In a move that could damage the Australian campaign for equal marriage if it is defeated, the Green Party have agreed that their Bill on marriage equality be brought forward, to be debated on Thursday next (17 March) mainly due to pressure from David Leyonhjelm, a Liberal Democrat, who wants to legalise equal marriage.
The Green Party says that Malcolm Turnbull should dump his plan for a plebiscite on marriage equality, following new research that shows it will cost the economy more than half a billion dollars.
However, if the Bill is passed, the House of Representatives can still use their numbers to block the vote of the Senate, in order to hold a plebiscite on the matter after the election.
The Greens’ Robert Simms stated:
“This matter has been debated in the community and the Parliament for years, it’s time for a vote”.
“Over the next 48 hours we hope Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will reconsider his position and finally grant his party a free vote so marriage equality can become a reality”.
Malcolm Turnbull has been heavily criticised for apparently doing a u-turn in his previous support for equal marriage, with opposition leader, Bill Shorten, saying the Prime Minister had retreated from his support of the issue, and that Australia should have legislated for marriage equality by now.
Robert Simms of the Green Party also stated:
“Today’s PwC report should really be the nail in the coffin of this plebiscite plan. How can a prime minister who promised to get our national economy back on track proceed with such a flagrant waste of tax payer money?”
“The human cost of this plebiscite would also be enormous with the report showing the mental health of LGBTI Australians would also be adversely affected.
“Mr Turnbull should dump this costly and divisive plebiscite and provide his members with a free vote in the parliament.”