Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull Urges YES Vote In Non-Binding Marriage Plebiscite: It’s A Conservative Ideal

The BBC reports:

Australian political leaders, including Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, have come out in support of a campaign for same-sex marriage. More than 20,000 people gathered in Sydney to campaign ahead of a non-binding postal vote on changing Australia’s marriage act.

Mr Turnbull made a surprise appearance and speech at the launch of the New South Wales Yes campaign. Opposition leader Bill Shorten then addressed the crowd at the main rally. The non-binding vote to gauge support for changing Australia’s Marriage Act will be sent out from 12 September, with a result expected in November.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports:

Delivering his first speech for the “yes” campaign since the High Court upheld his controversial postal survey last week, Mr Turnbull said he was confident the Australian people would approve the reform and it would then “sail through Parliament” by the end of the year.

Launching the NSW Liberals and Nationals For Yes group in Sydney on Sunday, Mr Turnbull said he was voting “yes” because it was “fundamentally a question of fairness”. The threat to marriage was not gay couples, he said, but a lack of loving commitment that turned many marriages into a “loveless desert”.

“Many people will vote ‘yes’ – as I will – because they believe the right to marry is a conservative ideal as much as any other conservative principle,” he said. Mr Turnbull pointed out same-sex marriage had been delivered by parliaments, courts and people’s votes in many countries, including those most culturally similar to Australia: the US, Britain, Canada and New Zealand. “In any one of those nations, has the sky fallen in? Has life as we know it ground to a halt? Has traditional marriage been undermined? And the answer is plainly no.”

  • Ninja0980

    If you wanted marriage equality to come to Australia, you could have held a vote where members of your party and others were allowed to vote how they saw fit.
    Instead, you held a costly non binding public vote where the bigots are allowed to lie, lie and lie some more in order to ensure our side doesn’t win.
    Thanks but no thanks for your support Turnbull.

    • Reality.Bites

      I disagree with the concept of legislators voting as they see fit on rights issues.

      New rights are not created. They are recognized. And by the time they get to a vote of recognition in a legislature, they’re understood to be rights and that those opposing are bigots.

      And party leaders need to say there is no room for bigotry in their party. And mean it.

      • (((GC)))

        Tell that to US Republicans, especially!

    • Mark_in_MN

      Every vote in a legislative or governmental body should be one where members are free to vote as they saw fit.

  • Karl Dubhe

    If you want such a thing to be passed, why the fuck didn’t you table the thing in parliament? Instead of wasting 122$ million on this divisive bullshit. Idiotic pile of rat dung.

    • j.martindale

      Exactly. He put his finger up to see which way the wind was blowing, and decided that the votes were going to be with Equality. Screw you, Trumbull. You and your party have been the problem all along. Don’t think climbing aboard at the last minute makes you look any less a loser.

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    • Nic Peterson

      Now he’s trying to take credit for the outcome and own the narrative. Disgusting!

  • bkmn

    Profile in lack of courage – featuring Malcolm Turnbull

  • ByronK

    The human rights of minorities should never be put to a vote by the majority.

  • Blake J Butler

    Stupid to go through all of these hoops and ladders just to get marriage equality legalized.

    When all is done, hopefully australia can join the rest of the civilized world with marriage equality and squash evangelical outreach hopes within the country of trying to go after the gays.

  • AmeriCanadian

    Entering into a legal contract with another person pretty much binds you together through the pettiness that inevitably follows. Marriage makes it much more difficult to separate, though not impossible as we witness. Nevertheless, it is a very conservative ideal which any true conservative would support.

  • Rebecca Gardner

    He’s right, equality is a Conservative ideal. Sadly, the BuyBull Thumpers have taken over the Conservative Movement and made it a Theological one thereby making themselves CINOs. I hope Australia does the right thing and votes for what is right, and fair, and just. I hope they vote for equality.

    • AmeriCanadian

      How prophetic Goldwater was.

      • Rebecca Gardner

        Prophetic for the the US, Australian, and World Conservatives.

    • Ninja0980

      Amazing for all of his flaws (my grandparents too), they all knew the religious reich had no place in their party.
      How right they’ve been proven to be.

    • Hue-Man

      Andrew Sullivan made the case in August, 1989.
      Here Comes The Groom
      A (Conservative) Case For Gay Marriage

  • bambinoitaliano

    So his pollster give him the go ahead to champion the civil right movement he so blatantly rob off from the hard working activists who has been working for years?

  • bambinoitaliano

    Asshole can’t even hold a candle to the 3 drag queens who beat back the bigots.

  • Reality.Bites

    For the first time in my life I want to be a toddler sitting on daddy’s shoulders.

    (IRL, it’s something I’d be terrified to do in either position. And I’m pretty sure if my father had ever tried it, he’d be dead by my mother’s hand)

    • Adam King

      I have a vague distant memory of sitting on someone’s shoulders watching something. Don’t know whose, though.

      • Reality.Bites

        Just how wasted were you last year at Pride?

        • Adam King

          What happened after we got home?

      • John30013

        The only memory I have of my mother’s (younger) brother is him carrying me on his shoulders around his house. He was only 19 when he drowned in a surfing accident.

        • Adam King

          A sad story, but a sweet memory.

  • BeaverTales

    His reasons are good ones, so the delay until now was from misreading his base?…they likely are losing in the polls.

    • From all reports, it was the conservative bloc in his party, the quid pro quo being their support for his leadership position.

      My guess is that now he’s seeing that the vote itself, and the hate campaign coming from the right, could topple his government — the opposition has said point blank that he owns the nastiness of the “No” campaign.

      • BeaverTales

        The marriage vote is the way to keep power? I thought it was delaying the vote that was keeping him in power? How long until he is forced to call an election regardless?

        • Publius

          Two years from now, November 2019.

        • Turnbull heads a coalition government — Liberals (who in Australia are conservatives) and Nationals (even more conservative). It’s the right wing that has sought to delay any action on marriage equality because they know they’d lose — polls show up to 70% favor equal marriage.

          Yes, he’s tried to delay (because he needs the conservatives’ support to remain PM), starting with a national referendum (if I remember correctly, to be held after the next general election), which got stopped by the senate. The postal vote is the conservatives’ fallback — keep in mind that it’s not binding, and you can bet that if the “Yes” side wins, there will be more delays from the conservatives, no matter what he says today. (And remember, he’s getting grief from the liberal wing of his own party,not to mention the opposition.)

  • Bluto

    Fuck you turnbull. You’ve turned civil rights into a goddamn embarrassing & costly national disgrace with your fake plebiscite that has zero credibility nor purpose. fuck you, just fuck you.

  • The_Wretched

    Good? I mean, it’s good that he came out for equality but the whole entire sideshow is an expensive spectacle that’s designed to give the right political cover for their bias. having your cake and eating it too comes to mind.

  • Ross


    I have an idea!

    Let’s have the minority vote on the rights of the majority!

    That should prove interesting!

  • Jacob

    Um, what? I’m having a hard reading this for all the flying pigs and it’s cold in here from hell freezing over. I hope your sister tells you to go f yourself.

    • Publius

      Interesting analysis.

  • zhera

    O/T: Today is election day in Norway. I did my duty as a responsible citizen and voted. Now for the rest of the day to worry myself sick. Will we get a new government? Will we get a left/center government? Will it stay rightwing? Will it become even more rightwing?

    The election season has been bad, with shit flying everywhere and assbags saying the most incredibly insensitive things. Yet, with the fascist winds all over the world, I have no idea who will win.

    Back on topic: If you’re so much for marriage equality, why did you insist on a plebiscite? A NON-BINDING plebiscite, no less. Turnbull, you suck.

    • That_Looks_Delicious

      Fingers crossed, Zhera. I’m somewhat optimistic because the French and Dutch elections turned out to be a big relief, so maybe Norway and Germany will keep up the European good news streak this year.

      • zhera

        Well, we’ll know in 6-8 hours, I guess. 🙂

        • ChrisMorley

          It looks like there will need to be a lot of post-election haggling.
          ‘The results for a half dozen smaller parties that could end up as kingmakers will be critical.’

          • zhera

            Oh yes, that’s always the case in Norway. Two major parties, Labor and Right. Then according to how people vote it’ll be one of those two in a coalision with smaller parties either to the center or to the left or to the right. I’m hoping for Labor/Left. (But not the party that’s called Left. They’re a center-right party.)

          • northern_neighbour

            Sadly it is a small margin for Right.

            Condolences. Keep up the fight for equality and justice and keep the government on notice they have to do better.

      • John30013

        I hope the Trump election in the U.S.A. (and the Brexit vote in the U.K.) scared the rest of the world back to their senses, and the fascists will be voted down everywhere else.

    • KnownDonorDad

      Also O/T, I had no idea you were a Norwegian citizen. That’s very cool – I enjoy the international perspective from the commenters here. 🙂

      • zhera

        I’ll take that as a compliment on my English skills. 😀

    • Longpole

      The same conservative Norway government that sells the USA so called “Atlantic salmon” ? The most dangerous stuff you can eat.

  • Jonathan Smith
  • Looks like Turnbull really wants to hold on to his job.

    • Publius

      Australia has had five PMs in seven years. Can’t blame a PM for trying to hold down a job.

  • That_Looks_Delicious

    WTF? Isn’t Turnbull the reason that they’re having this mail-in referendum instead of a normal parliamentary procedure?

    I do not understand Australian politics at all.

  • Publius

    The plebiscite shouldn’t be happening, but it’s happening and it’s time to get on with it. The PM likely made a promise that Cabinet couldn’t back up, so this is the result. Time to make lemonade and make this happen for Australia.

  • Ninja0980
    O/T but read this article about two of Trump’s nominees to district courts in Texas.
    How the hell anyone who thinks this country should be a theocracy should be nominated for anything to do with the law boggles my mind but here we are.

    • John30013

      I hope the Senate Dems will vigorously oppose any nominee whose allegiance is to their religion more than to the nation.

  • So let me guess, Turnbull miscalculated and now the polling is starting to look bad to be anti-gay.

  • Hank

    It is interesting that at least 2 of the recent Prime Ministers were Catholics, who opposed Same Sex Marriage. Do not know what Turnbull is religiously, but he could have allowed a conscience vote, which would have passed!!!

    • Reality.Bites

      Interesting – the first (former) PM to endorse marriage was Catholic – Conservative Joe Clark. I don’t know if Brian Mulroney (Catholic) ever made a statement endorsing marriage, but he certainly never made any opposing it. Chretien, who introduced marriage legislation and Martin, who passed it, are both Catholics, as is Trudeau.

      The only Canadian PM to ever oppose marriage (once it became an issue) was the Protestant Stephen Harper.

      • northern_neighbour

        Stephen H, (who should not be named beyond a footnote in future … a.k.a. Voldemort … gone now, but never forgotten! )

    • ChrisMorley

      Malcolm Turnbull was raised in a Presbyterian household, however, Turnbull admits himself it wasn’t a particularly religious childhood. By his late teens he had slipped into agnosticism.
      When he married Lucy, a Catholic, in England in 1980, it was an Anglican wedding. ….. Turnbull’s father-in-law, Tom Hughes, was a major influence on his decision to eventually convert to Catholicism, Williams explains.

      Wikipedia: However, he has found himself at odds with the church’s teaching on abortion, stem cell research and same-sex marriage.

  • Adam King

    That’s how you turn bull into pretty words.

  • -M-

    That’s nice. But he could have just called for parliament to pass marriage equality for the same reasons without going through all this pointless and destructive plebiscite/mail-in poll rigamarole beforehand.

  • Friday

    Was watching an Internet car show from Australia, (Sydney) they were annoyed that the elections office also sent out an identical-looking local elections form to apparently confuse the issue about what’s what.

  • For all that Turnbull’s new-found enthusiasm smacks of opportunism, this is still good news, as no referendum has ever been carried in this country without the support of the Prime Minister of the day. What remains to be seen, however, is whether in the event of a yes vote he will throw his — and his Party’s — weight behind passing marriage equality in Parliament.