The Australian Prime Minister elections just took place, and after a narrow victory PM Malcolm Turnball has promised a public vote on marriage equality.
Malcolm Turnbull has repeatedly blocked a parliamentary vote on same-sex marriage, instead pushing for a public vote (or plebiscite) on the issue to avoid a rift with his more conservative MPs.
After a very narrow victory at the elections, Turnbull has promised to bring the public vote forward as soon as possible.
When speaking on ABC’s 7.30 show, he said: “We will bring that legislation forward later this year. As to when it passes the Parliament, that will be a matter for the Parliament. We would like the plebiscite to be held as soon as practicable, but that will depend on when the legislation is passed.”
“If it is not held in the latter half of this year, recognising that parliament will be sitting for the first time on the 30th of August, then it would be held early next year. My commitment to have it dealt with as soon as practicable is there, but for legislation of course we have to obtain the support of the Senate. We don’t even know who the senators will be at this stage!”
Turnbull’s insistence on a public vote instead of a parliamentary one has received criticism due to the huge costs of a public vote, and also due to the fact that there is a major majority for same-sex marriage in parliament.
Labor’s Bill Shorten has said previously: “Let’s see what we do when we get back to parliament, but I remain completely committed to the view that the quickest and easiest way to deal with the debate on marriage equality is have a parliamentary vote. I think Mr Turnbull needs to pick up one of the lessons from this election…the more you stick to your own conscience and what you believe, the better this country will run.”