Malcolm Turnbull: ‘Same-sex bill will sail through parliament’
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has insisted that his same-sex marriage legislation will “sail” through parliament if a plebiscite is successful.
MP’s and senators have a free vote on the bill and Turnbull expects the legislation to pass.
“I know parliamentarians, and I know my colleagues well enough. I have no doubt it will sail through parliament – that is the last thing to be concerned about.” he said to ABC today.
Critics from opposing parties have said a plebiscite (public vote) will pen up hateful conversation and lead to abuse of gay Australians. Labour leader Bill Shorten called it “a taxpayer-funded platform for homophobia.”
Shorten added: “In modern Australia, no one should have to justify their sexuality or their love, to anyone else. And instead of sitting in judgment, instead of providing a taxpayer-funded platform for homophobia, we will gift every Australian an equal right in respect of love. Nothing less.”
Mr Turnbull questioned why there weren’t concerns about a referendum for constitutional recognition of indigenous Australians. “Nobody is suggesting we can’t have a respectful debate about that,” he said.
The coalition have promised the plebiscite if they are re-elected in next month’s elections.
Turnbull said that he could not just hold a parliamentary vote on equal marriage because “he is not a dictator” – so a public vote is being held.
Labour have criticised the move calling it expensive and pointless. The vote is estimated to cost $160 million of taxpayers money.
The liberal party remains divided on equality issues and Turnbull himself has been a vague supporter of equal marriage.
He previously came under fire for removing LGBT content from a sex education campaign.