Marriage Alliance: More To It Than You Think


A new organisation called the Marriage Alliance has recently launched. Its website says:

“Marriage Alliance is an independent alliance bringing together individuals and organisations supporting a common cause”

Using the image of an iceberg, they claim there’s a lot more to Marriage Equality than appears on the surface.There’s a lot more to the Marriage Alliance than appears above water, too.

According to SBS, Marriage Alliance’s backers include former investment banker Jim Dominguez, former Australian Liberal Party President Prof Ashley Goldsworthy, and company Director Mark Phillips. Their spokesperson is Sophie York, former naval officer, barrister, law lecturer, Liberal Party member and regular campaigner, and very keen to be a Liberal MP.

Check out the publicly available information on these people, and the following organisations show up: Knights of Malta, St Thomas More Society, St Vincent’s Hospital, University of Notre Dame, Campion College, Sisters of Charity, The Benenson Society, Brisbane Catholic Education Council, Garvan Institute, Catholic Education Office,  the Marist Finance Commission.

In short, the Marriage Alliance iceberg looks on the surface like ‘an independent alliance bringing together individuals and organisations’, but below the water line it’s solid Roman Catholic ice.


Catholics York

Sophie York, whose bid for Liberal pre-selection was endorsed by a roll call of far right luminaries, including Miranda Devine, Paul Sheehan, Terry Cole, Tom Switzer, David Flint, Gerard Henderson and Dom Perrottet, is the spokesperson.

York is a Councillor of the St Thomas More Society, aka The Catholic Lawyers Guild: forrmer patron, Cardinal George Pell. Joe de Bruyn will address the society on marriage issues August 17.

York is also on the Board of Campion College, whose goal is:

… to form future leaders of society and the [Catholic] Church by a broad program of learning in the Liberal Arts that integrates the insights of faith and reason. The Liberal Arts, as studied at Campion, include Theology, Philosophy, Literature, History and Science.

She’s a member of Collective Shout, a women’s group which campaigns against pornography, the objectification of women, and the sexualisation of children in advertising, and the Benenson Society, a student organisation founded as a Catholic alternative to Amnesty International, after Amnesty adopted a pro abortion stance.

The [Benensen] Society will maintain a policy of neutrality on the appropriate public policy in addressing abortion, leaving it to the conscience and judgment of its members as how best to reduce abortion rates. Membership will be open to students through the formation and registration of chapters in schools, colleges and universities that sign on to the Charter of the Benenson Society.

She seems to know the Abbott family quite well. She certainly spruiked the connection in her bid for preselection. Here she is with Marg.

Margie York

In 2005 she published a book, Angels of Aceh, described as  “A compassionate and sometimes shocking account of the Boxing Day tsunami told by the first Australian surgical team into Banda Aceh.” It was launched by Tony Abbott.

Abbott York

York also sprang to the Prime Minister’s defence when he was attacked for misogyny by then PM Julia Gillard. According to conservative opinion website Menzies House.

Naval Lieutenant Commander and Barrister Sophie York has known Abbott since 1999. She describes him as “a very genuine, kind, and refreshingly forthright person. He pays you the compliment of fully jousting political issues and doesn’t pull back because you are a woman, which would simply be insulting”. She further notes that “he is a remarkable listener and not ego driven.

The rest of the names associated with Marriage Alliance are also all Catholic social and political warriors.



Jim Dominguez is a member of the Knights of Malta and a graduate of Assumption College Kilmore, which says,

Jim is on the Marist Finance Commission, is chair of St Vincent’s Hospital, Sydney, Director of the Garvan Institute of Medical Research and Fellow of the governing body of the University of Sydney. He was a governor of the University of Notre Dame Australia for 13 years until 2012.  He has been a director of the Sisters of Charity Foundation since 2011.

Dominguez also bankrolled the Euthanasia No campaign, against right to die legislation in NT and NSW , and the campaign against embryonic stem cell therapy.

[The anti embryonic stem cell therapy group] brought Professor William Hurlbut, an ethicist and member of President George Bush’s council on bioethics, to Australia…… a tour estimated cost as much as $60,000. It was paid for by a group of supporters who include Sydney company director and former stockbroker Jim Dominguez.

He said: “There are a number of reasons why I’m involved with it. I’ve admired the stance some of the senior ministers have taken on it, too, Nick Minchin is someone I admire, John Anderson, Tony Abbott – I think they’ve shown a degree of political courage in standing up on this issue, so I’m keen to demonstrate to them that non-politicians can also be supportive.”

He was also a patron of the Sydney World Congress of Families, a global religious organisation with US origins and some very dubious backers.


Ashley Goldsworthy is a former Australian Liberal Party Federal President. He currently holds the deputy chair on the Brisbane Catholic Education Council.  He is also a Knight of Magistral Grace of the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of St. John of Jerusalem, of Rhodes, and of Malta.


Mark Phillips, according to his LinkedIn profile, is a Member of Human Research Ethics Committee at St Vincent’s Hospital, and a former member, Review Panel, Catholic Education Office Sydney.


Not a person, but a Liberal-aligned lobbyist and public relations firm based in Gladesville. Hugo Halliday employs Nathaniel Smith as a senior adviser, in charge of the Marriage Alliance Account. Nathaniel has worked on several political campaigns, including John Alexander’s win in Bennelong, John Howard’s old seat.

He is the son of Greg Smith, former Liberal DPP and Attorney General of NSW, also a supporter of the World Congress of Families. You may remember the fiasco that was the WCF event in Melbourne, which was supposed to have been opened by none other than Kevin Andrews, Liberal Minister for Defence.

From which I think we can fairly conclude that the Marriage Alliance is a Catholic front organisation, trying to sell the church line without bringing God into it. They are also suspiciously close to the lunar right of the Liberal Party. Treat with extreme caution.

About the author

Veteran gay writer and speaker, Doug was one of the founders of the UKs pioneering GLBTI newspaper Gay News (1972) , and of the second, Gay Week, and is a former Features Editor of Him International. He presented news and current affairs on JOY 94.9 FM Melbourne for more than ten years. "Doug is revered, feared and reviled in equal quantities, at times dividing people with his journalistic wrath. Yet there is no doubt this grandpa-esque bear keeps everyone abreast of anything and everything LGBT across the globe." (Daniel Witthaus, "Beyond Priscilla", Clouds of Magellan, Melbourne, 2014)