Tony Abbott says SSM debate sparks new wave of conservative activism

Tony Abbott in question time. Picture: Kym Smith.
Tony Abbott in question time. Picture: Kym Smith.

Tony Abbott has hailed the rise of a new conservative movement prepared to fight for Western culture and religious freedom as a ­result of the same-sex marriage campaign and warned Liberals the “activated” voters will wonder “who will represent them in the years ahead”.

The former prime minister said the “nucleus of an organisation” had been created in just two months of campaigning for traditional marriage but there was no support from Malcolm Turnbull or conservative ministers.

He said the new movement, which could represent 40 per cent of Australians, could become a counter to the pro-Labor, leftist GetUp! movement which has been around for a decade and heavily funded by unions.

This week John Howard, a leading advocate for traditional marriage, also warned of the “fragmentation” of politics in Australia and is concerned about the lack of representation in the same-sex marriage debate for conservatives.

In a speech to be delivered in New York overnight to the conservative Alliance Defending Freedom group, Mr Abbott will say thousands of young people had sprung to defend marriage ­despite attracting “an instant ­social media storm and reputational death”.

“Such robust characters, once activated, are unlikely to fade away; and could continue to make their presence felt (even after marriage is no longer an issue) because they’ve had the guts to campaign for a cause they believe in,” he says.

“With the leaders of both big political parties, 60 large businesses and most of the major sporting codes all coming out on the other side — and no cabinet minister, not one, in the centre-right government prepared to campaign with them — they will understandably be wondering who and what might represent them in the years ahead.”

While he said he believed the result of the same-sex marriage postal survey could still “swing ­either way” because No voters were reluctant to answer poll questions, he said a 40 per cent vote would be a “moral victory” for marriage, demonstrating a core of conservative support in Australia.

“Win, lose, or draw, though, starting from scratch two months ago, the campaign for marriage in my country has mobilised thousands of new activists; and created a network that could be deployed to defend Western civilisation more broadly and the Judeo-Christian ethic against all that’s been undermining it,’’ he says.

“So far, the campaign to defend marriage in Australia has raised over $6 million from more than 20,000 separate donors, and fielded more than 5000 volunteers to doorknock and phone canvass.”

Mr Abbott said the political implications of the rise of a new “loose” conservative movement and the lack of conservative ministers supporting the No case was that in the short-term “the embryonic Australian Conservatives, the only national political party whose leader backed marriage as it’s ­always been” would be the beneficiary in electoral terms.

“In the medium term, these new activists are likely to mean that the long march of the left through our institutions is no longer largely unopposed,” he says and suggests there could be counter “solidarity” marches to protest marches from the left.

“If the traditional stance of the centre-right in the English-speaking tradition is to endure — to be pro-market and to be socially conservative — there has to be people prepared to stand up for beliefs; ­because if you don’t believe, you won’t fight; and if you don’t fight, you can’t win.”

Mr Abbott says “if the opinion polls are right”, the Victorian Labor government, which is preparing to give “doctors the right to kill some patients”, will be the “prototype” of the “next national government”.

“There is ... a massive job for these newly energised, potential conservative activists,” he says. “For every protest march, there must be a solidarity one. For every assertion of identity politics, there must be a defence of the social fabric. For every lobby on the counter-cultural left, there must be one on the commonsense right if even the sensible centre is to hold; for the values of centre-right party MPs can no longer be assumed and often need to be buttressed.

“Merely debating marriage has hinted at the risks facing cultural conservatives, the new dissidents in the world that their decency and tolerance has made possible.’’

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William avatarPhilip avatarRobert avatarTrev avatarRoger avatartim avatarSir Les avatarTim avatarAndrew avatarMax avatar


Avatar for Caspar

I would support any such movement but where is the true statesman that could launch it ?

I'm fed-up with fringe-dwellers, constantly being in my face, telling me what to think and how to lead my life .

Avatar for Patricia

Meanwhile, in the growing tradition of the Raving Right, May has just lost two ministers in three weeks. One fell getting out of a helicopter a couple of years ago.

The other was alleged to have engaged in the usual thing that Tories with a born-to-rule persona get caught doing with their female underlings.

This other was Fallon, Secretary of State for Defence and very senior in May's Cabinet.

Also meanwhile, Trump has virtually guaranteed that the NY suspect will get off on the basis that his defence will have absolutely no trouble arguing that the suspect will never get a free trial.

Trump has just called for the death penalty to be imposed on the suspect.

No wonder Trump reckons the Law in the US is a 'joke'!

Avatar for Patricia

The last squeals from the raving right rearguard, more like.

Abbott's religion, for which he trained to be a priest, now captures only 10% of all marriages in Australia.

Good bye. And no thanks for coming.

Avatar for Peter

@Patricia Raving right rearguard ..... love it.  It beats mere reprehensibles.

We're not dead yet Patricia, cough cough, and while we still breathe we still vote!!!!

Avatar for Barrie

@Patricia keep digging, your hole of destruction is growing every day. It's going to be very deep and embarrassing for you when your identity, socialist and fake news politics are destroyed.

Avatar for Calvin

Are any Liberal strategists watching and listening? Hear this, loud and clear: your base is deserting you in droves. Your plan to shift to the left, and capture some Labor stragglers, is not working and will not work, ever. Your hopes that millions of conservatives will reluctantly vote for a return of Turnbull are disintegrating as conservatives find other candidates and parties to support. Young and old, conservatives are answering Mr Abbott's question of who will represent them, and the answer is not the current Liberal Party. Conservative political alliances and allegiances are undergoing volcanic eruptions in Australia and around the world, but be assured that none of the current Liberal hierarchy have any awareness of this.

Avatar for Mark

Is Abbott serious with this self serving nonsense? And is this correspondent serious in acting as a paid/unpaid spruiker for the cause? The Australian should treat its readers with less contempt than that which Fox News treats its viewers in the US. 

Avatar for Ryan


1. yes and he should

2. no spruiking here, just reporting of a great concern to humanity's sensibilities

3. i'm not being treated with contempt.

Avatar for Paul

@Ryan @Mark Mark is one of the many irrational lefty Tony Abbott haters Ryan and I for one don't take his comments at all seriously and I reckon many other readers of the Australian would agree!

Avatar for Save the Krill

I keep asking myself why are lefties and progressives so tolerant of so many minorities and pressure groups in favour of things they would never do themselves, but react with white hot rage at the existance of even mildly conservative  and decent people, no matter how similar the respective lifestyles, backgrounds and even aspirations?

Avatar for Victoria

@Save the Krill 

Good question. maybe it's self-hatred, morphing into hatred of ltheir own kind.

Malcolm Fraser was a great example of that. - had a rotten childhood, it seems, and hated Australians.

He was the only truly vicious PM we have had. malevolent, and scary..

The "progressive" PC mob viscerally dislike their fellow citizens, wishing to deny us basic liberties like freedom of speech, and dead against plebiscites. The word "populist" is their favourite hate-term.

And rubbish our history and traditions.

Avatar for John

Tony, you've missed the boat.  You had your chance;  left 18C alone, encouraged "Recognition" and signed us up to Paris.  It's over, mate.

Avatar for Philip

There's another boat waiting to sail and it's got Tony Abbott's name all over it.

Avatar for Paul

@John In your opinion John which happens to be very wrong.  

Among other things, Tony Abbott wisely temporarily shelved the 18C issue because he knew he wouldn't get it through the feral Senate.  

There's no point flogging a dead horse unless John disagrees with that premise as well!

Avatar for Max

Bernadi’s gaggle of whingers will be a horrendous flop.

Other than the lunatic fringe of the fading baby boomer generation, no one gives a toss.

The only thing that will keep it breathing is the 6-year senate ticket he defrauded from the liberal party.

Avatar for Mark

@Max Gee Max , the socialist revolution not happening fast enough for you ? The real world is actually impacting on your make believe childish university politics ? Or the continuous "i hate adults" posts are not giving you the sugar hit you crave ? Max i think you better leave GetUp pretty quick son, your serial rants arnt good for your obvious handicap, physical and mental.

Avatar for Terryd

@Max Yes, whinging about incompetent government, record debt, unaffordable energy, obsolete NBN, subs. that won't be any good. We should be thankful Cory left the Liberals so he can call this out. Keep whinging folks!

Avatar for Calvin

@Max Thanks Max. I'm wearing my new T-shirt "Lunatic fringe of the fading baby boomer generation" and loving it! 

Avatar for John

Why should it be right or conservative. Surely the western Christian world has a right to have its religion and values  respected regardless of all the political rhetoric. When one sees the great cities and monuments built by this culture one has to admire its values and work ethic regardless of your orientation. 

Avatar for Denis

Well if nothing else Tony, you've given Niki Savva her topic for this weeks column entitled "It's all Abbot's fault".

Keep up the good work, one day Malcolm might get the message - nah he won't!

Avatar for Guy

Rise of the right's new vanguard? Looks like the old religious right trying to justify its existence after rejection, not only by the general public, but by mainstream conservatives. Stay in America, Tony, you'll find much more fruitful ground there. In Australia, your rising vanguard looks more like a twitching corpse.

Avatar for sue

Interesting how so many express a hatred for Christian values.  From Christian values have sprung not only churches but schools and hospitals, old-people's homes and palliative care, orphanages and adoption agencies, the Salvation Army, women's shelters, overseas missionaries   and so many other caring and welfare organisations.

Not all of us want to give these away for Safe Schools  and surreptitious brain washing designed to destroy our traditional society, which is the result of years of development and experience in the art of living together with generosity and goodwill.

Avatar for B J

@sue  I, for one, don't hate Christianity However, I am not going to be made conform to it against my will and especially by a political party. I do see hypocrisy on a grand scale as well the religious right is very selective in their condemnation. Question; if Tony lied to the electorate when he made promises (swore an oath) and then broke them; In light of what 1Cor: 6;9 says about liars; should we be listening to him?

Avatar for Catharine Y


Well-said, Sue. Only when Freedom of speech, Freedom of Religion, Freedom of Parents to choose what sort of religious and moral education their children have,(as opposed to the scandalous Marxist Freudian social engineering that has been slipped into the so called 'Safe School' curriculum- designed to increase the numbers of the LGBTIW) and freedom of association are removed, will citizens become aware!  They must but will they ever? 

What Tony Abbott observes is very insightful. If the Liberal Party can come together and support him and not the self-proclaimed leader of the 'Black Hands' Christopher Pyne et al, the Liberal Party will become great again. He is a true statesman who cares what happens to our nation. His detractors are many, who simply can't stand to see good.

Avatar for Kym

@B J @sue No you only hate TA. Your condemnation is not based on anything real - If TA could have kept his promises he would have - did you not hear of the unrepresentative swill in the senate who ply their trade to get personal largess and minority priorities.

Avatar for B J

@Kym @B J @sue  I am asking a question on theology and TA is only an example. The Senate has always been out of the hands of the party in control of the lower house that is not something new. Didn't he drunk one night as well (LOL)?

Avatar for Justin

I actually wish for Toneby to become leader of the liberal party. He only knows how to wreck and has lost the respect of the majority of Australian voters. So once he tries to become leader any hope of conservatives keeping this country back will gone and the grand global socialist agenda will rise stronger than ever!

Avatar for Paul

@Justin Another lefty anti all things Tony Abbott hater no matter what good he does and same as most lefties arrogantly presumes to be speaking for 'the majority of Australians' which he actually doesn't,  holding the view that everyone 'thinks' the same way as he does when they clearly don't!

Avatar for Michael

@Justin At what point Justine do you wake up and go "Oh yea, socialism has failed at every attempt it has had to govern - in all its guises". All it has ever given the poor wretches who were unlucky enough to be citizens of a country ruled by this toxic ideology, is cult like leadership worship, deprivation of rights then followed by economic ruin.

Avatar for Barrie

@Justin You're fearful of Tony because you know deep down he is the one who will destroy your socialist agenda. He wrecks all right and he will do it again. The more you denigrate him, the stronger he becomes because the silent conservatives are growing in numbers. We need strong leaders.

Avatar for Sascha

It's a shame the Australian Conservatives haven't manage to finalise their Queensland registration in time for their state election later this month as it would be a good test to see the true extent of how many voters are truly fed up with the current political status quo in Australia, filled with self-service power political opportunist, lobbyists, unions, activist lawyers who currently fill and control our parliament, institutions, leaving behind a Australia and Australians to wonder how did these Marxist Pittbulls get away with it for so long.

Avatar for Terryd

@Sascha Ms P called the election early and AC hasn't had time to jump through all the hoops but the process is well advanced. In any event AC is gearing up for the Federal election. Just vote for One Nation and give a strong message of dissatisfaction to Labor and Liberal.

Avatar for Terryd

@Sascha @Terryd Yes all the others hopefully and the next Federal election. AC is doing it right and being very thorough on candidate selection so it will be quality over quantity.

Avatar for Terryd

@John @Sascha Already registered in Vic. and SA and the registration process is underway in Tas., NT, NSW,, ACT and Qld. Not bad for a Party that only got going this year!

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Sir Les