Polls show voters in key coalition seats don’t support a plebiscite

A new poll published by Fairfax Media has revealed the voters in key coalition seats would rather see politicians directly deal with the issue of marriage equality than via the government’s stalled plan for a plebiscite.

The Sydney Morning Herald has revealed that when it comes to the public, the numbers are on the side of the rebel MPs who are pushing for a free vote on the issue.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has called an emergency meeting of his government to address the issue of marriage equality after the long running debate overshadowed his week long trip to Western Australia.

Western Australian senator Dean Smith has put forward a private members bill that would change the marriage act and allow same-sex couples to wed, while also providing exemptions for religious bodies and civil celebrants who have a religious conviction.

Conservatives MPs however are insisting the party stay the Abbott era plan to hold a national plebiscite, or adopt a watered down ‘postal plebiscite’ option.

Research commissioned by The Australia Institute and conducted by REACHtel shows that in many key seats the support for a free vote in substantial.

Voters were asked; “Do you believe that your federal member of Parliament should be allowed to vote according to their own opinion and conscience on marriage equality or should be bound to vote according to his political party’s position on the issue?”

The numbers show that voters in clearly want politicians to take some action. In Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s electorate of Wentworth 72 per cent of people voiced support for a free vote.

All of the lower house MPs who have backed Senator Dean Smith’s private members bill also enjoy the support of the people they represent.

In Trevor Evan’s seat of Brisbane 66.1 per cent of voters support a free vote. In Tim Wilson’s Victoria seat of Goldstein support was measured at 77.1 per cent, while Trent Zimmerman’s North Sydney electorate shows 71.4 per cent support. In far north Queensland Warren Enstch’s seat of Leichhardt recorded support of 67.5 per cent.

Even where politicians are vocally opposed to marriage equality there is high support for a free vote. The Nationals; Andrew Broad has threatened to quit the government and sit on the cross-bench if marriage equality is passed, but 63.7 per cent of his constituents who were surveyed support a free vote.


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