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Australian opposition leader: Passing equal marriage will be the first thing I do

Nick Duffy June 28, 2016

Australian opposition leader Bill Shorten has promised passing equal marriage will be the first thing he does if elected.

The country’s current right-wing Coalition government is deeply divided on marriage equality, despite overwhelming public support.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull plans to hold a plebiscite (public vote) on the issue after the upcoming federal election – a compromise designed to avoid a rift with some of his own ultra-conservative MPs.

The opposition Labor Party says  the move is expensive and pointless – as the government could simply allow a free vote in Parliament given the majority of MPs back equality, which would resolve the issue without the cost.

Ahead of the Australian Federal Election on July 2, opposition leader Bill Shorten has made a specific pledge to make legislating on the issue his first act in government if elected.

He told reporters: “The first piece of legislation I introduce into the 45th Parliament will be a bill to amend the marriage act, a simple change.

“The words ‘a man and a woman’ are replaced with ‘two people’, no A$160 million plebiscite, no hurtful, hateful government-sponsored advertising campaign for us,; he said.

Asked if he would support the Coalition’s plebiscite plan if he loses, Mr Shorten said: “I don’t accept the proposition we’ll run an honourable second in this election … what happens after the election if we don’t win, we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.”

He added on Facebook: “As Prime Minister, the first piece of legislation I introduce into the 45th Parliament will be a bill to amend the Marriage Act.

“No $160 million plebiscite, no hurtful, hateful government-sponsored advertising campaign.

“It’s time to make marriage equality a reality.”

More: Australia, Australia, Australian, Bill Shorten, Gay, LGBT, marriage, Same-sex

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