2011 Australian Labor Party National Conference
The 2011 Australian Labor Party National Conference was the 46th triennial national conference of the Australian Labor Party. It was held on 3 December 2011 at the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre at Darling Harbour, New South Wales.
On 3 December 2011, the party voted in favour of recognising same-sex marriage in Australia. Party leader and Prime Minister Julia Gillard opposed the legalisation of same-sex marriage, but endorsed bringing the issue to a vote. Previously, over 140,000 Australian citizens signed a petition to Gillard urging her to reconsider her opposition. At the same time, openly lesbian Finance Minister Senator Penny Wong vocally endorsed the adoption.
The party, however, also formally endorsed a motion to allow Labor members of parliament the ability to vote in accordance with their consciences, on a vote of 208 to 184. The conscience vote was endorsed by Gillard.
The endorsement was also backed outside of Australia. Boris Dittrich, current LGBTI Program Director for Human Rights Watch and former member of the Tweede Kamer in the Netherlands (Dittrich voted in favour of the Netherlands becoming the first modern nation to legalise same-sex marriage in 2001), sent an open letter to the Labor Party urging delegates to endorse same-sex marriage.
The Union for Progressive Judaism, the largest denomination of Jewish rabbis in Australia, welcomed the conference vote.
- Associate Press (2 December 2011). "Australia's Labor party votes to endorse gay marriage, but no law change". The Guardian.
- James Park (3 December 2011). "Australian Labor party conference defies prime minister Julia Gillard to support gay marriage". Pink News.
- Boris Dittrich (25 November 2011). "Australia: Letter to the Australian Labor Party Regarding Support for Same-Sex Marriage". Human Rights Watch.
- Ron Hughes (7 December 2011). "Jewish progressives support marriage equality". Gay News Network.