Today host Karl Stefanovic didn’t hold back this morning over the Turnbull government’s plan to revisit plans for a plebiscite on the issue, and if that fails, as many consider it will, then hold it to a voluntary postal vote.
“A non-binding, non-compulsory postal vote is complete BS,” Stefanovic said in an editorial berating the government and politicians on Tuesday morning.
“There have been far too many column inches, far too much airtime, far too much taxpayer time and money wasted on an issue I believe should be decided within the parliament.
“Why do we elect officials if not to make decisions that reflect our beliefs? So let’s get on with it. Pull your fingers out in Canberra and get on with it.”
Prime minister Malcolm Turnbull called an emergency party room meeting yesterday afternoon after a group of rebel MPs threatened to introduce a private member’s bill for a “free vote” on the issue in parliament.
After two hours of debate, the party stuck to its existing position of a compulsory national plebiscite, while many of the Liberal MPs reserved the right to ignore the decision even if the majority said yes.
Last October, the Senate blocked the government’s plebiscite election promise in a 33-29 vote, but the government plans to reintroduce the bill again within days.
If that fails, plan B is the non-compulsory postal vote, which the government believes would not require parliamentary approval, although lobby group Australian Marriage Equality has already threatened a legal challenge if that idea proceeds.
Stefanovic said the decision should be “a no-brainer” in world where people “should be celebrating love over hate”.
“Why do any of us have a right to stand in the way?” he asked, accusing the government of turning the issue into a “political football”.
The issue is also being seen as symbolic of Malcolm Turnbull’s leadership and the delaying tactics of conservative elements of the party opposed to same-sex marriage.
Yesterday, a key Turnbull supporter, finance minister Mathias Cormann, said the party’s overwhelming support for a plebiscite was proof the government was “committed to keep faith with the promise we made at the last election”.
But Stefanovic wasn’t buying it.
“This is less about the real issue and all about the chest-beating and posturing of politics,” he said.
“When energy prices are through the roof, business confidence is low, and many can’t find a home to live in, politicians have real issues to deal with. So I implore them to do it.
“Vote in parliament and say yes to gay marriage, and let’s live happily ever after.”
Here’s his full editorial:
— The Today Show (@TheTodayShow) August 7, 2017
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