Bill Shorten slams postal plebiscite in passionate speech

Opposition leader Bill Shorten has delivered a passionate speech in parliament today, holding the Prime Minister responsible for abuse LGBTI people will experience during a postal plebiscite campaign.

Since the original plebiscite plan was defeated a second time in the senate this week the government have forged ahead with their postal vote scheme on marriage equality, which will be delivered by the Australian Bureau of Statistics in November.

The Labor leader has criticised the Prime Minister and the Coalition government for moving forward with a public vote on LGBTI rights, denouncing the plan as contradictory to parliamentary tradition and discriminatory to LGBTI+ Australians.

“We could be here right now voting for marriage equality as the elected representatives of the people of Australia,” Shorten began.

“Just as we do on national security, on Medicare, on education, on the matters that touch the lives of every citizen of our nation… but this government has decided that gay people should be subject to a different law making process.”

Shorten also took aim at former Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who has begun actively campaigning for a ‘No’ vote, and “disgraced former speaker” Bronwyn Bishop who recently conflated marriage equality with bestiality and polygamy during an appearance on Sky News.

Shorten was also critical of the government’s decision to deliver the ballot through the ABS, which would exclude the vote from anti-discriminatory laws that apply to the Australian Electoral Commission.

“Yesterday we learned that the Australian electoral rules won’t even apply to this vote. No protection against ballot fraud, electoral bribery, intimidation, interfering with the electoral roll, publishing of deceptive and misleading material…”

“Now he’s giving his blessing to billboards, websites, pamphlets, TV advertising and online material. It will vilify and demean LGBTI Australians and their children.We know this bile will end up in the playground, the schoolyard and the sporting field. The slogans will be shouted at the children of same sex couples. Young children who are gay will be confronted by it on social media every day.”

Shorten wrapped his speech with an apology to the LGBTI community on behalf of his party.

“To LGBTI Australians, I want to say this: I’m sorry this is happening. I know you are frustrated and angry and sad and bewildered by how it has come to this – but I want you to know you are not alone in the fight ahead. We support marriage equality – and we will stand with you to make it happen.”

Watch Bill Shorten’s full speech below.

OIP Staff

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