bedrock of the communities that make up Australia, Mr Abbott said, and marriage was fundamental in protecting children and families.
“Yes, love is so important. But in the end, marriage is about the welfare of the kids; it’s about the protection of the family.
“And that’s why it’s so important that we don’t do anything to water (marriage) down, (that) we don’t do anything that would lead to reduced respect and protection for the families of Australia.”
The audience also heard from Bishop Tarabay and ‘No’ campaigner Tio Faulkner, having the opportunity to ask questions of the speakers at the end of their remarks.
Ballot papers for the plebiscite will arrive in the mail from September 12, and voters will have until November 7 to post them back.
Earlier today, the High Court of Australia began hearing two bids launched by pro-same-sex marriage groups to prevent the plebiscite from taking place.
One argues that the Government is exceeding its power by trying to spend $122 million on the plebiscite without the necessary parliamentary approval.
The other argues that the survey falls outside the powers of the Australian Bureau of Statistics, which has been charged with conducting the initiative instead of the Australian Electoral Commission.
For more information on the upcoming plebiscite, visit www.coalitionformarriage.com.au