Senate Condemns Turnbull's Sell-out On Marriage Equality

A Senate Committee has today rejected Tony Abbott’s plan for a plebiscite on marriage equality, a plan that Malcolm Turnbull has made his own as the price of taking the Liberal leadership.

THE HON. MARK DREYFUS QC, MP

SHADOW ATTORNEY-GENERAL

SHADOW MINISTER FOR THE ARTS

MEMBER FOR ISAACS

SENATE CONDEMNS TURNBULL’S SELL-OUT ON MARRIAGE EQUALITY

A Senate Committee has today rejected Tony Abbott’s plan for a plebiscite on marriage equality, a plan that Malcolm Turnbull has made his own as the price of taking the Liberal leadership.

 

In August, the Senate referred the question of a popular vote on marriage equality to an inquiry by the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee. In its report tabled today, the Committee squarely rejected the need for a plebiscite.

 

The Committee recommends that a Bill for marriage equality be introduced into the Parliament “as a matter of urgency, with all parliamentarians being allowed a conscience vote”.

 

The Committee heard that there was no legal need for a referendum or plebiscite, that such a vote would cost almost $160 million and would be divisive and even harmful. The Australian Psychological Society, for instance, told the Committee that “a public vote is likely to present significant risks to the psychological health and wellbeing of those most affected”.

 

Before deposing Tony Abbott as Prime Minister in a backroom political coup, Mr Turnbull had been a long-time advocate of a free vote and led people to believe he was a strong supporter of marriage equality.

 

However, he confirmed in his first Question Time as Prime Minister yesterday, and again today, that he will now press on with Tony Abbott’s plan for an unnecessary, expensive and divisive plebiscite after the next election.

 

“Malcolm Turnbull has sold out on marriage equality”, said Mr Dreyfus. “He has abandoned his principles in a dirty deal to win the support of the hard right of the Liberal Party”.

 

“The Parliament has the power to legislate for marriage equality, and could do so immediately if Malcolm Turnbull showed some leadership and allowed his party room a free vote.  This is the course of action Mr Turnbull said he supported just a few weeks ago.”

 

“Whether betraying the LGBTI community on marriage equality, abandoning his commitment to tackle climate change, or sacrificing the Murray Darling to the Nationals, Mr Turnbull is a person whose word means nothing and who cannot be trusted by the Australian people”.

 

“The only thing that Malcolm Turnbull cares about is his own self-interest”.

 

WEDNESDAY, 16 SEPTEMBER 2015