LGBTI community groups meet with George Brandis over plebiscite

George Brandis-001Representatives of several LGBTI groups met with Attorney General George Brandis earlier today to discuss the government’s approach to marriage equality.

The Turnbull government has vowed that a non-binding national plebiscite is the only option for the issue of marriage equality to be addressed before the next federal election despite recent polls showing public support for plan has disappeared.

Today the Attorney General met with 30 representatives of the LGBTIQ+ community  in a meeting that was facilitated by Australian Marriage Equality (AME) and Australians for Equality (A4E).

Alex Greenwich, the co-chair of AME said they were proud to have created an opportunity for Senator Brandis to hear directly from LGBTI people.

“We are proud that we have been able to facilitate these meetings about marriage equality and provide an opportunity for a wide range of LGBTI groups to meet directly with the Australian Attorney-General,” Greenwich said.

“Regardless of the pathway, we will continue to unite Australians from all walks of life and work constructively with all political parties to achieve our goal of marriage equality for all.

“We will continue to lead the engagement with politicians across the aisle and continue to build on our coalition of unified supporters across the nation.

Despite the long drawn out debate over marriage equality and discussion being at the forefront of Australian political discussion, Greenwich said this was the first time the Attorney General had met with a significant number of gay and lesbian people.

“This is the first time an Australian Attorney-General has met with such a large group of LGBTI organisations on the topic of marriage equality. We have worked hard to ensure the community has the opportunity to hear directly about the proposals being put forward,” Greenwich said.

Executive Director of Australians for Equality, Tiernan Brady said the group advocated for a free vote in parliament and argued that the plebiscite was an unnecessary element in the move towards marriage equality.

“We have made it clear that marriage equality should be achieved by a vote in the parliament.” Brady said.

“If a plebiscite does not happen, the impact of inequality does not go away nor does the debate about our status in society. What is critical now is that supporters in the parliament find a pathway forward without delay.

“This meeting was an opportunity for the Attorney-General to hear directly from a wide range of organisations about their views on the pathway to marriage equality, and we thank the Attorney-General for agreeing to meet so many organisations, many of whom who have not had direct consultation with him.” Brady said.


Tomorrow the groups will meet with Labor’s Shadow Attorney General Mark Dreyfus.

The official statement from the meeting released by AME and A4E describes the meeting as being constructive but insiders have told the Star Observer that the Senator Brandis warned the LGBTI community not to consider marriage equality as being inevitable.

Senator Brandis reportedly told the meeting that anyone who thinks that marriage equality is inevitable is a fool.

Labor to discuss plebiscite proposal next week

The Labor party is expected to formally discuss the government’s plebiscite legislation at their caucus meeting next Tuesday when parliament returns. It is expected that Labor will not support the government’s plebiscite legislation.

Senator Brandis and Special Minister of State Scott Ryan had a disastrous meeting with Labor’s representatives last week with both sides emerging from the meeting and reporting a stalemate.

Mark Dryfus and Terri Butler told reporters that the Coalition were not willing to say which parts of the legislation they were willing to change, while Senator Brandis said he’d repetitively asked the Labor team what they wanted changed. Senator Brandis told the media that he counted nine occasions during the meeting where he’d directly asked the Labor team what they wanted to see changed to gain their support.

Government calls on LGBTI community to get behind the plebiscite 

Senator Brandis today has said that the gay community needs to rethink it’s opposition to the plebiscite warning that without the plebiscite the issue would be off the agenda for the foreseeable future.

“Having taken a proposal for a plebiscite to the last election and knowing what the state of public opinion is, that is about two-to-one who would vote in favour of marriage reform were there to be a plebiscite, this is the most credible and frankly the only available path to having this matter resolved in the short term,” Senator Brandis told the Australian Financial Review.

Special Minister of State, Senator Scott Ryan appeared on The Bolt Report on SKY News on Wednesday evening and said that the plebiscite was the government’s only plan for addressing the issue of marriage equality.

Senator Ryan said Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull had made it clear throughout the election, and when he introduced the plebiscite legislation, that a plebiscite was the only way the government would address the issue.

Senator Ryan said the government would not consider any alternatives to the plebiscite.

“There’s one plan…that plan is to take the plebiscite through parliament.” Senator Ryan said.

OIP Staff


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