Malcolm Turnbull sought to proceed with the vote, but Nick Xenophon, with Labor (led by Penny Wong) blocked it in the Senate. Thus the postal vote conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, which required no legislation (and thus was technically non-binding).
Abbott then campaigned tirelessly against the simple proposition, arguing that people “who don’t like the direction our country is headed” should vote against it, warning that “if you degender marriage, a whole lot of things come in its wake”, drawing a stinging rebuke from his gay (and now married) sister Christine Forster.
And 75 per cent of votes in Warringah were in favour of gay marriage, a level of support eclipsed in New South Wales only by inner Sydney seats Wentworth, Grayndler and Sydney itself.
So, having said that “we want the people’s choice, and what could be fairer than leaving this to the people of Australia?” in 2015, and his constituents having chosen by a margin of 3-1, what did Abbott do when the division bells began ringing so House of Representatives’ members could record their vote on the reform? He walked out of the chamber, choosing not to exercise the people of Warringah’s representative vote on the historic bill. And he helped make it happen? What an utter fraud.