The contrast was stark, and deeply revealing.
At around 10.30am, Queensland Liberal National MP Warren Entsch rose in the House of Representatives to introduce his bill to enable same-sex marriage. Entsch spoke of his own personal journey of understanding the need for marriage equality and called for a civil and dignified debate. He introduced the bill surrounded by Liberal, crossbench, Labor and Greens MPs and watched by Malcolm Turnbull and Christopher Pyne.
At almost exactly the same moment, Tony Abbott was at an Australian Federal Police facility posing for photos ahead of a media conference on the dangers of the drug ice. Ice is indeed a menace, and, like other illicit drugs under our “ban it and hope” enforcement mentality, controlling it is primarily a matter for state and territory police forces. But the Prime Minister was determined to alert voters to how his government was protecting us from this threat.
Optimism, love, respect, cross-partisanship in Parliament, versus fear-mongering from the Prime Minister. A bill to introduce marriage equality — something supported by 60%-70% of voters — versus a deeply unpopular leader whose political playbook seems to have only one page left in it: fear.
Rarely does politics offer such a clear and telling contrast.