Image for $200 each! Coalition to fund couples

$200 each! Coalition to fundcouples

This page was updated at 9pm on 27 August 2013 with further information below our original story.

Tony Abbott’s Coalition isn’t just against giving same-sex couples the right to marry, they’re also promising they’ll give heterosexual marriages a helping hand to the tune of a $200 voucher each.

On the Australian Christian Lobby’s Australia Votes guide to the election, the Liberal National Coalition was asked: “What will your party do to encourage marriage and resilience in couple relationships?”

Here’s the surprising response: “The Coalition will provide a $200 voucher to all couples when they register their intention to marry, which will be redeemable on an approved marriage education, counselling or parenting skills service.

“Couples can use this voucher before or after their wedding to choose the service that best suits their needs, be it one which assists in developing communication skills, conflict resolution, financial management, parenting skills, or for counselling services if problems arise in a marriage.”

“The Coalition will provide a $200 voucher to all couples when they register their intention to marry.”

While the Coalition’s refusal to support marriage equality leaves same-sex families with kids out in the cold, they add: “The Coalition, if elected, will place a greater emphasis on prevention and early intervention as a means of ameliorating the negative consequences of poverty, family dysfunction and social exclusion.”

They also reiterated their stance on marriage: “The Coalition policy supports the current definition of marriage contained in the Marriage Act.”

“Any change to the policy would be a matter for the Party Room in the future, as is the case with all policies,” their response added, concluding: “Tony Abbott supports the existing definition of marriage.”

The Australian Labor Party’s policy on the increasingly uncontroversial issue is also well known, and reiterated on the ACL’s website:

“The Rudd Labor Government believes that all people are entitled to respect, dignity and the opportunity to participate fully in society regardless of their sexuality.

“When the issue of same sex marriage has previously been considered by Parliament, Federal Labor has allowed each MP and Senator a conscience vote according to their own personal views.

“This reflects the fact that people of good will can hold different positions on this fundamental matter.”

Same Same has sought confirmation from the Liberal Party on their marriage voucher policy, and will update this story if/when we hear back.


UPDATE 9PM

There’s still no official word to us from a spokesperson from the Coalition on this policy, but a parliamentary journalist from the Sydney Morning Herald says she has contacted a source from Tony Abbott’s office to clarify.

While the policy as described to the Australian Christian Lobby notes that the $200 vouchers will be used for “pre-marital counselling”, the source told the Herald that same-sex couples would not be excluded from the initiative, and will be able to put the $200 voucher towards “relationship counselling.”

“Some people on Twitter have expressed outrage that while the Coalition doesn’t support same-sex marriage, it would shell out cash to straight couples to get hitched,” notes Jacqueline Maley in her live Federal Election blog today.

“Obviously same-sex couples won’t be getting pre-marital counselling, per se, because they can’t get legally married yet. But they can use the $200 towards relationship counselling.

“The scheme would be a capped one-year trial. I am seeking more detail for you but the main point is that same-sex couples are not excluded by it.

“But of course they are still excluded from marriage itself.”

We’ll update this page again if we hear any more details.

Comments

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TamaskaCor

TamaskaCor said on the 27th Aug, 2013

Read "approved" as "Christian"... just another way the GOVERNMENT & ALL taxpayers will continue funding the Church.

MilesHeffernan

MilesHeffernan said on the 27th Aug, 2013

Head hits desk. (repeats).

Lachness

Lachness said on the 27th Aug, 2013

Yep! Its all good for Abbott. He IS married and can get married again at any time (once divorced), yet he denies other humans the same right based on a personal belief that should not interfere with his ability to govern!

mikeybear

mikeybear said on the 27th Aug, 2013

The money would be better put into a divorce.settlement fund.

rayne

rayne said on the 27th Aug, 2013

Interestingly the vouchers are only redeemable in the form of "approved" (fundamentalist run courses perhaps?) marriage education, counselling or parenting skills services. This might keep the divorce rate and bad parenting rate down because you know, it's not the gays with the 50% divorce rate or large majority of kids in foster care..

DavoJimbo

DavoJimbo said on the 27th Aug, 2013

abbott is such a tool . it isn't that I really care that much whether it is the liberals or labor in power - it is that he is such a fucking tool.... bangs head on desk along with miles....

Bar Wench

Bar Wench said on the 27th Aug, 2013

I thought the boat buyback scheme was the howler of this election, but this policy sure comes close.

dmarwood

dmarwood said on the 27th Aug, 2013

Wait wait wait.... a couple of things you neglected to consider.

1) The $200 relationship counselling vouchers are available to same sex couples as well. Obviously not for marriage counselling but they are available for relationship counselling.

2) Given the Liberal Party room is far more supportive of gay marriage than Tony Abbott you should applaud the fact that policies go before the party room.

3) Labor has been in government for 6 years and still no gay marriage. Instead of a conscience vote why didn't the so called 'progressive party' enforce party discipline like it does on every other piece of legislation?

Tony Abbott may not be a friend of gay marriage but the ALP are no better.

lozziecomber

lozziecomber said on the 27th Aug, 2013

@ dmarwoord, the $200 voucher wouldn't be available to same sex couples on the basis that we are ineligible to submit an intent to marry application. This is something that only heterosexual couples can do, as that is what our current laws allow under the marriage act. That is sadly the technicality in that 'offer'.

bakerowen

bakerowen said on the 27th Aug, 2013

The intent of this policy is to extend the longevity of marriages for those with children. Whilst this article has obvious political preferences and is spun to appear discriminatory to same sex relationships given they cannot "register their intention to marry" the policy is also failing children of heterosexual partners who are not married. However you have to consider the audience for this response %u2013 the ACL.

@dmarwood whilst your first appears incorrect you follow with two very good observations on this debate.

Nathan Sydney

Nathan Sydney said on the 27th Aug, 2013

Its not April fools and this isnt the Onion. This cant be serious surely. I am speechless.

spansexual

spansexual said on the 27th Aug, 2013

Publishing this rumour as news without confirmation from the principle party it is about is an insult to your audience and to journalism.

Matt Akersten

Matt Akersten said on the 27th Aug, 2013

Spansexual, we did contact the Coalition to clarify the policy, and have no reply as yet.

There is an update to this story though, as the Sydney Morning Herald was able to check with Tony Abbott's office on the details.

While the policy as described to the Australian Christian Lobby notes that the $200 vouchers will be used for "pre-marital counselling", the source told the Herald that same-sex couples would not be excluded from the initiative, and will be able to use the $200 towards "relationship counselling."

We'll let you know if we hear more.

wysi

wysi said on the 27th Aug, 2013

As usual, even if it's for all couples, the singles don't get a thing.

wysi

wysi said on the 27th Aug, 2013

I think your headline should have read:

$200 each! "Coalition to fund straight couples"

you haven't fully confirmed it yet, but the title is worded as if it's a verified report.

#Journalism101

Marko

Marko said on the 27th Aug, 2013



I have to agree with you here, singles often provide solely for themselves, not all but most do.

Matt Akersten

Matt Akersten said on the 27th Aug, 2013

That's true Wysi, I leapt for this though, as I didn't like the idea of the Coalition promising various things to the Australian Christian Lobby, under the radar. It's a real policy. As you see I'm happy to clarify the facts as we hear them.

coast_boy_21

coast_boy_21 said on the 27th Aug, 2013

And how much more evidence do GLBT people need before they wake up to the fact that Tony Abbott is not our friend.

wysi

wysi said on the 27th Aug, 2013



umm, didn't you read it?
it's available to same-sex couples.

Spansexual, we did contact the Coalition to clarify the policy, and have no reply as yet.

There is an update to this story though, as the Sydney Morning Herald was able to check with Tony Abbott's office on the details.

While the policy as described to the Australian Christian Lobby notes that the $200 vouchers will be used for "pre-marital counselling", the source told the Herald that same-sex couples would not be excluded from the initiative, and will be able to use the $200 towards "relationship counselling."

We'll let you know if we hear more.

coast_boy_21

coast_boy_21 said on the 27th Aug, 2013



Really? You seriously believe that? I guess the moon is made out of cheese.

wysi

wysi said on the 27th Aug, 2013



Well you seem to forget which one is despised by is own party and ministry.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=50cTq554C4w

Ash Rehn

Ash Rehn said on the 27th Aug, 2013

Basically this amounts to state promotion of heterosexuality, perhaps nothing new but quite explicitly so for contemporary times. It is very much in keeping with Vladimir Putin's ideas for Russia and the news that the Russian government will soon sponsor ex-gay therapy. Under a Coalition government, same sex couples will apparently have access to $200 as well, but only if they do 'relationship counselling' and we know what that means as far as the ACL is concerned. We will, no doubt, see 'trained counsellors' lining up for their cut of the $200, helping same sex couples 'pray the gay away'. I suppose it also means you can get the money twice, presumably if you go to same-sex ex-gay couples counselling, get 'cured', then hook up with a person of the 'opposite' sex and sign up that you 'intend' to get married. You thought Howard turned back the clock? Just wait for what is ahead.

KrustythePizza

KrustythePizza said on the 28th Aug, 2013

"will be redeemable on an approved marriage education, counseling or parenting skills service"

I am not really envious.

mcnemo

mcnemo said on the 28th Aug, 2013

This policy is worse than being being anti-same sex marriage, "Approved" marriage counselling? what does this mean, considering the LNP, and Abbott's Christian values, this will most likely be church controlled organisations. as Bill Cosby once commented: what is the point of getting marriage advise from a priest. so more money to the church, and a bunch of irrelevant preaching for straight couples, from someone who by his faith cannot get married. Unfortunately people who disagree with this policy would already not vote for Abbott.

Matt Akersten

Matt Akersten said on the 28th Aug, 2013

The Age today confirms that the Coalition's scheme, which we're told will be officially announced in coming days, will also include same-sex couples and de-factos.

http://www.theage.com.au/federal-politics/federal-election-2013/no-discrimination-in-coalitions-relationship-vouchers-20130828-2spok.html

There's a good quote from Australian Marriage Equality's Rodney Croome:

''It's great that the Coalition wants to foster stability and longevity in same-sex relationships by extending them the same $200 counselling voucher that marrying opposite-sex couples will receive.''

''But a much cheaper, simpler and more effective way to achieve the same goal would be to allow same-sex couples to marry.

''The rights, respect and responsibilities that come with marriage will do more to strengthen same-sex relationships than any amount of counselling.

''The Coalition also needs to clarify how same-sex partners will qualify for the pre-nuptial counselling voucher when they're not allowed to marry.''

wysi

wysi said on the 28th Aug, 2013

I respectfully suggest changing the title of the story to reflect this latest development ie its available to all couples.

Matt Akersten

Matt Akersten said on the 28th Aug, 2013

Yes, I changed the story page's heading last night, and just changed this thread's heading also.

wysi

wysi said on the 28th Aug, 2013

Damn I might spoil my ballot.

TamaskaCor

TamaskaCor said on the 28th Aug, 2013

WYSI, you absolute nuffy... how many times do you have to be told that although the LNP have said they will not exclude SS couples from this bribery, the fact that SS couples cannot register an intent to marry rules us out completely.

How thick and rose-coloured with LNP branding do your glasses have to be for you to be able to see this???

wysi

wysi said on the 29th Aug, 2013

WYSI, you absolute nuffy... how many times do you have to be told that although the LNP have said they will not exclude SS couples from this bribery, the fact that SS couples cannot register an intent to marry rules us out completely.

How thick and rose-coloured with LNP branding do your glasses have to be for you to be able to see this???

Did you read? http://m.theage.com.au/federal-politics/federal-election-2013/no-discrimination-in-coalitions-relationship-vouchers-20130828-2spok.html
I hope you read ALL the relevant facts before making stupid comments.
It's not only for marriage counseling you minx :rolleyes: