Deputy Opposition leader Tanya Plibersek has lambasted Malcolm Turnbull, accusing the Prime Minister of playing politics with people’s lives.
In tabling Labor’s second Marriage Equality Bill today, she said Mr Turnbull had “sold out the LGBT community”.
Ms Plibersek also took a swipe at former prime minister Tony Abbott, saying he had ambushed supporters within his own party to make sure there would be no free vote on marriage equality, and no marriage equality.
“Instead, he proposed a national plebiscite – expensive, divisive, and meaningless – but a way of delaying equality for a bit longer,” she said.
“Members of his own party spoke publicly against this ‘captain’s call’ … including the Member for Wentworth (Mr Turnbull).”
Turning to Mr Turnbull, Ms Plibersek said many had hoped for change when he assumed office. However, he had turned out to be an “enormous disappointment”.
“He sold out LGBT Australians, traded away their right to equality, to become Prime Minister. He signed up to the plebiscite delaying tactic to secure the support of the Liberal Party’s right wing.”
Ms Plibersek said the Labor Party was re-introducing the bill because LGBT Australians had waited too long to marry their partners.
“Australians of all ages who’ve been told that their love isn’t equal, that their family isn’t real, that their relationship is bad for their children or somehow bad for society, have waited for too long,” she said.
“For kids who’ve got two mums or two dads, to hear for months, or possibly even years, that there is something not right about their families, I just think is unforgivable and unacceptable.”
Ms Plibersek said she was “deeply concerned” about the damage the plebiscite debate would cause these families.
Instead, she suggested there was no need for a public vote and, with 70 per cent of Australians in support of marriage equality, it was time the parliament “got it done”.
In reality, the reintroduced Bill will go nowhere any time soon.
“The Prime Minister says he supports marriage equality. And we know that he supports a free vote, not a plebiscite, because he said so,” Ms Plibersek said.
“It’s time he did the right thing. This week, of course, is budget week, and quite rightly, our focus will be on the economy, on jobs, on health, on education, and the environment.
“And as we all know, it is almost certain that by the end of the week, the Prime Minister will be going to the Governor-General asking him to dissolve this parliament and to call an election.
“So, sadly, it is unlikely that this bill will pass this week.”
You can listen to her speech here or watch the video below: