After lengthy deliberation, Labor have decided to oppose the same-sex plebiscite proposed by the Liberal government. The government required approval from the opposition in order to pass the controversial measure through the senate. While this may seem like a set-back for equality, it’s actually quite the opposite with the plebiscite looking to only be a glorified opinion poll.
“The plebiscite would cause harm to gay and lesbian people,” said Labor leader, Bill Shorten. “I could not in good conscience recommend to the Labor Party that we support the plebiscite about marriage equality.” The Labor party, alongside allegiant parties The Greens and the Nick Xenophon party, will vote against the plebiscite when it is voted on in the senate.
Bill Shorten came to the decision after meeting with members of the LGBTQI community who convinced him of the unnecessary and harmful effect the public vote would have.
“We could make marriage equality a reality today by having a free vote in the Parliament,” said Mr Shorten. “And that is what should be done.”
“The Prime Minister and I both support marriage equality. The majority of the Parliament supports marriage equality.”
Despite the opposition from Labor, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is adamant that a plebiscite is the best course of action.
“I’m not going to go follow Bill Shorten down his highly political road of trying to subvert a straightforward democratic process of trying to say to the Australian people you shouldn’t have a say,” said Mr Turnbull.
“Mr Shorten supported a plebiscite of this kind only three years ago … we have a mandate for a plebiscite and we are asking the Senate to do its job and support it.”
Mr Turnbull is yet to comment as to whether or not a free vote will occur in parliament.