Australia’s Attorney General is meeting with LGBT activists from Australian Marriage Equality and Australians for Equality ahead of a showdown over the government’s plans for a public vote.
The country’s PM Malcolm Turnbull is trying to avoid a rift with his own ultra-conservative MPs by bringing forward plans to take same-sex marriage to the public in a non-binding plebiscite, instead of settling the matter in Parliament.
However, opposition parties are lined up against the $200 million plebiscite – insisting the measure is expensive and largely redundant, given overwhelming public support for marriage equality.
As the government does not have a majority in the Senate, its plebiscite bill is expected to be shot down when it goes to the floor.
Ahead of the showdown, Attorney General George Brandis is meeting with LGBT activists this week.
Alex Greenwich, Co-Chair, Australian Marriage Equality, said: “We are proud that we have been able to facilitate these meetings about marriage equality and provide an opportunity for a wide range of LGBTI groups to meet directly with the Australian Attorney-General.
“Regardless of the pathway, we will continue to unite Australians from all walks of life and work constructively with all political parties to achieve our goal of marriage equality for all.
“We will continue to lead the engagement with politicians across the aisle and continue to build on our coalition of unified supporters across the nation.
“This is the first time an Australian Attorney-General has met with such a large group of LGBTI organisations on the topic of marriage equality. We have worked hard to ensure the community has the opportunity to hear directly about the proposals being put forward.”
Executive Director of Australians for Equality, Tiernan Brady said, “We have made it clear that marriage equality should be achieved by a vote in the parliament.
“If a plebiscite does not happen, the impact of inequality does not go away nor does the debate about our status in society. What is critical now is that supporters in the parliament find a pathway forward without delay.
“This meeting was an opportunity for the Attorney-General to hear directly from a wide range of organisations about their views on the pathway to marriage equality, and we thank the Attorney-General for agreeing to meet so many organisations, many of whom who have not had direct consultation with him.
“This is an important opportunity to also have a discussion with other organisations across the LGBTI community on how we can work together to achieve marriage equality in this term of parliament.
“With Parliament sitting next week we are hopeful that a clear path to marriage equality will be realised alleviating some of the stress and frustration the community and the nation have been experiencing.”