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As the reality of Australians’ votes set in and Tony Abbott prepares to take office as prime minister, many are reflecting on who they voted for and why.

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For some couples, it’s a divisive issue.

But does it matter if your partner voted for a different political party? Can a relationship survive fundamental differences of opinion over the carbon tax, the economy or asylum-seeker policy? We meet two couples with opposite views to find out.

Jonty and Matt

Queensland ALP voter Jonty Bush says her political views are vastly different to her Liberal-voting partner Matt Bashford but she doesn’t let it get in the way of their relationship.

“I’ve always known he’s a Libs voter and I try not to hold that against him,” she said.

The 33-year-old public-sector worker said she had considered her vote carefully at this year’s election but said her decision hinged on the issue of gay marriage.

“I personally feel a strong sense of shame in regards to our stance on this issue and while I questioned Rudd’s ability to move this legislation through Parliament I supported his vision and desire to act on the issue,” she said.

“On the flip side, I was pretty impressed by Tony Abbott’s paid-parental leave scheme – and interestingly it was the one issue that Matt rejected from the Liberal Party.”

But the issue that caused the most division between the couple was ultimately one of personality rather than policy.

“We were actually quite divided on the topic of Julia Gillard – how she performed as prime minister and how she was treated during her prime ministership,” she said.

“I was amazed by the lack of empathy shown to her by many, including people close to me. The Gillard debate showed a side of people I hadn’t noticed before and really illuminated the gender wars of politics.”

She said while her partner’s political views didn’t put her off, she would probably change them if she could.

I’d like to say ‘of course I wouldn’t change him’ but yes, if I could, I would rather he vote with the ALP and I’m certain he would say the same about me.  

“Like many things in a relationship, there are just some topics you end up saying ‘I don’t like it, but I can live with it’ and accepting the other person’s perspective and where they’ve come from,” she said.

The couple have a newborn baby and Matt has three daughters from a previous relationship but Jonty said she hoped the children would make up their own mind about politics.

“I would much rather they take a well-informed stance that I disagree with, then to simply vote for ALP because that’s what mum does,” she said.

“Matt and I speak openly about our political views in front of his children and we challenge each other’s perspective, which is important not only politically but for them to see that Matt and I can disagree on issues that can be emotionally-charged but still love and support one another.”

 

Nick and Chelsea

Nick Walker, a 28-year-old civil construction worker from Barrine, says he has always voted Liberal, and generally considers left-wing parties’ policies “expensive, rushed and not particularly well thought out.”

But that didn’t stop him falling for 31-year-old marketing consultant Chelsea Sutherland, a self-confessed Labor/Greens loyalist.

“I don’t think I would enjoy being with some who tried to force their political opinions on me,” he said.

“But if you agreed to disagree it could work.”

Nick said he voted Liberal because the party would do “a much better job of economic management” and provide the country some stability.

Partner Chelsea said she wasn’t surprised by Nick’s decision because he had always held strong views.

So strong, in fact, that she wouldn’t even attempt to alter them

“I wouldn’t change his opinion even if I could – though I would change how much he likes to talk about it!” she said.

I think being able to share different views and still have a happy relationship can actually be a good thing – communication and compromise are really important.

She said while her focus was on social issues and Nick’s was the economy, his views were not a deal-breaker.

“If Nick’s main reason for supporting the LNP was because they don’t support same sex marriage or something like that it would be harder to overlook the difference of opinion, but his opinions aren’t borne from bigotry,” she said.

“He genuinely thinks that the economy and job opportunities will be better under an LNP government and that they’ll generally run the country better.”

But Nick said there were no disagreements between the pair on the issue of children and politics.

“Like sex or religion – give them all the facts and let them form their own opinion,” he said.

Did you vote differently to your partner?

Tweet us: @SBSNews  @SylviaMaryVO

Email: [email protected]

 

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