BARNABY Joyce says by abstaining from the vote on the same-sex marriage legislation, he respected the wishes of the nation and the New England electorate, along with upholding his personal view.
Mr Joyce, a strong supporter of the traditional definition marriage, left parliament chamber before the final vote.
“I have always said I wouldn’t vote against the wishes of Australians and I didn’t – that’s why I abstained from the vote given I do not support a change in the definition of marriage,” Mr Joyce told Fairfax Media.
Video as Barnaby address the Nationals Party after his landslide win on Saturday.
“I was proud to be a part of a policy that gave every New England voter a say. My vote was worth exactly the same as your vote and my neighbour’s vote.
“This ballot gave total legitimacy to whatever the outcome was.”
Mr Joyce was one of nine MPs, including Tony Abbott, who abstained from voting. Just four MPs stayed in the chamber to vote against the bill.
Despite his plan to abstain from the vote, Mr Joyce still made a speech about the bill.
“I chose to speak in the debate to support amendments being made to strengthen protections for free speech and religious freedoms which is important to me and New England voters,” Mr Joyce said.
“Unfortunately these amendments were not passed which strengthened my resolve to abstain from the final vote.”