The Turnbull Government is the obstacle to marriage equality

There is no faster, fairer and simpler way to make marriage equality a reality than a vote in Parliament. Marriage equality could be achieved this week – if Prime Minister Turnbull and his government actually wanted it enough to act.

THE HON MARK DREYFUS QC MP

SHADOW ATTORNEY-GENERAL

SHADOW MINISTER FOR NATIONAL SECURITY

MEMBER FOR ISAACS

 

TERRI BUTLER MP

SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR EQUALITY

MEMBER FOR GRIFFITH

 

THE TURNBULL GOVERNMENT IS THE OBSTACLE TO MARRIAGE EQUALITY

 

There is no faster, fairer and simpler way to make marriage equality a reality than a vote in Parliament. Marriage equality could be achieved this week – if Prime Minister Turnbull and his government actually wanted it enough to act.

 

“The proposition put by several senior members of the Government that Labor will hold back the cause of marriage equality is ludicrous. Don’t be fooled – Mr Turnbull and the right wing of his party aren’t motivated by support for marriage equality in pursuing a plebiscite. It is, at best, a delaying tactic that was designed by Tony Abbott in an attempt to save his leadership,” Mark Dreyfus said.

 

“A plebiscite is the last hope of anti-equality campaigners to defeat marriage equality in Australia. Mr Turnbull knows very well that marriage equality would be made law if parliamentarians exercised a free vote on the floor of the parliament. His failure to make that happen is the reason why marriage equality has yet to be achieved.”

 

A plebiscite is just not necessary:

 

  • It will waste $160 million of taxpayer money in an attempt to resolve a question that could be dealt with in Parliament in a day.

  • It sets a bad precedent for politicians not to show leadership on difficult issues when they can be sent out to a public vote instead. It is not the way we govern ourselves.

  • The right-wing of the coalition is likely to doctor the question and the way votes are counted to give the no campaign best advantage. There is a reason Mr Turnbull has not made the fine details of the plebiscite proposal public yet.

  • It will empower anti-equality campaigners, giving them a platform for discriminatory and hateful language, the likes of which we have already seen before a plebiscite is even confirmed.

  • It singles out the LGBTI community – no other group has had their rights made subject to a public debate. Why is the LGTBI community an exception?

  • It will inflict damage and hurt on vulnerable members of the LGBTI community, particularly young people who may lack a support network in rural Australia.

  • It delays the achievement of marriage equality in Australia. Prime Minister Turnbull has already pushed the vote out until 2017, and it will likely be pushed out even further.

  • A yes vote will not even bind coalition MPs to support marriage equality in Parliament, meaning the entire exercise could be useless.

 

“Labor does not believe a plebiscite is the only way marriage equality can be achieved in Australia. The Government is trying to set up a false choice between supporting a plebiscite or stopping marriage equality for good,” Terri Butler said.

 

“The only reason that marriage equality has not yet become a reality in Australia is because of a lack of support in the Coalition party room. Mr Turnbull is either unwilling or unable to show the leadership necessary on this issue.”

 

There is a better way – a free vote in Parliament. Mr Turnbull used to believe this too. In fact, it is just over one year since a member of his own backbench, Warren Entsch, introduced a private members bill for marriage equality. Trouble is, Mr Turnbull does not have the political courage to stand up to his backbench and allow a free vote to happen.

 

“It is not Labor that is standing in the way of marriage equality in Australia,” Mr Dreyfus said. “It is Mr Turnbull, who is willing to frustrate the hopes of millions of LGBTI Australians to protect his own job. It is not fair that this community, with many vulnerable members in it, is asked to pay the price for the maintenance of one man’s leadership.”

 

MONDAY, 29 AUGUST 2016