Leading Coalition conservative and architect of the same-sex marriage plebiscite Peter Dutton believes the Yes vote will prevail when the result is announced on November 15.
Mr Dutton, who personally opposes changing the Marriage Act to allow same-sex couples to marry, all but called the result in Sydney on Wednesday night at an event to mark The Australian Financial Review Magazine’s latest annual Power List.
It accords with the common view in both the Yes and No camps which was reported by the Financial Review Wednesday after the latest update from the Australia Bureau of Statistic showed 10 million people had returned their ballot papers but voting was tapering off.
“My judgment is the Yes vote will get up and it will be in the order of… whatever it is… but it will be a win for the ‘yes’ vote and that is my judgment of where the outcome will be,” Mr Dutton said.
Mr Dutton, along with fellow conservatives Scott Morrison and Mathias Cormann, backed the postal plebiscite as a way of resolving the issue rather than let it fester through until the next election.
As well, they believe that if change were to happen, conservatives needed to be able to have a say rather than feel it had been foisted on them.
“The other aspect I might say about the postal vote is that I think it gives a greater legitimacy to a significant social change and I think for same-sex couples if there is to be change, if there is to be legislative change, I think that is best to be done with the support of millions of Australians demonstrated through a ballot as opposed to a five-to-midnight crossing of the floor of four people,” Mr Dutton said.
Mr Dutton told the Sydney audience any other course of action would have caused the Liberal Party “political difficulty in the extreme” given it went to the 2016 federal election promising a plebiscite.
Despite all being opposed to change, none of the trio has campaigned for the No camp. There is still almost a month to go until the November 7 cut-off for the final receipt of ballot papers.
The ABS recommends forms be mailed no later than October 27. The result will be announced at 11.30am on November 15.
Mr Dutton, who was number six on the Financial Review’s Overt Power list, also restated his view that he would one day like to be leader but he had no intention of bumping off Malcolm Turnbull.
“You don’t sign up to play for the Wallabies or the Socceroos or for the Australian cabinet to not be leader or have the opportunity to become leader one day,” Mr Dutton said.
“I think recent history has demonstrated that anybody that would seek to burst their way into leadership now or try to knock off the leader would be dead before they got out of first base.
“So my perspective… is that loyalty is the new black and I think you are better off to be loyal to leaders.. and if things work out how you want them to work out then that’s a great thing.
“But my view is its in the best interests of our party to have a stability of leadership at the moment because ultimately it will be good for our country and then if that’s rewarded at some point, or if you are foolish because of that and the opportunity passes you by, then so be it.”
Mr Morrison told the ABC he did ot want to predict the outcome of the marriage survey.
“I’m going to wait for the results to come in first,” he said.
As For Mr Dutton’s leadership ambitions, the Treasurer said:
“I’m happy to see Malcolm Turnbull as Prime Minister and he’s doing a great job and I want him to continue to be able to do that for the benefit of all Australians, because if Bill Shorten gets elected Prime Minister, the Australian economy will be whacked with more than $150 billion in taxes which will only give our economy a great leap backwards.”
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