AUSTRALIA: Prime Minister Refuses To Endorse Pledge To Hold Same-Sex Marriage Plebiscite This Year

But he’ll totally party at Sydney’s gay mardi gras. From the Sydney Morning Herald:

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has failed to endorse a pledge made by Attorney-General George Brandis to hold a same-sex marriage plebiscite, and change the Marriage Act, by the end of 2016.

Speaking on Sky News on Sunday, Senator Brandis said the government would hold a plebiscite on same sex marriage before the end of the year if it won the federal election expected late this year.

And if there was support for it, Senator Brandis said,the Coalition government would quickly introduce changes to the Marriage Act that he expected would become law “by the end of the year”.

Mr Turnbull’s office, however, distanced itself from Brandis’ comments that a plebiscite would be held by the end of the year.

A spokeswoman for Mr Turnbull said only that the government was committed to holding the plebiscite “as soon after the election as can be done”.

Labor leader Bill Shorten said the comments showed the government’s “chaos and division” had reached new heights. “This is a new land speed record for a broken promise – made over breakfast and gone before dinner,” he said.

More from the Guardian:

The attorney general, George Brandis, has dismissed criticisms that the government’s plan to hold a plebiscite on same-sex marriage is in a shambles, saying he and Malcolm Turnbull are on the same page about when it will be held.

On Sunday, Brandis said unequivocally that the public vote would be held by the end of the year. The prime minister’s office stepped back from that, saying that it would be held “as soon as possible after an election”. Brandis denied he and the prime minister were at odds on the $160m vote’s timing.

“I don’t think there was any disparity whatsoever. I said we want to have this by the end of the year, Mr Turnbull said he wanted it to be as soon as possible after the election. I don’t think those are inconsistent positions,” the attorney general says. But several question marks remain over the plebiscite.