Malcolm Turnbull restates his belief in the plebiscite

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has restated that the coalition will not back away from their policy to hold a plebiscite over the issue of marriage equality.

The PM was asked about marriage equality again after Liberal Senator Dean Smith confirmed that he was working on a private members bill and hoped to raise the issue in the party room when parliament returns from its winter break.

Speaking in Paris, Turnbull said Senator Smith’s views were well known, but the party’s policy would not be changing.

“We support a plebiscite where all Australians will be given a vote on the matter and that remains our policy,” Turnbull said. “It is critical that all Australians be given a say and the only reason they haven’t been given that say is because of Bill Shorten playing politics on the issue.”

The Prime Minister’s comments echo a statement he made just two weeks ago when Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne was secretly recorded telling supporters that progress on marriage equality would be happening sooner than many people thought. Pyne later issued an apology for his comments.

The PM acknowledged that Senator Smith had been very clear about his views on marriage equality and the plebiscite in the past.

“Dean crossed the floor against the plebiscite bill in the Senate, so he’s got a longstanding view about it,” Turnbull said. “In our party room members are allowed to raise whatever issues they like.”

Senator Smith’s confirmation that he is working on a private members bill has sparked a wave of comments from his colleagues highlighting that issue divides Liberal MPs.

Queensland MP Warren Entsch, who has been a supporter of marriage equality said the party needed to revisit the issue. Entsch told The Australian that unless the party addressed marriage equality the issue would continue to “suck the oxygen out of debate”.

“Putting your head in the sand and pretending it’s not there is not a way of resolving it,” he said.

NSW Liberal Craig Kelly said Senator Smith should be more supportive of the plebiscite saying it’s a policy that had helped Senator Smith get elected.

“Dean should be sticking with policies that got him elected,” Mr Kelly said. “He should be using his time and effort to persuade Labor and the crossbenchers in the ­Senate to support a plebiscite.”

Tasmanian Senator Eric Abetz, who campaigns against marriage equality, said it was important that the coalition maintains its election commitment to the plebiscite policy.

OIP Staff

Support OUTinPerth

Thanks for reading OUTinPerth. We can only create LGBTIQA+ focused media with your help.

If you can help support our work, please consider assisting us through a one-off contribution to our GoFundMe campaign, or a regular contribution through our Patreon appeal.

Become a Supporter→     Make a contribution→ 



Tags: , , ,