John Howard has denied muddying the waters in the same-sex marriage debate by pushing for religious freedoms and parental rights to be included in any legislation.
The former Liberal prime minister has repeatedly demanded the Turnbull government publicly release details of a planned private member’s bill due to go before parliament if a national postal survey delivers a win for the ‘yes’ camp.
“I notice people are saying ‘this is outrageous, John Howard is muddying the waters’,” he told Nine Network on Thursday night.
“John Howard is not muddying the waters, he’s just raising legitimate questions.”
Mr Howard said the issue pointed to fundamental social change and given this it was fair to request an explanation from the government.
He again reiterated concerns that if there was a ‘yes’ win parliament would be under enormous pressure to deal with it quickly.
Mr Howard cited his experience as a Liberal leader introducing the GST and including measures to protect retirees.
“We didn’t just say to the public, ‘Oh, we’ll look after that. I can guarantee you that you will be protected’. We actually explained in detail how we were going to do it.”
Labor frontbencher Anthony Albanese said there had been “a great level of consultation” around the bill proposed by West Australian Liberal senator Dean Smith.
“We have a draft bill, drafted by Senator Smith that is the product of extensive public hearings through a Senate committee process.”