Wong says Labor still has “real concerns” about plebiscite on ‘The Project’


Senator Penny Wong struggled to convince the hosts of ‘The Project’ of Labor’s hesitation to vote for a plebiscite on marriage equality in a heated interview on Monday.

The Leader of the Opposition in the Senate said Labor has “real concerns about a plebiscite”, describing the national vote as “expensive, divisive and non-binding.”

“Remember that the conservatives in the Coalition have made clear even if a plebiscite were to succeed they wouldn’t vote for marriage equality anyway,” Senator Wong told the panel.

“What we want is a parliamentary vote and Malcolm Turnbull, Prime Minister of the country, leader of the Liberal Party, should have the courage in his convictions and should allow a free vote which means we’d see marriage equality within a few weeks.”

‘The Project’ hosts Carrie Bickmore, Waleed Aly and Steve Price were skeptical of the Senator’s opposition, insisting the government had gone to the election with a mandate for a plebiscite on marriage equality and won.

“What’s different about this is it was presented at an election and the government now has a mandate to proceed along this path,” Aly told the Senator, “You can say that that’s a bad result, but that’s the reality now.”

Aly followed up with a question for Senator Wong, asking “do you regard the plebiscite as too high [of a] price to pay so that you would rather wait for three, six, nine years to win an election so you can avoid it?”

Senator Wong refuted that Labor were not expected to vote with the Government on all matters, and was then interrupted by Aly asserting that the Prime Minister was not going to change his mind.

“But he should. He’s the leader,” Wong responded.

The veteran LGBTIQ Senator told Aly she did not accept that marriage equality was restricted to being legislated for by plebiscite or not happening at all during this term of Parliament.

“I don’t accept the second part of your question either that is kind of a binary of it’s my way or the highway,” Senator Wong said.

“People have changed their minds on this issue in this place, in Canberra, because the community has.”

Watch the full interview with Senator Wong on ‘The Project’ below.

Hosts face online backlash from marriage equality supporters

The video of the interview on ‘The Project’ Facebook page has been inundated with comments expressing disappointment with the hosts and the program for how they treated the discussion.

“Very disappointed in The Project’s attitude, very rude and should make an apology to Penny Wong! Especially since this issue affects her personally!!” one Facebook user wrote.

“This is a disgraceful display of ignorance. Well done The Project, you’ve hit so many home runs only to show how painfully uninformed and ignorant you are when it comes to the gay community,” another viewer commented.

Many have also taken to Twitter to voice their disappointment with the interview.

OIP Staff


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