Labor is expected to kill off the Coalition’s same-sex marriage plebiscite following a lack of party support for the vote.
Opposition leader Bill Shorten, who says he has “struggled to find anyone who thinks it’s a good idea”, will outline his final position on the plebiscite to the ALP caucus today.
It is expected that the party will announce it is opposed to the plebiscite, which will inevitably end prospects of the vote, because there is not sufficient support on the Senate crossbench to carry it.
“The level of community opposition to the plebiscite is quite extraordinary,” Shorten said. “The more Australians hear about Malcolm Turnbull’s plebiscite, the less they like it.
“Australia has never held a national opinion poll to judge anyone else’s relationship, so people are legitimately asking why this should be inflicted on LGBTI Australians and their families.”
Last night, attorney-general George Brandis briefed government backbenchers on the Turnbull government’s draft bill for the plebiscite. The draft outlines measures to protect religious ministers and civil celebrants from anti-discrimination law if they did not wish to officiate at same-sex weddings.
While Labor has criticised the allocation of public funding for the plebiscite, Turnbull has accused Shorten of caring little about the right of same-sex couples to marry.
“How little he cares about the fundamental substantial, substantive issue. It’s all about the politics with him,” he said.
“We’ve invited them to come back and tell us what changes they would like that would enable them to support the plebiscite. After all, Mr Shorten three years ago publicly called for a plebiscite.”
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