AUSTRALIA: No Clear Winner In National Election, Planned Marriage Equality Referendum Imperiled

Euronews reports:

Australia woke up on Sunday (July 3) to the headache of a hung parliament and a minority government, after a general election that was too close to call.

Vote counting has been paused and was so tight that Prime Minister Malcom Turnbull’s Liberal Party-led coalition may need the support of independents and smaller parties to remain in power.

A clearer result isn’t expected until at least Tuesday, when vote counting resumes. The process could take a week or more, and the coalition will rule under caretaker provisions in the interim.

“I remain quietly confident that a majority coalition government will be returned at this election when the counting is completed,” Turnbull told reporters.

But his main challenger, Labour party leader Bill Shorten, said while Saturday’s election failed to produced a clear winner, there was one clear loser: the prime minister’s reform agenda, which includes tax cuts for companies.

“Last night was an historic night. The Labor party is most certainly back,” Shorten said.

From the Brisbane Times:

Marriage equality hangs in the balance following Saturday’s line ball election, with a big question mark over the Turnbull government’s planned plebiscite. Some in an emboldened Labor Party have hardened their resolve to oppose a public vote, with one senior Labor source telling Fairfax Media: “We were never going to support it.”

But marriage equality advocates believe a hung parliament with a broadly supportive crossbench would now have the numbers to pass same-sex marriage anyway.

Already a massively divisive issue within the Coalition, the plebiscite would need to navigate a precarious lower house and unwieldy Senate crossbench.

Labor leader Bill Shorten used his election night speech to decry that the Liberals had “lost their mandate”, an argument Labor and the Greens could use to block enabling legislation in the Senate and argue for their preferred conscience vote.

From the Guardian:

LGBTI groups have declared the election a win for marriage equality, with at least seven opponents of same-sex marriage voted out and two new LGBTI MPs elected for the Coalition.

Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (Pflag) noted seven Coalition MPs who oppose same-sex marriage lost their seats: Andrew Nikolic, Brett Whiteley, Jamie Briggs, Peter Hendy, Russell

The Pflag national spokeswoman, Shelley Argent, said given the number of “pro-equality Labor MPs replacing Liberals who were against [same-sex marriage] there is now a clear majority of members in favour [of it]”.

“A free vote would deliver marriage equality straight away,” she claimed.

Argent claimed the Coalition lost votes over its proposed marriage equality plebiscite, although a Fairfax-Ipsos poll released on election day found the majority of Australians in favour.

“Malcolm Turnbull must acknowledge he has no mandate for a plebiscite and drop the idea,” she said.

At this writing the Labor Party has won 67 of the 76 Parliament seats needed for a majority. Turnbull’s coalition has won 65. The winners of 13 seats have not yet been declared. Live results are here.

  • Randy Left Brooklyn

    What’s wrong with a hung parliament? I think part of the problem with our current Congress is that I don’t think most of them could get laid in a whorehouse.

    • perversatile
      • Randy Left Brooklyn

        Unfortunately, I’m old enough to remember when this was a monster hit record. It was a great time to be a young gay man, but now…

        • perversatile

          I’m still can’t figure out how I had this EP at age 12

          • Randy Left Brooklyn

            I can’t say for sure how it happened, but check out your screen name for clues. 😉

        • another_steve

          Funky disco.

          We had such fun.

          • Randy Left Brooklyn

            I miss the sense of possibilities when going out to a bar in those days.

          • another_steve

            I think the decline of the disco scene has been due, in part, to the decline of quality dance music. The 70s were the height of disco. Its golden age. As exemplified by “Flash Light.”

            What the kids dance to today…meh.

  • Gene

    well, it sounds like…good news. sort of. Confusing. I wish they would get get ti sorted out. I never liked the idea of a vote on rights anyway. Friends in hobart and Victoria tell me that all politics is sausage making, but each is an immigrant, one from the UK, and one from Spain, and each says the Australian politics is something of a ugly mess/firefight even by the standards of their homelands…which, in each case, is saying something

    • thank you for saying that. i’m so confused. i only have friends from NZ, and i don’t want to insult anyone and say it’s “the same.” i have no idea how to interpret news from the land down under. i appreciate all contributions that help me better understand. nuther reason why i read the blerg.

  • djcoastermark

    I find it odd that the Liberal party in Australia is actually the one with conservative views. It’s an upside down world.

    • zhera

      Actually, I think it’s the USA that is up-side-down on this. Liberal is right-wing but not social conservative. In countries with more than two or three parties, this is the normal. The US, with liberals and labors in one party, is more to the right than it could and should be.

      • UiscePreston

        No, it’s because it is always Opposite Day down there. They have Xmas the first week of “summer”! WTF.

        • Taleisin

          Christmas Day at the beach? YAY!

          • tcinsf
          • Taleisin

            Good choice. I haven’t heard this in too long. Thanks.

          • tcinsf

            That’s actually one of my favorite Christmas songs (I’m a total sap for Christmas music during the season,) one of the few “modern” ones that doesn’t make me choke

          • Taleisin

            Ditto. Christmas carols in shopping centers always turn me into Scrooge.

          • Adam King

            Make me want to roast the songwriters’ chestnuts on an open fire.

      • Taleisin

        Next you’ll be telling us that US christians are evil, and that
        US satanists are tolerant and compassionate. Oh wait…

        • zhera


    • It was originally “Liberal” as opposed to “Tory”. On the British model.

    • tcinsf

      Well, draining water does swirl the opposite direction …

      • RKitty01

        I just read something that said that’s a myth

        • tcinsf

          First time I went down under, first thing I did when I checked into the hotel was test this in the sink. It worked for me!

    • They used not to be. but that was a very long time ago.

  • bkmn

    Come on Aussies – do the right thing.

    • Paige Turner

      70% in favour but a constipated government that uses marriage equality as a political football.

      A hybrid Westminster system is flawed like every other system.

      • Robert Pierce

        Our Westminster system here in London actually voted overwhelmingly in the legislature (Commons) in all three readings introduced by a conservative PM. It didn’t even need a vote in the upper chamber (Lords) but instead they used a stunning, rare acclamation to pass it. It’s not perfect but it’s not all bad. It works for us.

        • Paige Turner

          And the Queen is still our head of state.

  • Sonus Silentium

    It’s a pity that once again the right to marry the person you love is contingent on the tyranny will of the majority vote and once again hangs in the balance of a national election nail-biter. Sigh.

  • WebSlinger

    There SHOULD never be a vote to give a group of people equal rights…I am sick and tired of other people having the power to DENY any group of people anything…I do not want someone thinking that I have to “thank” them for granting me the privilege that they have enjoyed for countless years. I do not want someone changing their Facebook page in support of “gay marriage”…

    • fierce_urgency_of_whenever

      Best comment of the day.

      • marthaenealsdv


    • Sporkfighter

      Yes, but given the choice of parliament voting to recognize gay rights of the public voting on gay rights, parliament is the better option.

    • Yours_In_Christ

      The plebiscite has never been about approving marriage. It was a cold hearted attempt by a conservative government so they could spin it (whatever the outcome) against it “being time yet.”

  • Skokieguy [Larry]

    Australia woke up on Sunday (July 3) to the headache of a hung parliament and a minority government…

    This JMG post sponsored by the Australian Board of Tourism.

    • JT

      “Always well hung and, well, hungover. We’ll be stuffed if we don’t crack a fat for you.”

  • UiscePreston

    Aw, the woes of compulsory voting in a parliamentary system.

    • Paige Turner

      Whilst it removes voter suppression issues, people vote for independents and other silly parties instead.

      My Voting paper in the federal seat of Sydney was over a metre (3 feet) long.

      • That was the Senate paper. The House of Representatives paper (the green one) was much smaller.

        And what’s wrong with Independants? Or have you forgotten what an excellent Member for Bligh (which includes Sydney) Clover Moore was?

        That something like 40% of voters gave their first preferences to the minor parties sends a stern warning to the big three to lift their act. Not that they will take heed of it.

        • Paige Turner

          Independents? Whats wrong with them?

          The balance of power will now sit with;

          Pauline Hanson and Derryn Hinch. A racists who wants a royal commission into Islam and things that Asians are swamping us and a shock jock. That is whats wrong with independents.

      • David Walker

        I wish we could give Independent parties a try. Naturally, Congress has placed the qualification bar so high it’s nearly impossible to achieve. It would be most welcome to have a viable alternative or two.

      • Adam King

        3 feet is referred to as a “yard.” : )

        • Paige Turner

          I always find it interesting the even in a metric country such as Australia there are still things that are measured in imperial units.


  • WebSlinger

    Always remember:

    Here are just a few of the thousands of rights and protections that were denied to LGBT citizens & spouses in the United States:

    Right to marry / right to divorce
    Hospital visitations
    Child custody rights
    Adoption rights
    Parenting rights
    Automatic inheritance
    Divorce protections
    Employment equality
    Immigration law
    Retirement plans
    Right to a fair trial
    Social security benefits
    Survivor benefits
    Freedom of gender expression
    Spousal and child support
    Federal taxes / joint taxes
    Legal protection from gender-identity-based discrimination
    Exemption from property tax upon death of a spouse
    Immunity from being forced to testify against one’s spouse
    Legal protection from discrimination based on sexuality
    Health insurance continuation of health coverage
    Medical decision-making power on behalf of a spouse
    Legal protection from housing discrimination
    Right to free expression and free association
    The right to serve openly in the military
    Right to medial coverage and safe access to care
    Standing to sue for wrongful death of a spouse
    Access to equal education
    Access to family insurance policies
    Domestic violence protections
    Right to form a family

    • A great many of those rights are no longer contingent on (mixed gender) marriage in Oz, though that is a fairly recent development.

    • Christopher Smith

      Please continue reposting these everywhere. It’s important.

  • popebuck1

    Ye gods, is there ANYWHERE where the government isn’t in crisis this year?!

    • Paige Turner


    • Canada? China? Japan? New Zealand?

    • Kate

      That’s governance for you in general. It’s never easy. At least Australia is drifting left, unlike much of Europe.



      • Adam King

        What is this “Canada” you speak of?

        • Jean-Marc in Canada

          ‘Tis a land of fabled peace and quiet, some even say boring. But in this mystical place, there be a Prime Minister who will march at Pride, where Transgender & LGB citizens alike, have constitutional rights and privileges like their heterosexual counterparts. A land teeming with all kinds of gay wildlife, Bears, Otters, Wolves and so much more. The water is clean, the air is fresh and the men are, well, friendly to say the least. Indeed, it does exist, though the peoples of Canada do prefer to remain “under the radar”…….after all, they like visitors, but they also like their peace and quiet.

          P.S. Unicorns and Pixies have been known to appear at dusk.

          • Adam King

            I’ve been to Lake Erie, and have been told about the rumored land across the lake, but all I saw was cold grey water extending into the distance away from the known world as far as the eye could see.

          • Jean-Marc in Canada

            Well, like most mystical lands, it is protected by a shroud of mystery… keeps the bad things away, but will happily let in all who seek the light. 🙂

          • Sporkfighter

            Work Rob Ford into that story.

          • Jean-Marc in Canada

            Well, like any mystical land, we occasionally have trouble with ogres and trolls. Thankfully, they inevitably die off from the magic of karma.

          • RKitty01

            I thought he was dead

          • Sporkfighter

            That can be part of the story.

  • Yixing’s Fluffer

    Time for another leadership coup?

    • No. We’ve had quite enough of those, thank you.

    • Paige Turner

      All ready in play

  • Paige Turner

    For those outside of Australia;

    Liberal – Republicans

    Labour – Democrats.

    Dont let the name “liberal” fool you

    • Except that the Liberals are nowhere near as far-right as the Republicans (the Country Party, on the other hand…) and Labor, to say nothing of the Greens, are further left than the Democrats.

      • fierce_urgency_of_whenever

        Except when the Greens aren’t to our left. Which they aren’t on many human rights issues.

        • I was speaking of the Australian Greens, not their American namesakes.

    • That_Looks_Delicious

      That’s actually how the word is used almost everywhere outside of the U.S. “Liberal” in most countries = unregulated markets, tax breaks for the wealthy, pro-big-business, “trickle-down” economics, etc. (i.e., Margaret Thatcher and Ronnie Raygun). I know that’s how “Liberal” in always used (in a political sense) in Spanish-, French- and Portuguese-speaking countries. It seems to be only in the U.S. that the word got turned around somehow.

  • Blake Jordan

    So Australian LGBTQ+s are being held hostage by parliament fuckery!!!

  • Ben in Oakland

    Does this mean they should have had the conscience vote instead, and done their jobs, and that the people saw that they had yet another feckless, non-leading government on their hands?

  • Ray Muñez

    The most recent poll from about 2 days ago showed 70% in favor of marriage equality but also 69% preferring that it be resolved in a plebiscite. One way or another, we are going to win this within the next few weeks (if it is voted on in parliament) or months (if it is resolved by plebiscite). Although I generally would oppose having a popular vote on marriage equality, when it is a one-time thing and when we are so far ahead in the polling, it could turn out to be a net positive, making LGBs feel more connected to marriage and making the larger population more connected to their LGB neighbors. This is basically what happened in Ireland and it was a good thing.

  • Taleisin

  • Claude Jacques Bonhomme

    A tight election leading to a hung parliament. Not comfortable.

  • Phil2u

    ….. mmmm… a hung Parliament beats what’s going on in DC.

    • Sporkfighter

      Well, what do you expect. Whenever a congressman shows his Weiner, he’s out on his ear.

  • James

    Fingers crossed. It’s a disgrace that Australia is still a marriage equality holdout.

  • Baby Dave

    “A free vote would deliver marriage equality straight away,” she claimed.


    • RKitty01

      I noticed that too LOL

  • TampaZeke

    Last week I was disappointed by the British and this week I’m disappointed by the Australians. I really thought they they were both better and smarter than these votes are showing. These are the kinds of results that we’ve come to expect in America but for some reason I think progressive Americans expected better of Brits and Aussies.

    • George Waite

      Self-flagellation will do that to you; if you actually knew anything about the rest of the English-speaking world, let alone the rest of the world, you’d see that using it as a stick to beat everyone else not enlightened enough to think as you do is stupid.
      Self-congratulation dressed up as self-flagellation is pretty pathetic.

      • TampaZeke

        Bless your heart.

        • George Waite

          Celebrate your diversity!

          • TampaZeke

            I have lived in five different countries. I speak five languages fluently and two more conversationally. Please tell me more about diversity and how I don’t know anything about the rest of the world, buttercup.

          • George Waite

            And you’re still this provincial? Wow.

          • TampaZeke

            Tell us George, man of the world, in how many countries have you lived and how many languages do you speak?

          • George Waite

            About six, fourteen countries visited.

          • George Waite

            I’ve told you the answer to this question about four time-you keep taking it down. Must be pathetic.

          • TampaZeke

            I posted that over a week ago, right after your last response to me. Why are you still prattling on about this.

            You seriously need to find yourself a life in what ever country you’ve supposedly lived in.

  • Ken Berry

    My husband and I are dual US/Australia citizens. This is how we went to the polls on Saturday morning.

  • JCF

    Do the right thing (approve marriage equality), Oz…or we’ll sic the kangaroos on ya!

  • marthaenealsdv