Honest George desn't want a plebiscite

Senator George Brandis has finally injected some honesty into the Government’s position on the marriage equality plebiscite, admitting today that it wasn't his "preferred option" but was forced on the Government by the radical right wing running the party room.

THE HON MARK DREYFUS QC MP

SHADOW ATTORNEY-GENERAL

SHADOW MINISTER FOR NATIONAL SECURITY

MEMBER FOR ISAACS


HONEST GEORGE DOESN'T WANT A PLEBISCITE


Senator George Brandis has finally injected some honesty into the Government’s position on the marriage equality plebiscite, admitting today that it wasn't his "preferred option" but was forced on the Government by the radical right wing running the party room.

Senator, it's not just you who thinks a $170 million, wasteful, hurtful, non-binding glorified opinion poll is a bad idea. It's also the majority of Australians, and the majority of the LGBTI community, who fear the damaging effects that a nasty public debate on their rights will have on their children and vulnerable members of the community.

In his truth-telling session this morning, Senator Brandis also admitted that a plebiscite was "constitutionally unorthodox". It certainly is. Never before has a government been so cowardly in farming out a difficult decision that should be made on the floor of Parliament to a public vote.

 

As a lawyer, and a self-professed classical liberal, Senator Brandis should abhor the precedent set by this plebiscite for how we make laws in Australia. Yet he has traded in his principles, just like Prime Minister Turnbull, for the sake of power.

Perhaps some more honesty could be displayed by Senator Brandis. He could admit that the only reason this plebiscite is being proposed is because supporters of marriage equality like him and Mr Turnbull do not have the backbone to stand up to their backbench.

 

He could admit that the pretence that a plebiscite is the only way marriage equality can be achieved in this country is completely false, and that the plebiscite is the last great hope of opponents to defeat the cause of marriage equality for good.

We could have marriage equality in Australia on the first day of the next sitting week of Parliament if Mr Turnbull and Senator Brandis wanted it. It is the Government that is holding back the cause of marriage equality.

 

Now that he’s found some honesty, Senator Brandis should also find some bravery and back Labor’s proposal for a free vote on marriage equality in the Parliament.

SUNDAY, 18 SEPTEMBER 2016