Sources claim Opposition Leader Bill Shorten will ask Labor MPs to block the Government plebiscite on marriage equality.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on Wednesday introduced the bill to parliament. If passed, it would establish the non-binding public vote for February 11 next year. The plebiscite will see voters asked: “Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry?”
The government will split $15 million in public funding between the Yes and No campaigns for advertising.
Mr Turnbull described the parliament as ‘committed to marriage’. He also described strengthening family units as ‘a wonderful thing’.
“We have to respect that it is a very big moral issue. It is an issue of conscience for millions of Australians.”
“If ever there is an issue to be put to a plebiscite, this is one that can and should be because it is a very straightforward question.”
He said labelling anyone opposed to marriage equality as homophobic was “utterly wrong” and the plebiscite process is “thoroughly democratic”.
“We put our faith in the Australian people. We know that their answer, whether it be ‘yes’ or ‘no’, will be the right answer,” he said.
“I believe the time [for marriage equality] has come. Many others in utterly good faith and good conscience do not, and they want to have their say.”
Shorten expected to block government plebiscite
But Opposition Leader Bill Shorten seems to think otherwise. Thus most expect him to recommend Labor MPs block the plebiscite on marriage equality.
This would mean the legislation enabling the vote would not make it through the Senate. That would consequently see the government plebiscite cancelled.
“I am gravely concerned about the plebiscite and over the coming days and weeks, we will be sitting down with people affected, families and mental health experts about the harm a plebiscite will cause,” Mr Shorten said on Wednesday.
“The fact the Liberals announced public funding to give a platform to bigotry shows no interest from the government to work with Labor on this.
“He is deliberately sabotaging the process to make it difficult for even the most ardent supporters of marriage equality to back it.”
On Tuesday, Liberal senator Dean Smith said that he also wouldn’t support the plebiscite legislation.
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