Below is the full statement given by Prime Minister Julia Gillard following her decision to pull out of the Australian Christian Lobby’s national conference on October 5-6.
Comments from the Prime Minister about Jim Wallace from the Australian Christian Lobby:
I have made the decision that I will not speak at the Australian Christian Lobby’s national conference next month.
There are a range of deeply held views in the community on the issue of same-sex marriage but it is the responsibility of all parties in this debate to be respectful and responsible in any public comments they make.
I believe yesterday’s comments by Jim Wallace were offensive. To compare the health effects of smoking cigarettes with the many struggles gay and lesbian Australians endure in contemporary society is heartless and wrong.
Although everyone is entitled to their own view, these statements reiterated again today on behalf of ACL are totally unacceptable.
In light of this, I believe my attendance at the conference would be inappropriate.